Barrhead, Renfrewshire born inside forward Tommy McInally signed for Celtic in May 1919 from junior outfit St Anthony’s, on his Celtic debut 3 months later he hit a hat-trick as the Hoops defeated Clydebank 3-1 at Parkhead on August 18th, no surprise he became a massive favourite with the Celtic fans of the early 1920’s! Very soon he was called “The Boy Wonder” and other such complimentary names, and indeed he was a great player and a great goalscorer. He found such adulation hard to live with, and he could never resist showing off. A wonderfully gifted entertainer and crowd pleaser McInally scored 39 goals in his debut season of 1919-20. McInally’s showmanship and light-hearted antics delighted the Parkhead crowds if not his Celtic boss Willie Maley who always had difficulties containing the centre-forward’s exuberant nature.
Technically McInally had everything a forward could wish for – an eye for goal, superb ball control, vision, great speed and flair in abundance. But at times his attitude on the field could annoy and frutsrate his manager who thought his player should concentrate more on just scoring goals rather than trying to entertain the support. The happy-go lucky McInally however did not care too much for the instructions of Maley and he seemed incapable of curtailing his showmanship as time after time he would showboat for his adoring fans. When his cheeky tricks paid off – as they often did – McInally would have the crowd roaring their approval. But when they didn’t the only roar would be that heard from the raging Maley. Teamates who loved Tommy off the pitch were alas also often exasperated by him on it and it was not uncommon for McInally to be involved in a row with other Celts on the field. Patsy Gallacher in particular was never shy of letting his feelings known if Tommy’s tricks came to nothing.
So despite his many qualities Maley allowed McInally to be sold to Third Lanark in 1922 and he would spend three season at Cathkin Park before returning to Parkhead in May 1925 as an inside forward and a supposedly more mature player. However once back at Celtic Park, McInally again played to the gallery and his cocky brilliance was mostly a joy to behold, although the manager was once more disapproving at his antics and inconsistency. Strangely, despite the bad boy reputation, he was avowedly against any form of swearing, humouring and admonishing anyone who did do so: “You’ll go to the big bad fire son!” Saying that, he was said to be fond of old singing old traditional Irish rebel tunes. He won two Scotland international caps during his second spell at Celtic, playing first in a 4-0 defeat of Ireland in February 1926 as Hughie Gallagher scored a hat-trick, and subsequently in a 3-0 victory over Wales that October, both games at Ibrox.
After the bitterly disappointing defeat to Rangers in the Scottish Cup Final of 1928 McInally was told his time at Celtic was up for good and he was transferred to First Division Sunderland for £2,500 after 127 goals in 213 appearances for The Bhoys, winning The Scottish League with them in 1921-22 and 1925-26. He made his Football League debut at Burnley on 25th August 1928, scoring his first goal against Derby County at Roker Park on 1st September in a 4-0 win. But this was one of only 3 goals in 36 appearances before he was sold to Third Division (South) Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic in December 1929, scoring once in 14 appearances for The Cherries before a return north of the border with Morton in 1930. He soon moved to Ireland where he played for Derry City and Coleraine before a return to Scotland with Armadale, finishing his career in 1932 with Nithsdale Wanderers.
His brother Arthur also played once for Celtic amidst a host of other clubs.