Shevlin Peter Image 1 South Shields 1928

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Description

Wishaw, Lanarkshire born goalkeeper Peter Shevlin began his football career in 1921 with St Mary’s, Hamilton, and played for Uddingston St John’s in 1922, Pollok Juniors in 1923 and St Roch’s before joining Glasgow Celtic for £120 in October 1924. He made his Scottish League debut at St Johnstone in October 1924, replacing Charlie Shaw in a 0-0 draw, and after a shaky start in a spell in which Celtic struggled to win matches, he settled into the role and helped Celtic to win the 1925 Scottish Cup at the end of the season in a nail-biting last-minute victory against Dundee in front of over 25,000 spectators at Hampden Park. However it was said of his early Celtic career “His guardianship is not distinguished by complete confidence… he seems unable to take defeat philosophically.

The following season (1925-26) he was an ever present helping Celtic win the Scottish League Championship, playing his part with only 40 goals conceded in the League, just 15 in home games. His greatest save was said to have been in the Scottish Cup semi-final on 26th March 1926, Aberdeen’s Jock Hutton had made it 1-1 from a penalty in the 56th minute and straight from the kick-off, Aberdeen came back, their centre forward Tom Pitrie hit a ball full force from point-blank that Shevlin performed a miracle to stop. However he was held partly to blame for their 2-0 defeat by St Mirren in the 1926 Scottish Cup Final, letting David McCrae have a free header from a corner in two minutes and allowing a shot from Jimmie Howieson to pass over his hands on 26 minutes.

On 5th February 1927, while playing in a Scottish Cup tie against Brechin City at Glebe Park, Shevlin let in three soft goals including a howler in the opening minute, and manager Wille Maley decided to give the 18 year old reserve keeper, John Thomson, a chance. He turned out to be outstanding, quickly displacing Shevlin, and he moved on to Second Division club South Shields in July 1927 after 103 appearances.

Shevlin made his Football League debut against Leeds United in August 1927 but they were relegated in his first season “though he gave many brilliant displays”. Described as “a cool and reliable custodian” and “one of the best goalkeepers in Division III (Northern)”, after a further season he joined Nelson in September 1929 after 67 appearances for Shields. He had two further seasons with Nelson making 56 appearances, but they lost their League status at the end of 1930-31 after failing to be re-elected.

In 1931, Shevlin became player-manager of Irish League Shelbourne in Dublin, before returning to Scotland in April 1933 for an eventful two seasons with Hamilton Academicals. While with Accies he returned to Celtic in a very brief loan in 1934, but was to play for just one more match for the first team on 27th May 1934, in a friendly against a North France Select in a Tour of France, replacing Joe Kennaway in a match which Celtic lost 4-2. He was in The Accies’ side which won the Second XI Cup in 1934 but a very unfortunate injury kept him out the 1935 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers, having played in the first team all season.

He was freed by Hamilton in May 1935 after 71 appearances and became captain at Albion Rovers where he wrapped up his League career with 16 matches for The Wee Rovers. He returned to England in 1936, joining non league Hexham Town and subsequently joined Jarrow in 1937 and Chopwell Colliery in 1939 before retirement with the outbreak of the Second World War.

While in the Midlands in Spring 1941 he was badly injured by enemy bombing (machine-gunned and battered with shrapnel during the Blitz) and spent the rest of the year in hospital. He died prematurely in Manchester on 10th October 1948, at the age of 43.

 

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