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Fullname: Joseph Cassidy
aka: Joe Cassidy
Nickname: Trooper Joe
Born: 10 October 1896
Died: 21 July 1949
Birthplace: Cadder, Lanarkshire
Signed: 16 Oct 1912
Left: 1915 (Black Watch (HLI)), 9 Aug 1924 (to Bolton Wanderers)
Position: Forward, Inside-left
Motherwell 1-0 Celtic, League, 15 Mar 1913
: Scotland
International Caps: 4 caps
International Goals: 1 goal


Joe Cassidy - Kerrydale StreetCadder-born Joseph Cassidy signed for Celtic in October 1912 from Vale of Clyde and made his debut in March the next year in a 1-0 league defeat at Mothewell.

The son of James and Bridget Cassidy, Joe was a clever and gifted inside-left. Diminutive in stature, Cassidy was a massive favourite with the Celtic support and his wonderful attacking skills were right at home at Parkhead.

His Celtic career was interrupted by World War I in which Cassidy won a Military Medal whilst with the Black Watch. It was after the war when the man now nicknamed 'Trooper Joe' really came to prominence as a Celt.

He first made his name in the second match of the famous 'two games in a day' on 15 April 1916. He'd actually missed the first match (arrived late from Perth Barracks).

Despite his small stature Cassidy was a great header of the ball and he had a keen eye for goal. His deadly instinct in front of goal was perfectly illustrated in the 1921 Ne'erday game with Rangers at Ibrox when Joe stole the show with both goals in a 2-0 victory for the Bhoys. It was a performance that had the travelling Celtic support dancing through the streets of Glasgow on their way home. The problem was that he was dubbed the unenviable tag of 'The New Quinn'. Quite a burden to carry. However, he fought well to meet this.

Originally was an inside-left but the departure of the mercurial Tommy McInally opened the door to allow Cassidy to move to centre-forward.

Almost single handedly Cassidy inspired Celtic to Scottish Cup victory in 1923 hitting an amazing eleven goals on the Bhoys run to glory, in what was otherwise a poor season for Celtic. Notably, he scored in every match in that campaign except one, and even then he had a shot off the post.

A great goal scorer and creator, Joe was ranked by Jimmy McGrory as the best inside-left he ever played with. McGrory rated him as his mentor in the art of heading the ball and picked him in his all-time XI. Cassidy actually played a strong role in McGrory's development.

Renowned for his sense of fair play, off the pitch Joe is described as being a polite and modest gentleman with manners as abundant as his scoring skills.

Sadly, 1923/24 was another poor season for Celtic, and Cassidy was unfairly scapegoated for this.

This hero of the trenches and terraces eventually left Parkhead for good in 1924 - to Bolton - having made 204 league and Scottish Cup appearances and scoring an impressive 104 goals. It was said that "[Joe had] left home when he left Celtic".

The truth is that his loss was greater in retrospect than at first seems. His transfer, following on from John Gilchrist's, turned Celtic into a club prepared to sell and embrace mediocrity. Something that we were to pay the price for from the late 1930's right through to early 1960's. When he was at Celtic, we were always guaranteed some entertainment. The club had begun a slow decline around the 1920's. The loss of Cassidy was another marker down this road.

Cassidy went on to have spells with Cardiff, Clyde, Dundee, Ballymena, Morton and Dundalk. While at Dundee Cassidy lined up for the Dens Park club against the Bhoys and was given rousing reception from a Celtic support which held an eternal affection for 'Trooper Joe'. Even after the game had started Joe's every touch was greeted with applause from the Hoops faithful.

Joe must also be one of the most (if not the most) loaned out player in Celtic's history. Loan spells at: Value of Atholl, Kilmarnock, Abercorn, Ayr Utd (x2), Reading & Clydebank, plus time in the army forces.

He passed away in July 1949, and his untimely death was met with great sadness by Celtic fans distraught at the early passing of an all time great.

Joe Cassidy will always be remembered as a Celtic hero.

Playing Career

1912-24 189 15 n/a n/a 204
Goals: 91 13 - - 104

Honours with Celtic

Scottish League
Scottish Cup


Newspaper cuttings in an elastoplast tin

Newspaper cuttings in an elastoplast tin


By David Potter (from KeepTheFaith website)

Celtic author and historian David W Potter tells the story of Joe ‘Trooper' Cassidy, whose Celtic life and times were the stuff of a Hollywood hero. Decorated with the Military Medal for gallantry in World War I, ‘Trooper' Cassidy became a Celtic Legend whose goals and footballing ability helped win Leagues and Cups for Celtic. Another MUST READ for Tims that want to know their history.

David writes:


Joe Cassidy (who really should be called Joe Cassidy II, for there was an earlier one who played in the 1890s) was only 16 when he joined Celtic in 1912. He looked as if he had the ability as an inside forward, but he was painfully slight of build. Maley decided that the lad was worth keeping, but that he needed to be farmed out to various clubs. So Joe learned his trade before the War at Vale of Atholl, Kilmarnock, Abercorn and Ayr, while still being a registered Celtic player, before he fell under the spell of Kitchener's pointing finger and joined the Black Watch in 1915.

“Trooper” Joe Cassidy played sporadically for various Army and other teams during the War, and now and again for Celtic when he was home on leave, notably in the second of the “two in a day” games on April 15 th 1916. He was fortunate to avoid shells and bullets at the Somme and Ypres, and his greatest moment came not on the football field but on the battlefield, when days before the War ended in November 1918, Joe won the Military Medal for gallantry. This usually means saving someone's life in circumstances of great danger to oneself, and the Military Medal is the highest award that a private or a trooper can win.

Joe suddenly appeared home on leave on Hogmanay 1918 and was fit enough to be put into the Celtic team which earned a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on New Year's Day, 1919. Thus Joe helped to win the flag in 1919. But it was another New Year Day game at Ibrox which really won him a place in the hearts of the Celtic Faithful. This was when he scored the two great goals in 1921 which won the game 2-0 before 70,000 fans. Contemporary accounts are rich in their descriptions of the Celtic Brake Clubs, after the game returning to the East End and the Celtic heartlands, with Cassidy 2 Rangers 0 chalked on them, as well as others which said Sinn Fein 2 Black and Tans 0 – a reference to the War of Independence which was going on in Ireland!

Joe, a tricky and resourceful inside forward with an eye for goal, was part of the mighty forward line of McAtee, Gallacher, McInally, Cassidy and McLean which won the League in 1922. But it was the departure of Tommy McInally to Third Lanark which freed the centre forward spot for Joe Cassidy in 1922-23. In spite of a broken jaw, Cassidy played brilliantly in that role hitting 22 League goals.

But it was the Scottish Cup that everyone wanted to win in 1923, and in Celtic's case particularly so, for they had not won it since the Great War. It was Cassidy who did the needful with 11 goals in 6 games, scoring in every round except the Quarter Final against Raith Rovers when Dave Morris managed, for once, to keep him quiet, although it was Cassidy's pass to Adam McLean which scored the only goal of the game.

Joe scored in the first minute of the game against Motherwell in the Semi Final, and his was the goal which beat Hibs in the Final. It was a drab Final until late in the game when a long through ball from Jean McFarlane found Joe Cassidy unmarked and he headed the winner, which was greeted with a huge cheer from inside the ground and an answering one from outside the ground where gathered the limbless War veterans and the poverty stricken urchins who could not afford the entrance. But they did get a glimpse of Joe Cassidy with the Scottish Cup as the team came out at the end!

But, however much Cassidy was adulated and adored, the team fell apart through endless bickering and the departure of high profile players, like captain Willie Cringan, the following season. Even though Cassidy scored 25 goals in that ill-fated season of 1923-24, Maley thought that Cassidy was also dispensable and allowed him to go to Bolton Wanderers in August 1924, convinced that the young McGrory would take over the goal scoring mantle of Joe Cassidy, whom the young McGrory idolised.

Joe “left home when he left Celtic” and there followed a long period of unsettled football for Bolton Wanderers, Cardiff City, Dundee, Clyde, Ballymena, Dundalk and Morton, before he retired in 1932. He actually won an Irish Cup medal with Ballymena in 1929, and he was well thought of in his brief spell at Dens Park. On the day of John Thomson's Celtic debut in February 1927, Joe, now over 30, was visibly toiling and clearly losing out to the brilliant play of Celtic's excellent Peter Wilson, his direct opponent. The Celtic fans sang the old American slave song “Poor Old Joe” – but this was no mockery of the great Cassidy. Rather it was sung in affection and love for one of Celtic's greatest players and the hero of a whole generation in those desperate years after the Great War.

Joe died in 1949 at the early age of 52, and he was much remembered.

In the early 1990s, the Celtic Board in their wisdom (or lack of it) appointed a man called Terry Cassidy to be the front man. Embarrassingly incompetent and bumblingly inept, Terry was not well regarded by Celtic fans, and one old fan said that he disgraced the name Cassidy. “It would have been far better if they could have resurrected old Joe…"

Joe Cassidy - a legendary Celtic century Bhoy

By: Joe Sullivan on 09 Aug, 2014 08:09

IT was on this day, August 9, 1924 that Celtic striker, Joe Cassidy was sold to Bolton Wanderers for £4,500 after more than a decade with the club.

He was born on October 10, 1896 – a year of relative turmoil for fledgling club, Celtic. – and it was on October 16, 1912, less than a week after his 16th birthday, he played as a trialist for Celtic in an Inter-City League game against Hibernian under the name of ‘Smith’.

The following day in the press he was dubbed as “surely the smallest and cleverest thing ever to appear in a Celtic jersey.” But, by then, he was already a Celt as he was snapped up immediately after the game against Hibs.

He made his real debut later that season, rather inauspiciously, in a 1-0 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park on March 15, 1913 and he made another appearance the following season in a 1-0 away victory over Aberdeen the day after his 17th birthday.

Appearances over the next few seasons were fleeting, but that had nothing to do with his youth or his inexperience. He had joined the Black Watch and he saw action in the First World War and, indeed, was awarded the Military Medal in November, 1918.

He turned up unexpectedly on Hogmanay, 1918 and went straight into the team for the Ne’erday game as the Hoops drew 1- 1 with Rangers in front of 65,000 at Ibrox.

From midway through the following season, he was a regular in the side and much-loved by the fans whose number included a young Jimmy McGrory who cited Cassidy as the major influence in his heading of the ball.

And it was Cassidy’s prowess in front of goal that made him Celtic’s top scorer for three seasons before McGrory began his amazing scoring spree.

And McGrory was just a youngster barely breaking into the team when Cassidy had a season to remember in the Scottish Cup

The 1923 Scottish Cup belonged to Celtic. More specifically, the 1923 Scottish Cup belonged to Joe Cassidy. If ever a man won a tournament on his own, this was it. In total, Celtic scored 13 goals in winning the trophy.

Adam McLean and Andy McAtee grabbed one apiece, while Cassidy scored all of the 11 other goals. He was in his prime as a striker.

His tournament to remember began with a hat-trick against Lochgelly United in the first round 3-2 win on January 13, 1923. Hurlford were up next later in the same month and again Cassidy grabbed all of Celtic’s goals in a 4-0 rout.

East Fife visited Celtic Park in the third round and Cassidy was again on the mark, this time with a double in the 2-1 win. Yet, when Raith Rovers travelled through to Glasgow on February 24, Cassidy decided to give opposition defences a break.

McLean was Celtic’s scorer in a 1-0 win. Motherwell were drawn against Celtic in the semi-final and Cassidy and McAtee were on target in a 2-0 win. Joe’s goal came within the first minute.

Then came Hibs, who had cruised into the final with barely a problem. The Edinburgh side had yet to concede a goal in that season’s tournament, but they had also yet to face a striker of Cassidy’s stature.

It was a tight game, but Cassidy – like he had done so often that season – proved to be the difference. His goal came in the 64th minute, when he planted a header beyond the reach of Hibernian goalkeeper Bill Harper. Celtic were in dreamland and Cassidy had been the inspiration for the club’s first Scottish Cup triumph since 1914.

Those 11 goals remain a joint club record to this day along with McGrory, who netted 11 in the triumphant 1924/25 season.

Henrik Larsson came close to the Scottish Cup goalscoring sprees of Cassidy and McGrory, when, in the Treble-winning season of 2000/01, he scored nine goals, including two in the final against Hibs.

That cup win, however, was undoubtedly Cassidy’s greatest spell in a Celtic strip. Yet, it was his only Scottish Cup triumph as a Celtic player and that would have rankled with him.

There were other honours to go with Cassidy’s goals as well, though. He played his part in two league titles – 1918/19 and 1921/22 – and at only 5ft 7in he was a better header of the ball than many men who stood over 6ft.

Indeed, his tally of three major honours from his 200-plus appearances ought to be more. His talents deserved greater success. Other highlights include a double in a 2-0 New Year’s Day win over Rangers in 1921.

However, he didn’t always have the best of fortunes against the Ibrox side. The following season, he was one the losing side in a 3-1 defeat at Ibrox and went home with a broken jaw for his troubles

Cassidy scored eight hat-tricks for Celtic. Two of those trebles came in the Scottish Cup and six came in the league, one of which also marked the occasion of his 100th goal for the club.

It speaks volumes for the consistency of Cassidy’s striking that he managed to hit the century in the space of five years. For three consecutive seasons, between 1921/22 and 1923/24, he finished as Celtic’s top scorer

His nomadic existence in his final days as a professional can be summed up with the fact that his first four children were born in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.

In keeping with this cross-border theme, it should be noted that Joe represented both the Scottish and Irish Leagues in competition. Cassidy also represented the Scotland national side on four occasions between 1921 and 1924. He scored once – against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park in a 2-0 win on February 26, 1921 – and made his final Scotland appearance against Wales in February 1924.

Cassidy left Celtic in 1924, playing for a number of clubs, including Bolton, Cardiff City, Dundee and Ayr United, and he also won an Irish Cup medal when Ballymena beat Belfast Celtic in 1929.

When he was with Cardiff City, Joe was one of a 17-player pool and every single one of them were internationalists – nine Welsh, four Scots and four Irish.

He died in 1949 at the comparatively young age of 52. Joe Cassidy may not be a name which many Celtic fans still recall, but with over 100 goals for the Hoops he deserves recognition as a Celtic great.

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