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PersonalFullname: John Gallacher
aka: Jackie Gallacher
Born: 17 May 1924
Signed: 10 July 1943 (from Armadale Thistle)
Left: 31 Jan 1946 (to RAF); 27 Apr 1951 (free); Aug 1951 (Kettering Town)
Position: Centre Forward
Debut: Celtic 1-4 Dumbarton, Regional League 4 Sep 1943
BiogCentre forward John 'Jackie' Gallacher was the wee brother of Scotland great Hughie.
He signed for Celtic in July 1943 from Armadale Thistle and made a scoring debut in a 4-1 home defeat to Dumbarton in the Regional League on September 9th. On his debut, the fans actually were demonstrating demanding Celtic sign a new Centre! Despite that less than encouraging debut scoreline and fan action, Gallacher went on to form an effective frontline partnership with Gerry McAloon and he hit a rich vein of goalscoring form. By the time of the Regional League Cup in 1944 "all balls led to Gallacher", and the hope of some renewed success led to 100,000 paying fans for six games (a huge figure during the war).
However, when McAloon was not there, then Jackie was not the same playerand was dropped which led him to ask for a transfer: "I am too unsettled at Parkhead". In a career which saw him in and out of the first team he would be rejuvenated after developing a decent partnership with Tommy Kiernan.
He was at Celtic for a long period so inevitably he would decline in his productivitiy, and during season 1948-49 the signings of Leslie Johnstone and Jock Weir showed the writing on the wall for Jackie. He had a cartilage out in the summer of 1949 which likely also was part of his decline.
Must add that this was a difficult time for Celtic, and was probably our worst period for results and performances. The fact that he played and stuck with us for so long is worthy of respect.
Some point out that he was a Rangers supporter when younger but that is a moot point as he wasn't the only one even in that team or in many Celtic teams since our inception, it's just an excuse by some trying to find a reason for our lack of success (not that he was at fault). If Jackie was supposedly a reason for our low state during the war then the stats show differently. Some of our greatest players were Rangers fans when younger. Due to the war, tensions were high and even slight points could be targetted but Gallacher didn't really have any more than anyone else.
Maybe he wasn't as great as his record makes out and he overachieved but he kept the side afloat. Others over the period tried and failed but he at least converted chances into goals as his record shows. For anyone who questions the quality of the opposition, then admittedly it was likely weakened due to the national geographical split of the domestic league and the impact of the war effort (during and post-war), but there were likely few if any others with a record to match that of John Gallacher. So he can hold his head up high. In later years, once better players arrived he was pushed back in the line for places but probably time and age had taken its toll too.
On his departure from Celtic, he handed trainer Alex Dowell a gold watch, so reflects respect for the people at the club and so we're sure he gave his all (his record indicates so). With his scoring rate he likely could have gone to any club he wanted to but stayed with what was an institution in rapid decline. He helped to keep us going and that is important.
By the time Gallacher was released by Celtic in April 1951 he had scored a very noteworthy 94 competitive goals in 116 appearances, although had not been played often in his last few years at the club. It's incredible that with such a record that he is not referenced more often, but then again part of that is due to it having been achieved at one of the lowest periods in our history which many try to avoid.
Possibly, John has the right to be named as the best Celtic player that most of our support has never heard of.
|APPEARANCES ||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||REGIONAL LEAGUE||REGIONAL LEAGUE CUP||TOTAL|
Honours with Celtic[....]
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Anecdotes1) When he picked up his gear from Celtic Park on 13 July 1951, he gave Celtic trainer Alex Dowell a gold watch inscribed with thanks. A wonderful gift but it was lost in crazy circumstances. In 1953, Celtic scored the second goal in the Coronation Cup final v Hibs (20 May 1953) with 2 mins to go, at which point Alex leapt up in the air, threw his arms up and the watch came flying off and into the crowd! It was never seen again.
(from A-Z of the Celts by McBride et al)
2) "It can be a rough old game, the fitba’. A typical supporters’ reaction may be that of an exasperated Celtic adherent at one match at Celtic Park when Jackie Gallacher played his heavy-footed, gangling style in a team that promised much but rarely delivered. Gallacher was capable of going through a whole defence on his own in scoring, as I saw him do one Saturday against Queens Park at Parkhead. He kicked off, took the return and dribbled his way through the whole QP team before scoring an amazing goal. However, on this particular day, he was not at his best. ‘Come oan, Gallacher, for God’s sake, ye’re playin’ for Celtic,’ yelled the drigruntled supporter.
‘Play for us? He disnae even support us!’ replied another voice wearily. Actually, the second man was quite right. Jackie supported Rangers – and still does."
(from The Sevenpenny Gate: A Lifelong Love Affair with Celtic FC By John Cairney (2011))
Latest page update: made by joebloggscity
, May 20 2013, 1:13 PM EDT
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