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PersonalFullname: Leslie Hamilton Johnston
aka: Leslie Johnston
Born: 16 August 1920
Died: 19 Oct 2001
Signed: 26 October 1948 (from Clyde)
Left: 28 Oct 1949 (to Stoke City)
Debut: Hibernian 1-2 Celtic, League, 30 Oct 1948
International Caps: 2
International Goals: 1
BiogLeslie Johnston was a renowned poacher of goals when the former ship's carpenter was snapped up by Celtic for £12,000 in October 1948 from Clyde. A Scotland International (2 caps) he scored against England in a wartime international in 1945 (although Scotland did lose that game 6-1!). He was one of the most sought-after players in Scotland becoming the first to rack up £300k in transfer fees on his transfers. Celtic were said to have been after him for a while.
Notably for a footballer he had small feet, a shoe size of 4.5!
The former Hibernian centre-forward made an immediate impact when he scored a debut double as Celtic defeated his old club 2-1 in a league clash at Easter Road on October 30th. After initially impressing the goals would dry up for Leslie after the turn of the year and he would lose his starting place the next season.
He was expected to be a creator of goals, when really he was a poacher of goals. Instead of playing his usual centre forward role he was expected to play at inside forward to Jackie Gallacher's centre forward. This continued through to 22nd January 1949 when Celtic were unceremoniously dumped out of the Scottish Cup by B Division Dundee United. He then moved into the middle only for the goals to dry up.
He would move to Stoke City in October 1949 after 29 appearances and eight goals for Celtic.
It was said that despite having played for various clubs that in reality "he was a one-club man -only at his best for Clyde" (Paddy Travers).
It must be added that this was the worst time to be at Celtic. The club were at a low point and the club & team were poorly run, with interference from Board level in team choice and a general decline in respect for both management and training regimes, with the results to match. Who knows, maybe if Celtic were better run at the time then his abilities as a player would have been better recognised and used.
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Honours with Celticnone
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, Jun 6 2012, 10:56 AM EDT
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