: James Kennedy aka
: 'Pres', Jim KennedyBorn
: 31 January 1934Died
: 2 December 2003Birthplace
: Johnstone, ScotlandSigned
: 3 November 1955Left:
13 November 1965 (to Morton)
: Left Back
: Partick Thistle 2-0 Celtic, League, 23 April 1956Internationals
: ScotlandInternational Caps
: 6 full capsInternational Goals
Jim Kennedy came from Johnstone and went to school at St Margaret's Johnstone.
He had no desire to become a professional footballer until after his National Service, served in Belgium in 1952. He joined Johnstone Glencairn Juniors in 1955 before moving on to Duntocher Hibernian also in 1955. In fact reading about Jim Kennedy's life he really does come across as the reluctant footballer and though a lifelong Celtic fan he never really played till National Service.
"Apart from playing in the Army, I had no urge to play football and my only interest had been following Celtic around the country.
"But Johnstone Glencairn had been in a cup semi final on the Saturday and it finished level so the replay was scheduled for the Monday.
"The game was played down at Kilbarchan and they wanted me to turn up and play, but I told them I wasn't interetsed.
"One of the boys trying to persuade me to play was the father of Owen Archdeacon, but I didn't see playing football as a way of life."
"Well in the end I gave in and played as Celtic weren't playing.
"After the game Renfrew Juniors wanted to sign me as well, the boy kept shoving a piece of paper at me saying 'just sign this' but I said I wasn't interested.
"He followed me onto the double decker with his form and he even came out to my house but I was determined not to sign.
"However on the Sunday there was a chaop at the door, it was Teddy Smith who was a Celtic scout and his wife was Bob Kelly's sister.
"He waved another piece of paper under my nose and this time I signed right away and didn't have to think twice about it."
Having signed for Celtic in 1955 he was farmed out to Duntocher Glencairn and earned a reputation as a tough tackling no-nonsense left back.
Having played a few reserve games for Celtic he came in for his debut against Partick Thistle on 23.4.56 where he was up against the gifted Jags and Scotland right wing Johnny McKenzie and Celtic duly lost 2-0 and his oonly appearance that season. He wasn't in the first team photograph in the 1956/57 season and did not make a second appearance till 2/1/57 in a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock. He started to make a good number of appearances for the first team in the 1959-60 season. However it was not until April 1961 that Jim gave up his day job in an Elderslie carpet factory, having taken nearly six years to decide that playing football full time was a fit and proper way to make a living.
The arrival of Tommy Gemmell on the scene saw him lose out for the left back position but he found a new role of a left half.
With the emergence of the team that would become the Lisbon Lions and Stein's preference for John Clark, Jim saw fewer games and on 13th November 1965 he transferred to Morton. His time with Morton was highly successful and he led them to promotion in April 1967. He then, as might be assumed for a lifelong Celtic fan, bunked off at Morton to go and watch the team in Lisbon.
"There was no way I was going to miss the game and the first person I met on the pitch during the celebrations was Stevie Chalmers who invited me into the dressing room. Once inside the first thing I noticed was that Ronnie Simpson was crying and then Big Jock told me to stay with the team and come back on the club flight.
"I told him I had training in the morning but he said never mind all that just stay with us. But I had to get back as Morton manager Hal Stewart knew fine well where I was
"It was no surprise to Hal that I wasn't going to miss Celtic in a European Cup final, but I thought that missing training the next day because I was celebrating with the winning team might be a bit too much."
He retired from Morton in 1968 and was appointed Liason Officer between Celtic and the various Supporters Club. Being back at the club reawakened his taste and in August 1968 he re-registered as a player so that he could play in Celtic Reserve games (allegedly so he could play in the Reserve game against Morton in August). He finally retired from Celtic in 1995 but still remained on the scenes at Celtic Park helping out wherever he could. one of his duties was being in charge of the distribution of away match tickets for the various CSA and Celtic Supporter's Clubs before a proper Ticket Office was established at Celtic Park.
Jim Kennedy was a Celtic player, fan and man through and through.
He sadly passed away in December 2003.
In some sources there is a reference to Pres going on loan to Rangers in 1959. The background to this unlikely scenario is quite interesting. Rangers and Celtic were playing in an Old Firm Select exhibition match in Inverness in 1959. The Select wore Rangers strips for the game and everyone had to officially sign for a shirt. Recalling the event in 1999, Jim said, "The story's not true about me not going out in the second half because we had to wear Rangers shirts, however I made sure I wore ma vest underneath so as the shirt wouldn't touch my skin."
"I was purely a defender and tended to get a nosebleed if I went over the halfway line."
| Team || From || To || League || Scottish Cup || League Cup || European || Appearances || Goals|
| Johnstone Glencairn || 1955 || 1955 || || || || || |
| Duntocher Hibernian || 1955 || 1955 || || || || || |
| Celtic || 1955 || 1956 || 1 || || || || 1 |
| || 1956 || 1957 || 4 || || 1 || || 5 |
| || 1957 || 1958 || 4 || || || || 4 |
| || 1958 || 1959 || 1 || || 1 || || 2 |
| || 1959 || 1960 || 20 || 7 || 3 || || 30 |
| || 1960 || 1961 || 32 || 7 || 6 || || 45 |
| || 1961 || 1962 || 32 || 6 || 6 || || 44 |
| || 1962 || 1963 || 25 || 5 || 6 || 1 || 37 |
| || 1963 || 1964 || 29 || 4 || 0 || 7 || 40 |
| || 1964 || 1965 || 22 || 0 || 8 || 3 || 33 || 2|
| Total Celtic || || || 170 || 29 || 31 || 11 || 241 || 2|
| Morton || 1965 || 1968 || || || || || 41 || 0|
Honours with Celtic Scottish Cup Scottish Cup
- Runners Up Medal, 1963 (after a replay)
Jim Kennedy;Former Celtic and Scotland defender
Herald and the Sunday Herald, The (Glasgow, Scotland)
December 6, 2003
JIM Kennedy, who has died in his 70th year, was by no means unsuccessful as a professional footballer. He was, after all, ten years with Celtic at the top, but could have been excused had he wondered wryly what a minute adjustment in the timing of his career might have brought.
He came to Parkhead just as the great men of the 50s, the Collins's and the Tully's, were going, or about to go, and he left Parkhead just as the Lions were starting to gather. Like several other Celtic players of his time, he would have benefited greatly from a more hands-on manager. For all his virtues, Jimmy McGrory was a reactive manager, and tactics consisted of a mildly phrased exhortation to do one's best. Thus the Celtic side that Kennedy joined from Duntocher Hibs in the mid-1950s was strong in individual skills but weak in sustained cohesion. There can rarely have been so talented a side which was at the same time so unfitted for the winning of league championships.
Jim Kennedy had to work for his success. His strengths were not the attention-getting kind. Willingness to drive and to help out his team-mates was a necessary strength, however, for throughout his career he would be competing for a place with the rumbustious Sean Fallon and later the swashbuckling Duncan MacKay. Six months after arriving at Parkhead he made a modest debut, and a losing one at that, as Celtic went under to Partick Thistle by 2-0 at Firhill, a result which encapsulated what was wrong with the club at the time.
That was the sole game of the season for him, and in the following season (1956-57) he had four first team outings. His first really big match was the semi-final of the Scottish Cup in 1960, when in the first game the Celtic defence was magnificent, and in the replay they were unbelievably poor. The gifted but erratic Frank Haffey displayed his first characteristic the first time round and his second in the replay.
Jim Kennedy was fated to be unlucky where the Scottish Cup was concerned. In the following year, 1961, he was part of the Celtic side which relentlessly bombarded the Dunfermline goal and drew miraculous saves from their goalkeeper, Eddie Conachan.
Celtic supporters reflected that matters would be put to rights in the Wednesday replay, but they arrived at Hampden to learn that appendicitis had lain Jim Kennedy low. After much deliberation, Willie O'Neill stepped in, although there were those who would have preferred the more experienced Bertie Peacock. Once again superlative goalkeeping at one end and indifferent goalkeeping at the other seemed to make it probable that Jim Kennedy would have nothing to show for his hard-working career. This seemed especially so when in an Old Firm cup final of 1963, Celtic's defence was magnificent in a 1-1 draw and abject in a 3-0 defeat in the replay. So, no medals, and the road to a cap seemed equally blocked by the consistent form of Eric Caldow of Rangers.
Yet in the autumn of his career he was capped by his country six times, the most important being against England and West Germany. The England match was a 1-0 win for the Scots at Hampden, and for those who might be tempted to write Jim Kennedy off as a diligent foot-soldier, have a look at the company he was keeping: Forsyth, Hamilton, Kennedy, Greig, McNeill, Baxter, Henderson, White, Gilzean, Law and Wilson. He was retained for a match with West Germany at Hanover which brought a very creditable 2-2 draw. Oddly enough, for one who had spent almost all of his career at left back, he reversed the usual order of things by spending his last season as a Celtic player in the left half position.
He was picked for the Scottish League four times and spent his last footballing days at Greenock Morton. He moved to Cappielow in 1965 and spent almost three years there. He once described himself to me as ''not very much of a Flash Harry''. Perhaps in this instance, and for once, the selectors' judgement was better and more far-seeing than it usually was.
James Kennedy, Celtic and Scotland full back; born 1934, died December 2, 2003.