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|M | Player Pics, part 2 | A-Z of Players | Coaching Staff|
PersonFullname: Daniel Fergus McGrain
aka; Danny McGrain, Danny Bhoy
Born: 1 May 1950
Birthplace: Finnieston, Scotland
Signed: 13 May 1967
Left: 12 May 1987
Position: Defence: Right Back/Full Back
First game : Dundee United away 2-2 league cup 15 August 1970
Last game : Hearts away 0-1 league 9 May 1987
First goal : Clyde home 5-0 league 8 September 1973
Last goal : Kilmarnock away 5-0 league 30 April 1983
International caps: 62
International Goals: 0
|"Anybody who saw him at his best had the unmistakeable impression of watching a great player, probably one who had no superior anywhere in the world."|
Esteemed sports journalist Hugh McIlvanney on Danny McGrain
BiogThere are many great players in our history, and there are few other more recognisable (due to his bushy beard) or fondly remembered than the great Danny McGrain. His name is said with as much reverence now as when he played.
A great stalwart in the Celtic sides of the 70's, he was a truly world class player, whom many of us are fortunate to be able to say that he was one of us. Yet it wasn't meant to be like this. Danny McGrain was actually brought up a bluenose and was a self-confessed died-in-the-wool Rangers supporter in his youth. How did he end up then with Celtic? It's a bitter story which he has himself recounted endlessly and detailed in his biographies. A Rangers' scout is said to have visited his junior club to see or sign him, only to then turn around on hearing his surname in the mistaken belief that Danny McGrain was of Irish Catholic descent [not that it should have mattered]! Bigotry reared it's head, and disgracefully cost a good man (wrongly) to not be allowed to join his club. If ever there was a point that the Hun's sectarianism policies paid off for us, then it was here. Celtic has always been an ecumenical club, and Celtic signed Danny McGrain on the basis of his football alone [as per Willie Maley's famous quote]. For that we can be forever grateful to Rangers in mistakenly & wrongly passing him over.
Danny McGrain signed for us on May 13th 1967, just a couple of weeks before our European Cup win, and for him it was a case of looking on to see what he could become a part of. Little did the Lisbon Lions know as they were celebrating their win that already within Celtic was a player [Danny McGrain] who would soon be snapping at their heels.
His main position was as right-back but he was able to easily flit between the right-back and the left-back positions, or centre-half if and when needed. He may have been an affable gentleman off the pitch, but on the pitch he was an unforgiving tackler. Built out of granite, he never shirked a tackle and every opposing player knew his presence on the pitch; "a real cruel tackler" as Billy McNeill described him.
Another great facet of his game was his pace. A speedy player, it was like as if like a rhino was charging up the field with the ball for crossing and passing. Any weaknesses? He was too tough for any of that, but admittedly he has said himself that he wasn't an attacking penalty box player and goal scoring wasn't his forte.
Regardless, consistent and level headed, he managed to more than make himself known to all, and his reputation was international. He truly was world class, and many commentators from the 1970's have said that he was the best in the world in his position. A great accolade. Celtic fans always knew about his ability, and in a poll to find out Celtic's greatest XI, McGrain easily found a place in this alongside Jinky, McNeill and Larsson.
He was also a member of the lauded "Quality Street" gang of players, which included Dalglish, Hay, Connelly and Macari amongst others. Of the group of players, only Connelly was more highly regarded, which is some feat, and in many people's eyes he was held in the same stature as Dalglish. Kenny Dalglish though was a forward with all the glory and attention that comes with scoring goals; Danny McGrain was a solid defender, and that is why attention is usually centred more on Dalglish than McGrain.
Must add a point on his great sportsmanship. For such a solid unforgiving player on the pitch, he actually had a heart of gold and was not unknown to ask after his opposing player after a game [likely to make sure he hadn't damaged them].
It wasn't all plain sailing, and in 1974 Danny McGrain was diagnosed with diabetes, which can hinder many a person's life never mind a sporting career. However, he didn't let that put him down and worked around it, and he became a role model for others who had to live with the condition. You wouldn't have believed he actually had any such issues.
Along the way there was also a fractured jaw (1972) which lost him time at the peak of his career, but more seriously he also suffered a mystery ankle injury after what some thought was an innocuous challenge in a league match (1977) which ended up laying him out from first team action for 16 months!
Thankfully for himself and his career he recovered to return to join the side. We were all relieved for him and the attachment the support had for Danny was immense. Amazingly, he returned as strong as ever but sadly with less pace as time caught up with him. Didn't hinder him as he captained the side to the league title culminating in the magnificent "Ten men who won the league" match against Rangers in 1979.
In his career at Celtic, Danny McGrain amassed a grand total of trophies, medals and memories. He was deserving of each and every one of them. He stayed with us till 1987, a phenomenally long time for any footballer to stay at a single club. Whilst the other great players in the Quality Street gang had left to try for themselves in England, McGrain was not interested and for a man who had grown up in the blue corner of Glasgow, he had come to fall in love with Celtic and was as steeped in the history of the green as any man on the terracing. His ego was non-existent, and all was secondary to the benefit of the club. A great man deserving of all accolades that come his way.
Sadly, it didn't end amicably between Celtic and McGrain. On his retirement, he was hoping for a position amongst the coaching staff with Celtic but an agreement did not materialise between the board and him, and Danny McGrain walked out and not to return for around three years. It was a sad indictment of the old board's management that they couldn't handle this situation with Danny McGrain, his talent and experience would have been invaluable with the youths.
Thankfully, the torn relationship was repaired, and McGrain came back in later years and worked again for Celtic as a reserve team coach. His influence and persona are simply priceless.
One of the true greats of all football.
InternationalsOne of the great breakthroughs for Celtic with respect to Danny McGrain, which is little commented on, was in the international game. Up until Danny McGrain, many Celtic players over the previous 50 years had been paid lip service, with many great Celtic players (such as Jimmy Johnstone) earning only a fraction of the number of caps they otherwise should have earned, all due to the partisan nature of Scottish football. The Lisbon Lions were pitifully treated by the committees who picked the squads. Danny McGrain though was a player that couldn't be overlooked (or messed with), and in doing so became a stalwart in the Scottish national side during a time when they had some degree of respectability (exc Argentina 1978).
Internationals gave Danny the opportunity to further test his abilities at another level, and many Celtic supporters who had been indifferent to the national side began to turn and support the national team when they saw he was playing.
In all, Danny managed to gain 62 caps for Scotland, and captained the national side 10 times which included the 1-0 victory over England in 1981 at Wembley and captaining Scotland in the 1982 World Cup campaign. Danny McGrain ended up winning a then record number of caps for a player playing in Scotland (only Dalglish ended up with more caps). It was a great leap for Celtic and it's players.
Thankfully, injury caused him to miss the calamity that was the World Cup in Argentina (1978). If he was there maybe things would likely have turned out differently. Who knows, but with someone like him things could have only been better not worse.
Some notable pieces of trivia: In the early 1980's the whole Scotland team on the pitch were playing for English Clubs, with one exception: Danny McGrain. Danny McGrain played five times for Scotland in World Cup final games and never lost one!
Post-Celtic club managementHe managed Hamilton and Arbroath after leaving Celtic, including being manager of Arbroath as Celtic skelped them big time. It never worked out for him at managerial level, and journalist Glenn Gibbons told a tale in one of his columns possibly illustrating why. On the first training session with Hamilton, Danny McGrain told the players in his strong Glaswegian brogue: "The reason why you are all here, is cause you're all no good enough!" Hardly going to win "Coach of the Year" awards for that comment, but it was more due to that great players are sometimes way too ahead of average players and can't work at their level. Hamilton are a small club, Danny was an international institution.
He likely didn't realise what he was really saying to them. A bit funny in some ways.
However, in later years he was as active as ever being a senior coach with the Celtic Development Squad (reserve sides), and at the age of 62 he was promoted to the Celtic first team coach position (vacated by Alan Thompson) to assist manager Neil Lennon and assistant manager Johan Mjallby.
|LEAGUE||LEAGUE CUP||SCOTTISH CUP||EUROPE||OTHER||TOTALS|
|OTHER||: Glasgow Cup, Drybrough Cup, Anglo-Scottish Cup|
Honours with Celtic
- 1970-71, 1971-72, 1972-73, 1973-74, 1976-77,
- 1978-79, 1980-81, 1981-82, 1985-86
- (note: need confirmed if he actually received a medal for 1970-71 & 1971-72, he played 7 & 3 games respectively being 16th & 19th on list of appearances.)
- Scottish Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year 1977
- Member of Celtic all-time XI
- Member of Scotland Hall of Fame
- Captain of Scotland 1982 World Cup
Quotes And TributesEarly Celtic Memories
McGrain cannot recall his precise Celtic debut, but he remembers an early first team experience in August 1970 when he replaced Harry Hood in a League Cup tie against Dundee United at Tannadice.
He revealed: "I came on for Harry at half-time and Bobby Murdoch played a pass to give me an early touch to calm any nerves. But I allowed the ball to run under my foot and it went out for a throw-in.
"But, thankfully, Bobby didn't give me a hard time. He could see I was nervous and told me it was OK. His encouragement boosted my confidence."
In July 1967, when, together with Kenny Dalglish, his great friend, he dared to ask Stein if they could go full-time at the club. The pair were miserable as respectively a trainee mechanical engineer and an apprentice joiner. "Football was the easy option. Kenny and I thought the real world was too hard."
McGrain and Kenny Dalglish, two of the most outstanding members of Celtic's "Quality Street" gang, had accompanied the squad to Milan for the European Cup final against Feyenoord as kit boys.
Danny on The Manager
"Mr Stein was an imposing figure. I was in awe when I first met Mr Stein, and I thought I was all through my playing career.
"He meant something to every player. Whether or not they liked him as a person he was loved for what he did for their careers.
"How big an influence was he? How long is a piece of string? He was a nice man. A nice, nice man. You don't remember the things your dad did to you that were bad. You remember the nice things like Christmas or your birthday. Maybe Mr Stein could give you stick, but it was forgotten outside the dressing room. He taught me so much. He hurried things up for me."
McGrain had been signed from Queen's Park Strollers on the recommendation of Jock Stein's assistant, Sean Fallon.
"But it was Sean who wanted to sign me and Kenny and I owe him a lot. To this day whenever I meet Sean I want to thank him."
Commenting on the 4-2 game
"At the start of the season it looked as if I didn't have a football future. I suffered an ankle injury which kept me out of the World Cup and I was told I wouldn't play again. Now I was the skipper of the title winners; it was some turn-around."
Best Moment With Celtic
It's difficult to pick one moment from all that time, but beating St Mirren 5-0 at Love Street to win the championship in 1986 was a great moment.
When Mr Stein left, he was missed around the club and there was a void left by his absence.
Favourite Away Ground
I loved the whole atmosphere and the love/hate thing at Ibrox. There was more blood and thunder in those days, but that was more acceptable then.
Favourite Goal Scored
Mine were quite forgettable. My biggest was probably against Partick Thistle in the Glasgow Cup, when I scored the winner to take us to the final!
"My bottle just went in the box. I just couldn't score."
McGrain, despite the ferocity of his talking, was not a dirty player. He received only one red card in his career of 650 games for Celtic and 62 for Scotland. It came against Aberdeen at Celtic Park on October 9, 1982, for two fouls on Peter Weir. The second was worthy of a yellow card, the first was not. "I was late for the second one, unfortunately I only realised that when I was in mid-air. It's always like that when you are late."
Tackling is a "lost art"
"You can't tackle now and I do see more young guys copying professional players by feigning injury. We used to laugh at the Italians for doing it, now we copy them."
"My tackling was good because my timing was good. Okay, not every tackle was inch-perfect, but I never went in to hurt anybody."
Injuries and Illness
He sustained a fractured skull after a clash with Doug Somner at Brockville on March 25, 1972, and then there was the discovery that he suffered from diabetes after the 1974 World Cup.
"The fracture wasn't that severe," says McGrain, touching his forehead. "Wee Louie (Macari) didn't want to go on because it was a cold day at Brockville, but I said I felt okay and then I collapsed as I tried to leave the dressing room. I woke up in an ambulance on my way to hospital."
After an anxious three months when double vision persisted, McGrain's rehabilitation started sitting at home heading a balloon and was completed when Bertie Miller, of Aberdeen, blootered him with ball at the beginning of the 1972-73 season.
It was the searing heat of Frankfurt, Scotland's base at the 1974 World Cup, that made McGrain realise he was again seriously ill. He lost two stones in weight during the tournament and his nights were spent on a depressing cycle of drinking pints of orange juice and then going to the toilet. On his return, his wife, Laraine, insisted that he visited the doctor and he was diagnosed diabetic. If Scotland had progressed, as they came agonisingly close to doing, he could have suffered a diabetic coma.
Later injuries, such as a broken leg and the mysterious ankle injury which he sustained when he and John Blackley clattered into each other at Celtic Park in 1977.
The ankle problem, finally cured by acupuncture, meant McGrain missed Argentina, but he played against New Zealand and the USSR in Spain four years later.
Danny Versus . . .
Jairzinho, who had scored in every game of the 1970 finals and tormented Giacinto Facchetti, the legendary Italian left-back, in Brazil's 4-1 final victory, hardly got a kick when he faced McGrain in Scotland's 0-0 draw with the world champions.
Jairzinho, he insists, "wasn't the same player" he had gaped at on television four years previously and was hardly as troublesome as Arthur Graham, of Aberdeen. "You would be allowed one hard tackle at the start of the game, but Arthur could take it and when you had the ball he would tackle you. Davie Cooper was tough to pin down, but if you tackled him hard he would drift back deeper where he was less dangerous. Arthur just kept coming."
Teammates on Danny
Billy McNeill, "a real cruel tackler at times".
Tommy Burns still winces at the memory of their Celtic training sessions together. "He came through you like a ton of bricks. There was never any going through the motions for Danny. He was consistently phenomenal, the greatest player I played with."
Jim Craig: after I got married, I picked up Danny at Canniesburn Toll. Evan Williams, our goalkeeper, used to live out that way too and he would give Danny lifts as well. One day we decided to play a trick on him. Evan drove past Danny and said: 'Don't worry, Jim will be along in a minute'. Then I drove past and shouted: 'Evan will pick you up today, Danny'. We watched from behind some bushes as he looked around frantically for a taxi."
Jim McLean on Danny
Stein had just told McGrain, who had captained the Scots to a 5-2 win in the opening game against New Zealand, he was being dropped.
Liverpool skipper Graeme Souness was handed the armband at the expense of his vastly-experienced colleague, then 32 and a veteran of the 1974 World Cup.
Ultimately McGrain would win the last of his 62 caps in the final game against the USSR in Malaga, a 2-2 draw, but it was not unreasonable to believe he feared he'd already played his last game when Stein read out the team.
McLean said: "A lot of players at international level do have big egos but Danny's reaction that day was the act of a true professional.
"He must have been shattered when Jock announced the starting 11 in a team meeting a few hours before the game.
"But as soon as Jock finished listing the team and addressing the squad Danny was the first player on his feet to roar encouragement to the others.
"I'd never seen that side of Danny. He was not an out-and-out motivator because he preferred to set his examples quietly and was enormously respected by the rest of the players as a result.
"Football is a team game but we're still all selfish at times and in that situation every player was sitting nervously, hoping he'd be picked.
"Danny was a fixture in the side and must have been so disappointed not to be listed.
"But his first thought was for the team and I will never forget his reaction.
Ally Dawson on Danny
The one [game v Celtic] that stands out for me was the second game I played after I returned from a fractured skull. I made my comeback in an Anglo-Scottish Cup tie against Chesterfield and then it was straight into a match against Celtic. We won that game 1-0 at Ibrox.
But what sticks out in my mind was that after that match Danny McGrain made a point of coming up to me to ask how I was. He had suffered a fractured skull himself and wished me all the best with my recovery. That speaks volumes.
Hugh McIlvanney on Danny
"When great racehorse trainers talk about the best thoroughbreds, they emphasise not only talent but attitude. In addition to the obvious qualities of pace and skill that Danny brought to football, there was the priceless asset of his approach to the game. He encountered all kinds of problems through injury and difficulties with his health, but nothing could prevent him from being prodigious on the field.
"Anybody who saw him at his best had the unmistakeable impression of watching a great player, probably one who had no superior anywhere in the world."
- Celtic: My Team, Danny McGrain 1978, ISBN 0-285-62369-9
- In Sunshine And In Shadow, Danny McGrain and Hugh Keevins, 1987, ISBN 0-85976-191-6
Danny Leaves Celtic as a PlayerFootball: McGrain departs
Times, The (London, England)
May 14, 1987
The Scottish international full back, Danny McGrain has been given a free transfer by Celtic, ending a 20-year association with the club. McGrain said that the news provided him with the 'worst day of my life'. McGrain is the most capped player in Celtic's history, having appeared for Scotland 62 times.
Danny McGrain banned from Albania due to his beard!!!!(From the Guardian)
Communist Albania frowned at all facial hair under its leader Enver Hoxha, who had made beards illegal before Celtic were due to travel for their 1979 European Cup first-round first leg tie against Partizan Tirana. The owner of a fine-follicled face-hugger himself, McGrain was understandably anxious before the trip, recalling that "there was a lot in the press about beards being banned there."
As it transpired, no one told McGrain to shave it off and he went on to play in a 1-0 defeat. "I would have done it if they had asked, but I had actually seen a few people with them," added the Celtic legend, whose side subsequently ran out 4-1 winners in the return game. "It was a little intimidating too because when we went outside there were only men in the streets and no women to be seen, but there was no bother at all."
Right-back McGrain went on to win 62 caps for Scotland, before moving into management at Arbroath, where his fancy chin-warmer came to prominence again. "I'll never forget how the fans took to Danny McGrain and his beard," recalled then-chairman John Christison of the so-called 'Danny McGrain's Bearded Army'.
"It was crazy - but brilliant. They would all wear their own beards and we had 700 T-shirts printed up. They sold out in three days."
Danny McGrain (becoming a Bhoy)CelticFC.net
Before you joined the club’s youth system, where were you playing football?
I played for Queen’s Park Strollers, which would be under-18s, along with Scottish schools. I played for the school in the morning and Queen’s Park in the afternoon, which I never found tiring at that age, although it shouldn’t have been tiring around 16 or 17. Apparently, Tommy Reilly, Mr Stein’s friend, came to watch Scottish schools with Sean Fallon, when we got hammered 4-1 by England schoolboys. I had just turned 17 at this time. Sean Fallon came up to my house in Drumchapel and wanted me to sign. Up to then, people were saying to me that I could be a professional footballer, but I never thought I would be a player. So when Sean Fallon came up to sign me on a part-time basis, I thought I needed to stay on at school. But he said that they would send me to college as I wanted to be a mechanical engineer – that was my hope. But I had to get a Higher in Maths. I got an O-level Maths but couldn’t understand Higher Maths. The club sent me to Reid Kerr College for a year and I still couldn’t understand it. At the same time, Kenny was training to be an apprentice joiner. It never worked out for me and I don’t think Kenny was enjoying being an apprentice joiner so when the year was out, me and Kenny decided to go and ask Mr Stein to go full-time.
Was it difficult juggling football and college when you were part-time?
I played Junior that year as the club wanted you to go out and get experience, and I learned to look after myself. Kenny was lucky and went to Cumbernauld, a brand new club with a new park. I went to Maryhill Juniors, an old club with an old park, and got kicked from pillar post. I never really enjoyed it. We never won one game in six months – it was that bad I got voted Player of the Year! Kenny was at Cumbernauld, scoring goals every week and was just a natural goalscorer. It wasn’t until years down the road that I realised what I had learned there. I learned how to look after myself and improve my awareness of the game. That was why Mr Stein wanted us to go there. Wherever you play, you always have to learn something, be it a good game, a bad game or an indifferent game, and take something from it. I was taking things in but wasn’t aware that I was doing it.
How did it feel to sign for the club?
I think it was relief as I didn’t have to do any more Maths! I didn’t have to try and get into the mechanical engineering.
With the club lifting the European Cup days after you joined, and regularly competing for top honours, it must have been an exciting time to be a young player at Celtic?
Of course and we reached the European Cup final in 1970 as well. I made my debut that year and Kenny and I went to the final, not as boot boys but for experience. How many chances do people get to go to a European Cup final with a team? Again that was the type of manager Mr Stein was. It was great to see the preparation but then we lost to Feyenoord, which was awful for us as the first-team were our pals now. Dutch football had been in its infancy but unknown to us it was growing. They came and took over, and played us off the park that night.
What were those first weeks like?
We did go full-time and we signed the week after Lisbon and the following week we were in training with theses guys. To go from being at college at 17 or 18, from Drumchapel, and go all the way to Celtic Park and train altogether as one group with the Lions was amazing. I just remember the first pre-season running around the track and running and running…with these older guys and names that I heard of like Big Billy and Bobby. We thought we could outrun them. We did some hard work and Big Billy was just passing me as if I was stuck in mud and I was giving it everything. That was my first introduction. I went from there and three years later I made my debut.
Were you ever intimidated when you walked into a dressing room occupied by such household names?
No, because when we first arrived we trained together. We were one squad. It wasn’t a first-team squad and reserve squad, so we got to know each other. We would play games together. You would be playing alongside and against the likes of wee Jimmy, Bobby, Big Billy and Bertie. You can’t become friends as we were too young but you just to know them, so when you made your first-team debut it was still a daunting task but you weren’t as nervous. They were still the Lisbon Lions, you still had a great respect for them, and I have great deal to thank them for. For me, Kenny, Victor and Paul to be able to play with these guys was like being at Yale University for football. We had to take everything from it, and I thing we did that.
What it was like being part of such a talented group of young players at the club?
I think Jock Stein and Sean Fallon gave everyone the confidence that they could make it. The whole Lisbon team were ahead of us and it might be another five years before I could even try and get into the first-team. Originally, I was a midfielder who would run about everywhere, and Mr Stein and Sean Fallon put players in various positions in the reserve team – I think I played every position apart from centre forward and centre-half. After two or three years, Mr Stein thought I would be a full-back. However, I never thought I could be a full-back as I always thought that full-backs had to be hard tacklers and good defenders but once I played there I was comfortable. At that time, I was playing with Kenny, Vic Davidson, Lou Macari and Paul Wilson – all guys who made it into the first-team. And because we all made it into the first-team, it made it a bit easier to come into. Because we had come through together, you knew what kind of passes they wanted and what they liked.
Was it a good grounding to play in that reserve set-up before you went into the first-team?
Charlie Gallagher played alongside us a lot and he was a very good player. You learned from him and there would be others who would play when they were coming back from injury. Davie Cattanach was there most of the time as well and he was a rough and ready defender who was very enthusiastic. It was good for us to see someone who was perhaps out the picture but still had great enthusiasm for the club and still worked hard. He also takes a bit of credit for our knowledge of the game.
After signing for the club back in 1967, could you have ever imagined having such an illustrious career and still being at the club nearly 45 years later?
I was quite happy getting the first day over with and the games out of the way! Nobody ever thinks that’s going to happen. But it’s been enjoyable. I left in ’87 and never came back until ’97. I still kept in touch and still watched the games – but I don’t count those 10 years, they never existed! So it’s been a long time but I have enjoyed every day of it.
DANNY McGRAINBy David Potter
It would have to be admitted that the name DANIEL FERGUS McGRAIN does sound as if its owner were Catholic, Irish and even an habitue of the slopes of Celtic Park of a Saturday afternoon. Well, just to prove that boneheaded-ness is not confined to the support of Ibrox and more than occasionally finds its way along the corridors of power, the coaching staff at Rangers concluded that this boy was not genetically or racially pure enough to wear a blue jersey and ignored him, leaving the way open to that famous Protestant called Jock Stein to sign yet another Protestant for a Club that did not employ such a bigoted, ignorant policy.
Danny was one of the Quality Street Kids who learned their football in the background during the late 1960s when the first team was winning everything in Scotland and impressing England and Europe as well.
He joined the Club when he was 17 on May 13th 1967 (12 days before THAT day of days) and stayed with the Club until 1987. During the intervening 20 years he played 657 times for Celtic and earned 62 caps for Scotland. He won seven League Championship medals, five Scottish Cup medals and two League Cup medals. He was the captain of the team from the late 1970s onwards.
He was unfortunate in that he was often the only player of real class at Parkhead at that time. The rest of the team were GOOD players (deservedly playing for Scotland, for example and winning medals for Celtic and other clubs), but Danny was a GREAT player - and it showed. He was a superb athlete, a great competitor and an inspiring captain, and thoroughly deserved his M.B.E. from the Queen in 1983.
Yet it might never have been had he not also shown the world his qualities of resilience that allowed him to recover from three problems that would have floored a lesser man. One was a fractured skull sustained more or less as he was breaking into the Celtic team on March 25th 1972, but from which he had recovered by the start of the following season; another was his being diagnosed as a diabetic and the necessity of insulin injections. Once again he showed the world what he is made of and remains an example to others who suffer from that distressing condition, and then there was that mysterious ankle injury which knocked him out of the 1977-78 season when Celtic really needed him and out of the 1978 World Cup disaster in Argentina, where it is hard to believe that his calming influence would not have been beneficial in that crazy Scotland set-up.
He was always a Glaswegian with the Glaswegian sense of humour. No great speechmaker, he nevertheless told the story about how he was attending a reserve football match and was spotted and recognised by a Rangers fan. The bluenose was about to launch into a tirade about the Pope, Fenians etc. before he remembered that this was not appropriate for the Protestant Danny. Danny then says, "He searched what there was of a brain before shouting 'McGrain, you diabetic bastard!"
He also looks back with affection on his early days of working with Jock Stein, whom he called "Mr.Stein" when wanting a pass in a bounce game when Jock joined in. He looks back nostalgically on his peers "Davie Hay, George Connelly, Vic Davidson ... and there was a young lad called Dalglish, I think his name was, that played as well!"
Those who saw Danny McGrain in his prime will say without any doubt that he was the best right back of his and possibly of all time. Yet he could play at left back as well, performing equally creditably. He was a complete footballer with everything except an ability to shoot - but then again, he would never have claimed to be a forward. Indeed his modesty was one of his more endearing characteristics, for he was never big headed enough to feel that Celtic and Scotland were not good enough for him and that he should move south to England.
He remained until his retirement Danny McGrain of Celtic and Scotland.
In later years he was manager of Hamilton Accies and Arbroath, but like Alec McNair of old, he simply was too nice a man for the nastiness of managing a Scottish football club.
Danny is now of course an integral member of the Celtic Youth Academy's coaching staff.
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