McKnight, AllenThis is a featured page

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Fullname: Allen McKnight
: 27 January 1964
Birthplace: Antrim, N Ireland
Signed: 10 Aug 1986 (from Distillery)
Left: 13 July 1988 (to West Ham)
Position: Goalkeeper
First game: Dumbarton 5-1 away 26 August 1987 League Cup
Last game: Dundee United 2-1 Hampden 21 May 1988 Scottish Cup final
Internationals: N Ireland
International Caps: 10 caps

BiogMcKnight, Allen - Pic

Allen McKnight signed for Celtic from Distillery in the summer of 1986, following closely behind another Northern Irishman, Anton Rogan.

On arriving in Glasgow, McKnight found himself as third choice 'keeper behind Pat Bonner and Peter Latchford, and he was farmed out on a season-long loan to Albion Rovers. His time in the Scottish Second Division earned McKnight valuable experience in the Scottish game, and also a Lanarkshire Cup winner's medal.

On his return to Parkhead for the 1987/88 McKnight found a new manager, Billy McNeill having replaced David Hay, and quickly found himself in the first-team as Bonner went down with a virus. McKnight's debut came in a 5-1 League Cup win at Dumbarton on 26th August 1987. Three days later he made his Premier Division bow, keeping a clean-sheet in the heat of an Old Firm derby, Celtic beating Rangers 1-0. Ultimately Bonner reclaimed his place, but McKnight's twelve appearances and five clean-sheets helped the Championship trophy return to Parkhead.

1987/88 also saw Allen McKnight make his international début, displacing George Dunlop for the European Championship qualification match with Yugoslavia in October 1987 (he & Anton Rogan were the first N Irish caps of Celtic players since Peacock and Tully in the 1950s). He played every minute of that season's internationals, six in all, and kept clean-sheets against Turkey, France and Malta.

Must add that sadly due to the political situation in N Ireland, McKnight received excessive abuse from the N Ireland terraces during matches for playing for Celtic. McKnight was brought up on the Unionist side, and so moving to Celtic was not accepted by the intolerant amongst his old countrymen. Regardless, he was always made welcome at Celtic, and even many years later after Celtic he returned to the club for visits at matches and was received very warmly. Reflects well on the club and support.

The highlight of McKnight's season was yet to come, Pat Bonner picking up calf and hamstring injuries in training just days before the Scottish Cup Final. Billy McNeill kept the Republic of Ireland Number One's injury a secret right up to Final Saturday, with the Northern Ireland man a surprise between the sticks. Celtic claimed the trophy, and the Double, with a 2-1 victory over Dundee United, but it was McKnight's poor clearance that allowed Kevin Gallacher in for United's leading goal which became thankfully only their consolation goal.

In July 1988, with Pat Bonner still Celtic's obvious goalkeeping first choice, McKnight took the chance to play top flight football in England, with West Ham United manger John Lyall paying £250,000 for his services.

He had a mixed time at West Ham, and left in 1991, whereafter he was a journeyman playing for numerous clubs (including in China), hanging up his boots in 1997.

Playing Career

1986-88 12 1 2 2 17

Honours with Celtic

Scottish Premier Division
  • 1987-88
Scottish Cup
  • 1987-88


Latest page update: made by joebloggscity , Aug 12 2015, 8:28 AM EDT (about this update About This Update joebloggscity Edited by joebloggscity

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