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PersonalFullname: Alexander McMahon
aka: Sandy McMahon, The Prince of Dribblers, The Duke
Born: 16 Oct 1870
Died: 25 Jan 1916
Birthplace: Selkirk, Scottish Borders
Signed: 1891 & 1892
Position: Centre forward, Inside Left
Debut: Vale of Leven 1-3 Celtic, League, 24 Jan 1891
International Caps: 6 (& 8 times for the Scottish League)
International Goals: 4
BiogSandy (Alexander) McMahon (October 16, 1870 - January 25, 1916) was a Celtic Football Club player. He played for Celtic from 1891 until 1903, making at least 217 appearances and scoring 171 goals. He won three Scottish Cup medals in 1892, 1899 and 1900 (scoring in all three finals), and four Scottish League medals in 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1898.
Sandy McMahon was born in 1870 in Selkirk, Scotland. He started with Leith Harp in Edinburgh and then had a short spell at Hibs.
His first moment of glory came in the 1892 Scottish Cup Final replay, when he scored two goals in the 5-1 victory over Queen's Park. He also scored in the 1899 cup final when Celtic beat Rangers 2-0, and in the 1900 final when they beat Queen's Park 4-3.
He played at centre forward or inside left, and his goal scoring rate was phenomenal, 171 goals in just 217 games! What would that be worth now?
He is said to have been a well-read man, which is something that lent him respect from many quarters. In many ways that gave him a great advantage with his intelligence on the park. Willie Maley described him as "the best header of a ball I have ever seen... he could almost hold a high cross with his head... direct it with the greatest of ease... a terror to defences at corner kicks".
He was the first great Celtic player to define an era, in much the same way the players like McGrory, Jinky and Larsson were later to also do.
In 1892 he had a short spell at Nottingham Forest, hoping to earn some money as the game had just been professionalised in England. However, he was soon tempted back to Celtic.
McMahon played six times for Scotland, and scored four goals in the 11-0 rout of Ireland in 1901.
In 1903 he joined Partick Thistle. He retired a year later in 1904, marking the end of a great and wonderful career.
Nickname - "The Duke"His nickname was "The Duke", and he was also described as the "prince of dribblers". "The Duke" nickname was derived from the French President Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta, the descendant of an Irish soldier who had severed under Napoleon.
It is said that when the French President died in Oct 1893, a paper boy sold out his stock with cries of: "McMahon deid! Whit'll the Cel'ic dae noo?"
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
| 1890-1903 || 174 || 43 ||n/a||n/a|| 217|
| Goals || 126 || 45 || - || - || 171|
Major Honours with CelticScottish League Championship
THE CELTIC LEGEND OF SANDY ‘THE DUKE' McMAHON
David W Potter eulogises about one of the true Legends of Celtic – Sandy ‘the Duke' McMahon, a player that scored 171 goals for Celtic and was one of our Club's greatest ever goal-scorers. This is a MUST READ FOR CELTIC FANS who love to ‘know their history'!
It has often been said that a good Celtic team needs to have a personality goal scorer. Recent years obviously found one in Henrik Larsson and in the past there have been Jimmy McGrory and Jimmy Quinn. Curiously, little seems to be said about Celtic's first ever great goalscorer, Sandy McMahon.
Yet this was a man who played for the Club from 1891 until 1903, made at least 217 appearances for the Club and scored 171 goals, won three Scottish Cup medals in 1892, 1899 and 1900 (scoring in all three finals), and four Scottish League medals in 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1898. He was some player, was Sandy McMahon.
McMahon (pronounced McMachon by the fans and McMann by the learned) is said to have originated from Selkirk, yet Dundee would appear to have a similar claim. There was an Alexander McMahon born there as well in 1871, the son of the licensee of a public house. But it was Edinburgh where he made his mark in football, playing for Leith Harp and of course the great Hibernian. He was just too young to get a game for Hibs in their 1887 Scottish Cup win, but in December 1890 he was old enough to be poached by the emerging Irish team in Glasgow , joining mighty men like Willie Maley and James Kelly.
He was a rarity among football players of that era in that he was a well-read, educated man who at Maley's famous soirees to entertain fellow guests at a hotel, would recite William Shakespeare rather than sing a maudlin Scottish or sentimental Irish song. His photographs show him to look more like a teacher with a grim magisterial face and moustache rather than a professional footballer and hero of a community. He was nicknamed “The Duke” after the President of France from 1873-1879, Duc de Mac-Mahon, who was, apparently, no relation to Sandy .
His first moment of glory came in the 1892 Scottish Cup Final - the day when the cry of “Our Bhoys Have Won The Cup” echoed round the backstreets of Glasgow and gave at least a momentary relief from the grim, unrelenting misery of poverty and deprivation to the embattled and downtrodden Irish. Some reports imply that Sandy scored a hat-trick in that Cup Final, but the balance of evidence is that he only scored two – one a brilliant individual run, and the other a glorious header from a corner kick which set a precedent for Quinn, McGrory and McNeill.
Such was his fame that in a moment of weakness he agreed to join Nottingham Forrest in summer 1892 on the grounds that, as professionalism had been legalised in England , he could earn money there legitimately. But by the autumn, Celtic, with John Glass and Mick Dunbar well to the fore, organized a rescue and “kidnapped” him back to Scotland , and to the Club that he really loved.
Throughout the 1890s he was a constant factor in the green and white vertical stripes of the Celtic forward line, either at centre forward or at inside left along with the prodigious Johnny Campbell. It is significant that at the time of the Arthurlie disaster of January 1897, when Celtic sustained their first ever giant-killing thanks to player unrest, Sandy was out injured. It would not have happened, had he been there.
He was called “the prince of dribblers”, and one particular report says that he played “arms held high, spread out like ostrich wings, head down, back slightly bent forward, enormous feet”. Maley gives a graphic account of his dribbling goal in the 1892 Cup Final and says that he was “the best header of a ball I have ever seen… he could almost hold a high cross with his head… direct it with the greatest of ease”. One headed goal is described as being scored “with a Rangers hanging on each leg”! If he were the best header that Maley had ever seen, that is no idle compliment, for Maley is writing in 1938, just after the retiral of the great Jimmy McGrory! Perhaps significantly however, Maley adds, “of speed, he (McMahon) had little”, for the game at that time was not particularly fast, and passing was only just coming into its own as a skill.
Sandy won 6 caps for Scotland , although he was unfortunate in that two of his games against England saw uncharacteristic (for that era) thrashings by the Englishmen. He did however play in the game that was watched by the future Queen Mary at Richmond in 1893, and he also scored 4 goals in an 11-0 win over a hapless Irish side at Celtic Park in 1901.
His other two successful Scottish Cup Finals in 1899 against Rangers and Queen's Park in 1900 owed a great deal to him. In 1899 he scored a glorious header, and in 1900 it was a surprise shot from the wing. He was versatile, ungainly and unpredictable, but was a hero for a community that badly needed one. He was referred to as “Sandy” in the same way as subsequent generations would refer to “Patsy”, “ Dixie ” or “Henrik” without any need to say the surname.
He probably never wore the Hoops, for by 1903 he had dropped out of contention and was on his way to Partick Thistle before retiring a year later. Like many great Celtic players, he was destined to die young. He died of cancer on January 25 th 1916 at the age of about 45. The story goes that when Maley went to see him in Glasgow Royal Infirmary a few days before his death, Sandy rolled back the bedcovers, showed Maley his spindly legs and said that he hoped they had done their bit for Celtic's history. He then asked the weeping Maley to lower the colours on his coffin at his funeral. The request was granted.
Oh, a curse on those who did not invent television fifty years before John Logie Baird! What we would give for a few action shots of the great Sandy McMahon, one of the greatest of the early Celts!
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