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PersonalFullname: Peter Meehan
Born: 28 February 1872
Died: June 1915
Signed: 20 May 1895 (from Sunderland)
Left: 6 Jan 1897 (to Everton)
Debut: Queen's Park 1-0 Celtic, Charity Cup, 14 May 1895
International Caps: 1 Cap [needs confirmed]
International Goals: 0 Goals [needs confirmed]
BiogBroxburn-born Peter Meehan signed for Celtic in May 1895 from English giants Sunderland.
The former miner made his debut in a 1-0 Charity Cup victory at Queens Park on May 14th 1895. Possibly his best days were at Sunderland and not the Celts.
He helped Celtic to secure our third League title (1895-96) and fifth Charity Cup (1896) but ended his career in controversial fashion.
After the press criticised the Celtic team in the wake of a Glasgow Cup final defeat to Rangers in November 1896 Meehan and other players refused to play in the next match at home to Hibs unless the press men were kicked out the ground.
In the wake of that action he was sold in January to Everton after making 25 appearances for Celtic and scoring one goal.
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Honours with CelticScottish League
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From The West Lothian Courier 21st January 2010
The Broxburn footballer who swapped shale pits for silverwareJan 21 2010 by Eric MacKinnon, West Lothian Courier
The Courier takes a look back at the colourful, and often controversial, career of West Lothian’s unsung footballing hero, former Celtic and Hibs star Peter Meechan
PETER MEECHAN swapped the shale pits of West Lothian for a starring role on British football’s grandest stages, winning the top titles in Scotland and England while also earning a full Scotland cap and playing in two FA Cup finals.
The Broxburn-born star was a transfer record breaker and Meechan (sometimes incorrectly spelled Meehan) is one of West Lothian’s most successful football exports and a former favourite at Glasgow Celtic.
But little has been written of a player who must have been one of the first from the area to have earned championship medals on both sides of the border.
Peter was born on February 28, 1872, to James and Ann Meechan, who had left Donegal, Ireland in 1858.
The census of 1891 shows that 19-year-old Peter was living at home with his Gaelic -speaking parents and 15-year-old sister Annie in a two-room house at Stewartfield Row in Broxburn.
He, like his father, listed his occupation as a shale miner and the census also shows the family spelling of their name was indeed Meechan, confirming the family name which has been spelt in many different ways at each of the clubs he played for and by his descendants in Nova Scotia.
Peter showed an early flair for football and quickly made a name for himself on the pitch.
The opening whistle on the reliable right--back’s career sounded on the local parks of his hometown with Broxburn Emmett.
Broxburn was then a thriving mining town and the working men helped fill the starting line-ups of several different clubs dotted around the area — including four senior sides.
Broxburn Shamrock were the most successful local club at the time and had forged an impressive Scottish Cup pedigree, taking cup-holders Hearts all the way in an epic 5-4 sixth-round defeat in December 1891.
But Meechan, who had risen to the role of Shamrock captain, sat the game – played at Shamrock Park, then-located on Pyothall Road in the town – out due to a monetary dispute with his club.
The sports pages of this very newspaper reported the following in December 1891.
“The Scottish Cup holders Hearts had their full team out, while Shamrock were minus their captain Meechan at the back.
“Various rumours were afloat as the cause of the home captains absence from the team.
“Some newspapers attribute it to a dispute with the committee over ‘terms’, while another puts it down to that he was disappointed at the size of a subscription raised for him during the time he was off work.”
It was the first incident of controversy in his fledgling career but it would certainly not be his last, as the annals of history show Meechan was a man unafraid to take a stand for what he believed was right.
Following this incident, Meechan made a short-term switch to another local club — Broxburn FC.
He then moved to Hibs, where his stunning displays earned him a transfer to Sunderland in 1893 where he won the English Division One Championship the following year.
He enjoyed a successful time in the North East, with 50 appearances and one goal.
His debut came against Aston Villa on September 9, 1893, and he scored his solitary Sunderland goal in a 2-0 win over West Brom at Stoney Lane on Boxing Day 1894.
It was while with the Black Cats when Peter enjoyed his second brush of controversy when he was embroiled in a war of words which was again detailed in the pages of the Courier.
A Mr Strachan used the newspapers’ columns to object to Meechan’s name remaining on the local voters list, despite him living across the border in England.
The Sunderland star had an ally in his corner though in a Mr Dodds, who argued that Peter was like a commercial traveller who found it necessary to be away from his home from time to time.
Back to football and Peter returned across the border to Glasgow Celtic in 1895, where he was a member of the side that won the Scottish League Championship in 1896 and the Charity Cup.
He settled well into the Celtic side but his Hoops career ended in controversial fashion after he refused to play a match against Hibs following a player strike in November 1896.
Meechan and two fellow Celtic stars, John Divers and Barney Battles, refused to turn out unless a journalist, who had heavily criticised Celtic following a Glasgow Cup defeat against Rangers the previous week, was removed from the press box.
Initially the whole team refused to play but, in the end, it was Meechan, Battles and Divers who would not back down.
That game, on November 21, 1896, against Rangers, was to be his last with the club as he was banned from ever playing for them again.
The Courier revealed the trio’s fate in an article on December 5, 1896.
“The business committee of Celtic FC met last night to discuss the actions of Meechan, Battles and Divers on Saturday in refusing to play against the Hibs.
“The delinquents were brought in but had no explanation to make, apart from demanding their release from the club.
“This was, of course, refused and they were told to attend a meeting with the SFA when their case would be brought up.
“It was resolved that whatever the action taken by the English and Scottish FA , that the three offenders will never be allowed to play for Glasgow Celtic again.
“The feeling was that nothing less than a 12-month suspension would be sufficient.”
The Courier continued with the story a fortnight later in the Boxing Day edition, when it revealed the Celtic trio were not happy to be left receiving a half -crown pension during their suspension from the team and they reported the players seemed in a ‘sorry plight.’
The tale continued in the next issue, January 2, 1897, when the Courier ran a story under the headline ‘The Celtic Suspends’, revealing one of trio may be offered an olive branch by the club — but unfortunately it was not our Broxburn Bhoy.
“It is believed that the Celtic are contemplating taking back Battles and playing him with Doyle at left-half, thus allowing King to move up to centre position.
“Meechan it is thought will go to Everton and Divers is anxious to share his fortunes with Meechan and may accompany him to Liverpool.
“But Aston Villa are in Glasgow with the avowed purpose of signing the Celtic left winger.”
Meechan did move on to Everton after making 25 appearances for Celtic and scoring one goal.
It wasn’t all bad news for Peter in 1896 though as Peter won a full Scottish cap against Northern Ireland in a 3-3 draw during the Home International Championships at Solitude Ground, Belfast.
Meanwhile, Meechan’s switch to Everton was for the record-breaking sum of £450, but Celtic only received £250 in the deal with Sunderland taking the other £200.
This was because Sunderland still held the player’s English registration, and not because of a sell-on clause as has been reported elsewhere.
On Merseyside, Meechan played 28 times and featured in his first FA Cup final but Everton lost out to Aston Villa at Crystal Palace that day in 1897 — going down 3-2.
The next stop for the West Lothian wonder was the south coast after he penned a deal with a Southampton side then playing in the Southern League.
The deal to take Meechan to Saints was for £200 and he joined an established and successful side packed with internationals and ex-Division One players.
In addition to helping his new side to three successive Southern League championships, Meechan was part of the side who reached the FA Cup Final in 1900.
Southampton were the first southern side to reach the showpiece final in 17 years but once again Meechan found himself at the heart of yet more controversy.
On route to the final, the rampant Saints knocked out three top-flight clubs, including Meechan’s former club, Everton.
But on the day of the game, Meechan, and his Scottish colleagues – including Bob Petrie – were angered by the selection of an out-of-form English forward, Jack Farrell, who had not scored since the previous January, over the free-scoring Roddy McLeod.
The English players wanted their forward in the team and got their way.
But the bitterness between the two camps showed on the field and led to a heavy 4-0 defeat to an unfancied Bury side.
So Meechan was on the move again and he moved to Manchester City in the 1900–01 season, making his City debut in a 2–1 win against Sheffield United.
A year later, he was wearing Barrow colours before his career took him full circle and back to his home town side of Broxburn.
With his football career now behind him, partially because of a dodgy knee, Peter looked to find a better way of life for his family and they upped sticks and emigrated to Canada in 1905, settling in Nova Scotia.
Life across the Atlantic wasn’t all he hoped it would be and his search for work within the football industry in Canada – even the US proved fruitless – and he was forced to go back to mining.
Tragically, Meechan died early at the age of 42 and with his wife, Annie Thompson, expecting their eighth child. Even to this day, his cause of death remains a mystery.
A letter from a great grand-daughter of Peter’s in Canada reveals there are conflicting stories of his passing.
Lynn Munro, of Ontario, Canada, revealed in a letter to Duncan Holley, Southampton FC club historian, that even the family are unsure over the exact cause.
She wrote: “My Aunt Sheila believed he died of an abdominal abscess, which may have been appendicitis.
“But my father told us a story about my great uncle Jim, who was lost in the snow when he was just six years old.
“Peter went out to look for him and ended up with pneumonia, which he never recovered from.
“There is also a story he was suffering from black-lung disease after working in the mines and the pneumonia added to that.”
Peter passed away in Port Morien in June 1915 and he is buried in St Mary’s Cemetery, Nova Scotia.
Article Peter Meehan started his career in the late 1880's with a team called Broxburn Emmett. He then joined the local senior club Broxburn FC and played in their side which lost 2-1 to Hearts in the 1890 2nd XI Scottish Cup final at Easter Road, Edinburgh. Peter then moved to join Broxburn's deadly rivals Broxburn Shamrock. In 1892 he went to Hibs and then in 1893 went south to play for Sunderland for 2 years. In 1894, he was featured in the West Lothian Courier's columns when Mr Strachan (Conservative) objected to him still being on the local voters roll when he lived in England. Mr Dodds (Liberal) though countered that Peter was like a commercial traveller who finds it necessary to be away from his home from time to time. Mr Dodds won the day and presumably secured Peter's election support.
In 1895 Peter joined Celtic and helped them win the 1896 Scottish League Championship and Glasgow Charity Cup. He left Celtic under a cloud though when he and 2 other players refused to turn out in a match for Celtic unless the reporter from the "Scottish Referee" who had been critical of them was banned from the press box. The 3 players were then suspended by Celtic and had their wages cut. Peter then left Celtic early in 1897 for Everton before going to Southampton in August 1898. In April 1900, he was a member of the Southampton side which lost in the FA Cup final at Crystal Palace.
Short spells with Manchester City and Barrow followed before Peter came back home to join Broxburn in 1902. He followed this with a stint at Clyde and then a return to Broxburn Shamrock in 1904 before he emigrated to Cape Breton. Peter's brother James was also secretary of Broxburn Shamrock for a time.
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