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PersonalFull Name: Paul Wilson
Born: 23 November 1950
Birthplace: Bangalore, India
Height: 5' 9"
Signed: 19 December 1967
Left: 20 September 1978 (to Motherwell)
Position: Striker, winger
First game: v Dundee home 5-2 league cup 23 September 1970
Last game :v Dundee United home 1-0 league cup 2 September 1978
First goal : Dundee home 5-2 league cup 23 September 1970
Last goal: Saint Mirren home 2-0 league cup 16 November 1977
International Caps: 1 cap v Spain 1-1 Valencia February 1975
International Goals: 0
BiogQuick and elegant Paul Wilson was a fine player who spent more than a decade with Celtic.
He was born in India to a Irish/Scottish father and Dutch/Portugese mother who were working there at the time, but was brought up in Glasgow, his family having moved back when he was a year old. He signed for the Hoops in December 1967 as a 17-year-old from St Ninian’s High School and the left-sided midfielder was initially farmed out to Maryhill Juniors. He eventually made his Celtic debut in September 1970 when he came off the bench to score in a 5-0 League Cup victory at home to Dundee.
On his game he was a wonderful talent and his pace and ability to beat a man was a joy to watch and he was certainly deserving of the international recognition he received from Scotland in 1975.
Paul made sporadic appearances until August 1973 when he became a first team regular. He scored on the opening league game of the sesaon at East End Park in a 3-2 win and managed to build on that platform. He had a magnificent game in the 1973 League Cup Semi final against Rangers. Celtic won 3-1 in atrocious conditions as Harry Hood scored a hat trick but Wilson was Celtic's best attacker. In February 1974 he scored at Easter Road in a 4-2 win on the day that Celtic killed off Hibs' league hopes in front of an incredible 48,000 crowd. A few weeks later, in March 1974 he scored a tremendous volley in Switzerland against Basle and although Celtic lost 3-2 they would win 6-5 in aggregate.
In 1974/75 Paul had his best season and finished top scorer with 23 goals, ahead of Dalglish and Deans. He created an unusual record in being the only Celtic player to score in four Hampden finals in one season - August - Drybrough Cup Rangers 2-2, October - League Cup Hibs 6-3, May - Scottish Cup Airdrie 3-1, May - Glasgow Cup Rangers 2-2. He showed great courage in the Airdrie final as his Mother had died in the lead up to the final.
On January 4th 1975 he gave a tremendous performance at Ibrox in muddy conditions. Although Celtic lost 3-0, Rangers had scored two late goals to give a misleading scoreline, as Wilson had carved open the Rangers defence on several occasions only for the Celtic strikers, and Dalglish in particular who had a stinker, to waste his good work.
Without Jock Stein's leadership Celtic struggled in 1975/76 but the big man was back in charge in the summer of 1976. On September 4th Paul led a magnificent Celtic fightback at Parkhead against Rangers. With Celtic 0-2 down Paul scored to bring Celts back into the game and with minutes left Parkhead exploded when he scored a magnificent solo effort. Paul was a regular as Celtic won the title, only to lose his place to Alfie Conn after he joined from Spurs in March. He could be notoriously inconsistent but was recalled for the Scottish Cup final on May 7th 1977 as Stein knew he could be relied upon in the heat of an Old Firm game and was a thorn in the flesh of the Rangers defence. Paul did not let him down as Celtic won 1-0 with Paul giving an impressive showing.
He was impressive in Celtic's successful tour of the Far East in the summer of 1977 although this was a false dawn as Celtic slumped to a catastrophic 5th place in the Premier league in the following campaign. Paul was no longer a regular now and when Billy McNeill took over as manager in 1978 Paul was required to move on as McNeill built a side with younger players.
Paul Wilson could on occasion try to over-complicate matters and consistency was a problem and because of this tendency to blow hot or cold he was never the first team fixture his undoubted talent warranted. Possibly showed a likely lack of confidence in himself. Jock Stein believed in him and pushed his career but it just always was below the level he could have reached.
Despite this there is no denying Wilson’s significant contribution to the many Celtic triumphs of the early 70s. Paul Wilson left Celtic for Motherwell in September 1978 after 214 appearances and a respectable 52 goals in the Hoops.
On November 4th 1978 Paul returned to Celtic Park in Motherwell colours. Murdo MacLeod made his Celtic debut that day and before the start of the game Paul ran over to shake Murdo's hand to wish him all the best in his future Celtic career. It was a magnificent gesture from a real Celt. Incidentally Motherwell won 2-1 with Wilson giving a fine display.
He remains a fondly remembered talent for those who saw him in the Hoops.
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Honours with CelticScottish League
His career in his own wordsEarly Celtic Memories
I was brought up in Dennistoun, just around the corner from Parkhead, and my father used to take me along the road to see Celtic play when I was a boy.
It was during the time of the Kelly Babes. That was a young, young team and I can still remember the club chairman, Sir Robert Kelly, getting a real barracking off the fans at one game because they were struggling so badly.
When I was about 11, my family moved to Milngavie and I attended St Ninian's High School in Kirkintilloch. I played school football in the same league as Danny McGrain and Kenny Dalglish.
Danny played for Kingsridge in Drumchapel and I think Kenny played for Milton. Before long, we were going along to Celtic to train on Tuesdays and Thursdays and got to know each other.
We went on to play together in the Glasgow Schools team. Tommy Craig was in that side, too, and we played smashing stuff, going on to win the Scottish Schools Cup.
Signing For Celtic
I left school around 17, in 1966, and went full-time at Parkhead. I went into such a good group of young lads. As well as myself, there were Kenny and Danny, George Connelly, David Hay, John Gorman and Lou Macari.
The club won the European Cup and it was a real struggle for the young boys to break into that team. But our reserve team regularly used to give the top team a right old doing in practice games. The Lisbon Lions were great with us, different class. I can remember nutmegging big Tommy Gemmell twice in training one day. All the older players killed themselves laughing. Celtic was a real family club.
My first game for Celtic came in a European Cup tie at Parkhead against KPV Kokkola in 1970. We won 9-0. I came on when we were six ahead and scored two goals.
Gradually, the Quality Street Kids, as we were known, started to get more involved in the first team. Danny and Kenny both broke into the team before I did.
But big Jock always used to say to me: ''Bide your time. You'll get in.'' He was right
Celtic Versus Rangers
I LOVED playing against Rangers. I thought those were smashing games. John Greig was approaching the end of his career at that time and I used to regularly get the better of him. But Sandy Jardine and I had some epic battles. He was a classy player.
When I first joined Celtic I could do a wee Jimmy. By that I mean beat four or five guys at a time. But I was discouraged from doing that in competitive games by the coaches. Looking back, I would say I was fast and could cross and shoot with both feet.
I actually felt those games against Rangers were the only time Celtic were ever seriously tested. They just flew by - the whistle went for kick-off and before you knew it you were back in the dressing room. Celtic should have been playing opposition of that quality every week.
My mother was Dutch/ Portuguese and my father was Irish/Scottish - I am a real mongrel. After the Second World War, my dad got a job working over in India and that is where he met mum. I was born over there and lived there until I was one. At that time in Glasgow, there were relatively few people like me. I took the sun well.
I suppose I did get quite a hard time because of my colour when I was a player. But it used to upset my mother more than me.
For some reason, I always scored in those matches. But I never once, not once, gestured to the crowd or retaliated. I felt I had made my point on the pitch. I think big Jock respected me for refusing to rise to the abuse. Racism is a terrible part of the game. There are far more coloured players at both Rangers and Celtic now and it still goes on. I suppose you are always going to get one or two halfwits in big crowds.
KENNY Dalglish always made himself available for the ball on the park. And you instinctively knew if you got the ball to him and made a move then he would receive it, shield it and get it back to you. Because I had grown up with him, I was not as much in awe of him as many others could be.
Big Jock stuck me out on the wing because he felt my pace could be useful there. But I absolutely hated it. You missed out on so much of the play. It was only when Kenny left the club to join Liverpool in 1977 that I was played through the middle and improved as a player.
Still, in his final season there, Kenny and I scored a lot of goals between us
Just take a look at the crowds we used to get! Whenever that Celtic team went out on the park we used to think: ''How many are we going to win by?'' It was never: ''This is going to be tough!'' Or: ''It's cold out there.'' It was such a good team. Winning titles and trophies just seemed normal.
I was lucky enough to win one cap for my country. I came on for the last 15 minutes of a European Champ-ionship qualifier against Spain in 1975. The game was tied 1-1 and we needed three points to make it through to the finals. I nearly scored but their keeper just got his hands to my effort. I was as sick as a dog.
But that was one hell of a Scotland team I played in. We had McGrain, Jardine, Dalglish, Joe Jordan, Billy Bremner, Charlie Cooke, Martin Buchan and Gordon McQueen to name a few.
I was so proud to get my one cap. I achieved everything I wanted to in the game.
Cup Final 1975
MY mother passed away the week before the Scottish Cup Final in 1975. I skipped training for a couple of days and then attended her funeral. Big Jock and a few of the players came along and I was very touched they made the effort for me.
But I still went back in to training on the Friday. I said to Jock: ''I would like to play tomorrow.'' I had played well that season and felt I could contribute. Often, it is the best thing to keep yourself occupied after a bereavement like that. Anyway, I was duly selected and managed to score two goals in a 3-1 victory over Airdrie.
I joined the lads to have a celebration drink that night for just five minutes and then made my excuses and left them to it.
It was after that game that Billy McNeill decided to call it a day and hung his boots up. There were a few guys waiting to step into his shoes and Roddy McDonald took over from him in defence.
The week after that final, I scored two goals against Rangers at Hampden in, I think I am right in saying, the final of the Glasgow Cup.
The season before he [Billy McNeill] became manager, I was sent off and suspended towards the end of the campaign. The following pre-season I was left out of all the pre-season training.
It emerged that Billy had a chance to sign the promising winger, Davie Provan, from Kilmarnock.
Billy called me into his office one day and told me the situation: ''Somebody is interested in signing you. We want to sell you. If you don't go I'll make things very hard for you.'' I thought to myself: ''Well, you couldn't make them any bloody harder!''
Roger Hynd, the-then manager of Motherwell, was keen on buying me and so I agreed to go, but I was disappointed. I would have liked to stay at Celtic for another couple of years.
When I was about 29 or 30 my body, after a lifetime of full-time training, told me to give it up and I retired. I was all set to quit football and get my own pub.
I started working at a bar in Bellshill. One day Jimmy Johnstone came in with a representative of Blantyre Celtic. He had started playing for them and persuaded me to go and join them. I played Junior until I was 31.
Paul Wilson : the forgotten pioneerScotland on Sunday
Published Date: 09 October 2011
By ANDREW SMITH
WHEN Scotland face Spain on Tuesday night, it should stir memories for more than Paul Wilson of the February 1975 night in Valencia that brought the then Celtic striker his one and only cap.
The fact it doesn't says a little about this nation's ability to celebrate multiculturalism. Wilson's appearance came as a substitute 75 minutes into an encounter Willie Ormond's side drew 1-1.
The creditable result is sometimes, if not often, recalled. But what has never entered the public consciousness is the momentous nature of Wilson replacing Kenny Burns.
Wilson was born in India to a Dutch-Portuguese mother and a Scottish father. He was, therefore, the only non-white player to be granted senior representation for Scotland in the 20th century.
Even now, he is the only man whose background can be considered genuinely Asian to have been capped by any of the four senior British international sides. Moreover, as the academic tome
'Race', Sport and British Society notes, Wilson's Scotland outing was a full three years before Viv Anderson became the first black player to play for England: "Anderson's selection was heralded as a significant step forward for black representation in football; Wilson's selection for Scotland was ignored," write the authors.
In fairness, it wasn't just outsiders doing the ignoring. Wilson himself, an unassuming but engaging storyteller, has never thought of himself as a flagbearer for ethnic diversity. Equally, the 60-year-old, who lives in Milngavie with his second wife and two daughters and now works for a car parts firm, hasn't much told the tale of a career that required him to stand up to endemic racism that was accepted all too readily. Born in Bangalore, where his RAF-stationed father met his mother, he came to Glasgow as a one-year-old, and never asked his mother, who died in 1975, about her roots. "I know the reason I was called Paul was because there had been a church recently built near to where we lived and I was to be the first name on the christening register," he says.
Wilson says he is Scottish and that his skin tone only marks him out as different when he has taken the sun. But he wasn't sufficiently undifferent to be seen as another face in the crowd. Never was that truer than in Old Firm games, where he regularly excelled. Abuse, only sometimes, obliquely, reported, rained on him from the Rangers fans. But he had prepared for that all his life. "I got it right bad but was strong and able to never react, retaliate or gesture because I had grown up with all this racism. I got so much stick at school and beyond.
I remember going for trials with Glasgow and it would be all that ‘whit are you daein' here?' I got terrible abuse from Rangers supporters - but no other fans - whether we were playing them at Parkhead, Ibrox or Hampden. But Big Jock [Stein] had a soft spot for me because I did the right thing and kept an even temperament, which was how he brought us young players up. Answer them by scoring, he would say. ‘How about if I score two?' I'd say. And I did."
The significance of his first derby brace was that it ensured Celtic shared the 1975 Glasgow Cup with Rangers and meant Wilson became the only Celtic player to score in four Hampden finals in a single season, following strikes in the Scottish Cup, League Cup and Drybrough Cup finales. His feat was accompanied by racist chanting from both supports. The Rangers fans twisted the jingle of a peanut advert that went "Golden Wonder, they're jungle fresh" to "Paul Wilson, he's jungle fresh". There were other songs, which his own fans responded too in a fairly base manner. Wilson recalls: "There would be chants of ‘Wilson's a darkie' and then it would come back ‘Oh, I'd rather be a darkie than a hun'. But I loved playing in that atmosphere and just laughed it off."
Wilson, though he speaks freely on the subject, clearly does not want to be defined by the colour of his skin, but rather on the company he kept. He was a member of the Quality Street gang at Celtic Park, a band of wonderfully talented contemporaries who were fully expected to outstrip the Lisbon Lions. Getting the 57 bus along to the park with Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain, the trio would feature in a reserve side boasting such luminaries as George Connelly, Davie Hay, Lou Macari and John Gorman. "If we had stayed together we would have won the European Cup, but it didn't happen with Lou, John and Davie all leaving pretty early," he says. "Big Jock used to have us play for a £1 against the Lions and we whipped their backsides every time."
In all, Wilson played 212 games and scored 52 goals for Celtic. "I always thought it was more," he says. Described as an elegant player, Stein, whom he "loved to bits", would give him a "bollocking" if he tried to dribble à la Jimmy Johnstone from his hated position on the left-wing. "Only Jimmy was allowed to hold the ball up, beat a man, then turn back and beat him again," he says. "I was ordered to hit the byline and whip the ball over."
Until, that is, he was partnered up front with Dalglish in 1974-75. He outscored his more illustrious partner, bagging 29 goals in all competitions.
"Kenny and I got on great. In fact, I made him," he says with a chuckle. "We had played from schooldays and knew each other's runs and where we would be. I wish I'd played up front before that."
When he was selected for Scotland it was in the presence of such greats as Charlie Cooke and Billy Bremner, and he fondly remembers the captain.
"I smoked like a lum then and I remember Billy plying me with fags and us having a right good blether," he says.
Later than year Wilson would reach another career high but he doesn't remember it as others might. His mother died in the week leading up to the 1975 Scottish Cup final and, despite scoring with two headers in a 3-1 win over Airdrie and winning a penalty that Pat McCluskey insisted on taking, something changed then. He didn't leave Celtic till just after Stein did in 1978. New manager Billy McNeill blocked a move to Newcastle which had been set up by Stein so the club could instead bank a £50,000 transfer fee from Motherwell. He spent a season there, and retired at 29 after a further campaign with Partick Thistle, before he was tempted to play again by a lucrative offer from Blantyre Celtic set up by old mucker Jimmy Johnstone. But he was never quite the same player after 1975. A niggling injury that required cortisone injections didn't help but it was the loss of his mother that caused his enthusiasm to wane.
"I just wasn't as involved as I should have been," he says. "She was ill for a long time and Jock tried to help. I'll never forget how good he was to me then. In fact, he had an instinct for any troubles and said to me ‘wee man, what's bothering you?' When I told him he said ‘you take some of the boys up to Harkins restaurant and get them a meal'. He knew I had three younger brothers to look out for with mum in hospital, and two young sons then. He made that a regular thing and I used to take Kenny. It turned out to be where he met future wife Marina, who was a waitress. My mum was in hospital seven times, she was riddled with cancer, and she said to me ‘seven for heaven'. No, no, I said, but she was right because the seventh time she didn't come out. It put me off after that. I had lost my father three years before and I just got fed up, and stuck in a rut at Celtic."
Wilson's mother asked that her ashes be scattered in Bangalore. Instead, he put them in his father's grave at Hillfoot cemetery. "I just thought that was right for them to be together," he says. "I have never gone back to India and now I don't think I ever will."
08 October 2011 9:56 PM
Source: Scotland On Sunday
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