So just who were the Celtic Class of ‘55? – Last but not least, Ian Reid | OneFootball

So just who were the Celtic Class of ‘55? – Last but not least, Ian Reid

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The Celtic Star

So just who were the Class of ‘55? Part 6 – Ian Reid…

The recent article in The Celtic Star featuring photos provided by Peter Goldie, the oldest known living Celtic player, provoked a lot of interest and discussion. One photo in particular generated quite a few queries. It was a photoshoot taken at the annual pre-season trial match played at Celtic Park on Tuesday, 9 August 1955.

Some of the players, of course, are instantly recognisable as Celtic legends, whilst most of the others are familiar to those who know their history but a few of the faces presented some challenges in terms of identification. Thankfully, Twitter did its job, and within minutes of The Celtic Star publishing the article, @CelticCurio had produced a list of all the surnames in the photograph. This was a huge help as we set about linking names to faces.

Top row: Higgins, Jack, McAlinden, Duffy, Evans, MacKay, Fernie, Meechan, Tully & Auld. Middle row: Sharkey, White [Whyte], Ryan, Craig, Beattie, Docherty, Goldie, Fallon, Boden, Bonnar, Haughney, Conroy, Stein, McCreadie & Mcllroy. Front row: McVittie, Collins, Smith, McPhail, Rowan, Walsh, Reid & Mochan.

Not all of the players in the photo featured in the match, as some were nursing or recovering from injuries. And an obvious absentee from the photoshoot was Bertie Peacock, who was in Belfast representing a Great Britain XI against The Rest of Europe in a match to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the six-county Irish Football Association. There was a report on the match in the following day’s Evening Times which listed the teams as follows:

Green and Whites (Hoops)McCreadie; Haughney & Fallon; Evans, Stein & McPhail;Docherty, Collins, McAlindon, Walsh & Mochan.

White and Greens (Shamrocks)Beattie; Ryan & Meechan; McKay, Jack & Conroy;Craig, McVittie, White, Sharkey & Auld.

The Evening Times report also mentioned that a number of changes to the initial line-ups occurred at half-time – by which time the Hoops were leading 5-0 – as follows.

• Goalkeepers McCreadie and Beattie switched sides.• Docherty and White switched sides.• Goldie replaced Ryan for the Shamrocks.• Duffy replaced Conroy for the Shamrocks.• Rowan replaced Craig for the Shamrocks.• Smith replaced Sharkey for the Shamrocks.

Here at The Celtic Star, we like to acknowledge every Celt who lived the dream and could proudly tell their family and friends “I played for Celtic,” so we thought we’d make sure we had a full cast list to publish. That’s when the fun and the serious research started.

In the first part of this article, we looked at a couple of less familiar names who turned out for the mainly first-team ‘Green and Whites,’ goalkeeper Benny McCreadie (middle row, second from right) and Jimmy ‘Peam’ Docherty (middle row, sixth from left). In Part 2 we mentioned two of those wearing the shamrock kits, David Duffy (back row, fourth from left) and Frank Whyte (middle row, second from left) and in Part 3 it was the turn of Jimmy McIlroy (middle row, extreme right) to go under the microscope. The fourth part covered the career of Matt McVittie (front row, extreme left) and the fifth that man of many clubs, Jimmy Rowan (front row, fourth from right). In the final section of the article, we will discuss the remaining Celt whose name initially had escaped me.

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Seated on the front row, second from right is Ian Reid. John Holt Reid was born in Edinburgh on Tuesday, 22 May 1934, and was a talented inside-forward with Armadale Thistle when he was signed by Celtic on Thursday, 5 March 1953. He would see his new club’s challenge for the League and Cup fade within his first month at Parkhead before witnessing the glory of the Coronation Cup triumph in May.

Ian would get a close-up look at those Coronation Cup stars in the annual public pre-season trial match held at Celtic Park on Tuesday, 4 August 1953, the teams lining up as follows.

‘A’ teamJohn Bonnar; Mike Haughney & Alex Rollo; Bobby Evans, Jock Stein & John McPhail;Bobby Collins, Jimmy Walsh, Neil Mochan, Bertie Peacock & Willie Fernie. ‘B’ teamGeorge Hunter; David or John Duffy & Frank Meechan; Ian Reid, Jimmy McIlroy & John Jack;Jimmy Murphy, Jimmy Rowan, John MacDonald, Charlie Tully & Tommy McMillan.

Neil Mochan scored a hat-trick in a 5-3 win for the ‘A’ team, and Jimmy Walsh and Willie Fernie were also on target. The ‘B’ team goals came from Jimmy Murphy, Jimmy Rowan and a Charlie Tully spot kick, the latter of which apparently drew the loudest roar of the evening.

The first mention I found of Ian playing in a competitive game for Celtic was on Saturday, 29 August 1953, the 19-year-old lining up at right-half for the reserves in a 2-1 away defeat to Berwick Rangers in a Scottish League Division C (North/East) match in the following team.

Andy Bell; Frank Williams & Alex Rollo; Ian Reid, John Jack & Hipsley;Mathie, Jimmy Rowan, Frank Whyte, Mike Conroy & Jimmy Duncan.

Ian would be a regular in the reserve side throughout that season, on occasion turning out on the right wing, as the first team built on the Coronation Cup success by winning a first League and Scottish Cup double in 40 years.

The new season kicked off with the annual pre-season public trial at Celtic Park on Tuesday, 10 August 1954, exactly one year before the original photo which triggered this article was taken. Ian lined up in the following team.

Eamon McMahon; Vincent Ryan & Joe Baillie; Mike Conroy, Alec Boden & Ian Reid;Bobby Collins, Jimmy Rowan, Jimmy McIlroy, Willie Gillies & Jimmy Duncan.

Bobby Collins

Bobby Collins was the star of the show as the reserves beat the first team 3-2, Willie Gillies and Jimmy Rowan on target before Sean Fallon pulled one back. Jimmy McIlroy re-established the two-goal lead with Charlie Tully completing the scoring.

That would be McIlroy’s last game before undergoing an appendectomy the following week. I believe that same side with the exception of John Jack in for Mike Conroy would then beat East Stirlingshire 6-1 at Firs Park in a Scottish League Division C (North/East) match four days later, albeit The Evening Times lists ‘Ryan’ at both right-back and inside-right.

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Ian was back in front of the camera again on Thursday, 28 August 1954, for the formal opening of junior outfit Petershill’s impressive new covered enclosure at their Springburn base, Celtic meeting Rangers just as they had done when the stadium itself had been opened back in 1935. The Celtic team lined up as follows for the photocall, although it’s not certain what the formation was for the game itself, which Celts won 2-1.

Andy Bell; Willie Gillies & Ian Reid; Jimmy Walsh, John Jack & Jimmy Rowan;Peter Goldie, Alec Boden, Vincent Ryan, Eddie Mulvey & Eric Smith.

As understudy to the virtually ever-present Bobby Evans, Ian would have to wait patiently for his first-team opportunity, turning out each week for the reserves in Scottish League Division C (North/East). When he finally received his chance on Saturday, 2 April 1955, it was to replace Jimmy Walsh at inside-right, and the stakes could scarcely have been higher. With four games remaining, Celts trailed League leaders Aberdeen by three points, the Dons hosting third-place Rangers at Pittodrie that afternoon whilst fifth-placed Hibernian travelled through to meet Celtic. The Hoops lined up as follows in front of 31,000 spectators.

John Bonnar; Mike Haughney & Frank Meechan; Bobby Evans, Jock Stein & Bertie Peacock;Bobby Collins, Ian Reid, John McPhail, Neil Mochan & Charlie Tully.

Hibernian fielded three of their revered Famous Five forward-line – the two others on duty for Scotland at Wembley the same day – and it was one of those, Gordon Smith, who opened the scoring midway through the first half to give Hibernian the lead. Ian was involved in much of Celtic’s attacking play, three times testing keeper Tommy Younger with decent efforts before Charlie Tully headed Celts level five minutes from the break.

With Aberdeen a goal to the good at Pittodrie, Celts knew that a win was vital to keep them in with any hope of the title, Ian coming agonisingly close to giving them the lead with a shot which crashed back off Younger’s crossbar.

But the decisive goal of the match went to the visitors with 20 minutes remaining, John Fraser taking advantage of some hesitation between Mike Haughney and John Bonnar to clinch the points, with Smith and Eddie Turnbull both hitting the woodwork in the closing stages. That would end Celtic’s proud unbeaten home record which stretched back two years to a 3-1 defeat by – ironically – Aberdeen. Up at Pittodrie, Paddy Buckley helped himself to a hat-trick as Aberdeen shrugged off the loss of their Scottish international keeper Fred Martin to thrash Rangers 4-0 and virtually seal their first-ever League title, the Dons now five points clear with just three games remaining.

Poor Fred probably wishes he had stayed at home to play there, as a Scotland team unusually featuring no players from either Celtic or Rangers went down heavily by 7-2 to a Stanley Matthews-inspired England at Wembley.

Ian would lose out to a fit-again Willie Fernie for the inside-right berth for the Scottish Cup semi-final replay against Division B outfit Airdrieonians at Hampden 48 hours later, a second-half double from the recently returned John McPhail taking holders Celts through to a second successive final.

There they would meet east-end neighbours Clyde, who shocked Aberdeen at Easter Road to prevent a rematch of the previous season’s Scottish Cup final, thanks to a penalty from future manager Archie Robertson. How that name would come back to haunt Celtic a few weeks later.

There were three changes to the Celtic team which travelled to Dens Park to face Dundee five days later, Saturday, 9 April 1955. Jock Stein, Bobby Collins and Willie Fernie were all deemed unfit, Mike Conroy, Jimmy Walsh and Ian Reid coming back in. At right-half for the Dark Blues was Tommy Gallacher, son of Celtic legend Patsy.

This would prove to be a very special afternoon for Ian, as he scored his only goal for the first team. It arrived just before the half-hour, Ian’s lob catching Dundee keeper Bill Brown unawares for the only goal of the game. It would be a red-letter day also for Aberdeen, who gained revenge for their recent Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Clyde by beating the Bully Wee 1-0 at Shawfield. Archie Glen’s 12th-minute spot kick winner saw the Scottish League championship head to the Granite City for the first time in the Dons’ 52-year history.

The new Scottish champions would travel south to meet Celtic the following Saturday in the penultimate League match, Ian retaining his place in the continued absence of Willie Fernie with Jock Stein and Bobby Collins returning to the fold as 40,000 spectators gave the Dons a warm ovation before kick-off.

The entire Clyde team were in the stand assessing their opponents in the following week’s Scottish Cup final and they would have left impressed after Celtic’s 2-1 win. John McPhail scored either side of the break to establish a two-goal lead with Graham Leggat snatching a late consolation goal for Aberdeen four minutes from the end.

There would be heartbreak for Ian seven days later as he missed out on a Scottish Cup final place due to Willie Fernie’s return from injury. Jimmy Walsh for Neil Mochan was the other change in the Celtic line-up, and it was Walsh who gave cup-holders Celts one hand on the trophy in front of 106,000 spectators when he took a Fernie pass to score seven minutes from half-time.

As the clock ticked towards the 90-minute mark and Celts well on top, fate took a hand, the famous Hampden swirling wind carrying Archie Robertson’s corner kick under the crossbar with John Bonnar unable to prevent it crossing the line. A Tommy Ring goal in the midweek replay would take the cup to Shawfield for the second time, after some strange tinkering in the selection of the Celtic attack handed the advantage to Clyde.

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Ian Reid would play just one more time for Celtic’s first team. That was a League game against early pacesetters Raith Rovers at Celtic Park on Saturday, 1 October 1955, as the world awoke to the news that Hollywood actor and icon James Dean had died in a car crash in California aged just 24.

There were three changes from the side which had drawn 1-1 with Rangers in the Glasgow Cup final at Hampden five days earlier, Mike Haughney, Eric Smith and Neil Mochan all dropping out in favour of Ian, Matt McVittie and Jim Sharkey, the latter making his Celtic debut. It would prove to be an afternoon to remember for all of the incoming trio, Sharkey’s dummy allowing McVittie to score his first goal for the club in the eighth minute, the day after his 18th birthday, before the debutant sealed the 2-0 victory himself with six minutes remaining. Sadly, Ian would remember it as his last match for the senior team, Frank Whyte recalled for the visit to Tynecastle seven days later and becoming the deputy wing-half for the rest of that year.

Ian was next in the headlines on Wednesday, 21 December 1955, The Evening Times reporting that he was being lined up with Jimmy ‘Peam’ Docherty for a loan move to Alloa Athletic, at that point second from bottom of the Second Division.

“Jimmy Docherty and John Reid of Celtic may be transferred on loan to Alloa tonight. Celtic and Alloa have agreed to the changeover, and the players are being interviewed at Celtic Park tonight by Alloa officials. Docherty, who was signed from Duntocher Hibs earlier this year, has already played in the League team. Reid has also been a first-team player on several occasions. He was signed from Armadale Thistle in 1953 as a right-half. Mr James McGrory, the Celtic manager, said this afternoon that “the deal is now entirely up to the players. We will have a conference at Celtic Park tonight, and if they agree to the temporary transfer, they will probably play for Alloa against Morton at Greenock on Saturday.”

Both men did indeed feature at Cappielow on Christmas Eve, as Jerry Kerr’s struggling Wasps earned a point against Morton with a last-minute penalty from centre-half Jock Wilson. Jimmy Rowan was the third young Celtic loanee to make his debut that weekend, included in the Stirling Albion team which drew 0-0 in a First Division clash with Dundee at Annfield. Reid and Docherty were key to Alloa’s recovery in the second half of the campaign which saw them finish in a respectable 13th place in the table, whilst Rowan would be unable to prevent Stirling Albion’s relegation from the top-flight.

Ian Reid is fourth from the left in this brilliant photo from a Celtic warm-up session led by Willie Fernie

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Ian was the only one of the three players not to be released by Celtic at the end of April 1956. He remained at Recreation Park on loan for the new season and he was joined there again by Jimmy Docherty, who signed a permanent deal with Alloa Athletic and would go on to become one of their all-time greats after almost a decade of service before his retiral in 1964. Ian would spend that 1956/57 campaign with the Wasps before being handed a free transfer by Celtic on 30 April 1957.

That would prove not to be the last word in terms of his time at Alloa, but first there was a spell back in the First Division with Airdrieonians. Ian turned out for the club in their pre-season trial and did enough to convince Broomfield manager Willie Steel to secure his signature on 4 August 1957, despite the fact that his national service would impact on his availability until December.

As fate would have it, Airdrieonians kicked off their season against Celtic in the League Cup that weekend, but Ian would not be in the first team who went down 3-2 as the Hoops celebrated the opening of their new covered west terracing and took the first step on the road to their most spectacular success in that tournament to this day, Hampden in the Sun on Saturday, 19 October. Instead, he turned out for the second-string at Broomfield, Ian up against several of the players who had posed alongside him in the photograph taken at the Celtic public trial two years earlier, those players now under the direct guidance of Parkhead reserve team coach Jock Stein.

Reid would again be in the Diamonds reserve side which lost 3-0 to Celtic at Broomfield two weeks later but he would finally get the opportunity to play against the Hoops at senior level on Saturday, 30 November 1957, as the clubs met in a League fixture at Broomfield, Ian a last-minute replacement for full-back Mike Quigley. He was joined in the team for that match by old Parkhead pal Jim Sharkey – signed from Celtic three weeks earlier – and goalkeeper Willie Goldie, who would sign for the Hoops at the end of that season. Goldie would later be involved in one of Bob Kelly’s more bizarre selection decisions, when he was picked up by the team bus whilst on his way to cheer on the Hoops at Broomfield and ended up playing in the match as the chairman was so impressed by his commitment to the cause! Anyway, on that St Andrew’s afternoon, Celts would run out 5-2 winners to move into the top four in the First Division with several games in hand of the leading trio, Hearts, Raith Rovers and Hibernian.

Celtic and Airdrieonians would face each other a further twice that season, the first of those in the opening round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday, 1 February 1958. Ian was not included in the Diamonds team which lost out by the odd goal in seven, having been 4-0 down at one stage, Willie Goldie saving a Neil Mochan penalty. He would again miss out as the sides met at Celtic Park on Saturday, 22 March 1958, as a Bobby Collins hat-trick helped them to a 4-2 win in what would prove to be Sean Fallon’s last game in the Hoops. Ian took part in the reserve clash at Broomfield that afternoon, the Celtic full-backs being an unlikely pairing of Bertie Auld and Neil Mochan!

Ian made a total of 10 League appearances that season, scoring four goals as Airdrieonians avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth, before returning to Jerry Kerr’s Alloa Athletic on 6 June 1958. He would make his second Wasps debut at Gayfield in a 3-1 defeat on Saturday, 9 August 1958, alongside a silky inside-forward called John White, with Denis Gillespie on target. Gillespie would later tie up with manager Kerr at Dundee United, whilst White would sign for Falkirk before August was out and within a year would be a Scotland internationalist with Tottenham Hotspur.  He was tragically killed by a lightning strike on a Middlesex golf course in July 1964, whilst at the peak of his powers, aged just 27.

Information on Ian Reid’s second stint at Alloa is sketchy, but it would appear he left at the end of the 1958/59 season.

Peter Goldie on Ian Reid

“Ian Reid was a right-half who was signed the year before me. I think he also came from the Dundee area. He was a really good player, and his passing was a joy to behold, crisp and accurate.”

Hail Hail,

Matt Corr

David Potter’s new book, Willie Fernie – Putting on the Style is featured in the new edition of the Celtic View which is out now and available from the Celtic Stores. You can also pick up the Willie Fernie book there too or order direct from Celtic Star Books, link below…

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