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  • On this day in history: Double cap call for Danny McGrain

    On this day in history: Double cap call for Danny McGrain

    By: Joe Sullivan on 15 Jun, 2019 08:59

  • HOOPS legend, Danny McGrain won two of his 62 Scotland caps on today’s date, firstly on June 15, 1977 when he played in the national side’s 4-2 win over Chile in Santiago, and then in the 1982 World Cup in Spain as the Scots beat New Zealand 5-1.

    His international exploits eventually saw him inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, but Danny missed out on the 1978 World Cup in Argentina due his lengthy ankle injury, ironically, that game against Chile was part a of a South American tour in preparation for the tournament.

    However, he was named in the team of the tournament in 1974 and captained Scotland in Spain 1982. Other Scotland highlights include two games against Brazil, one when he didn’t give Paolo Cesar a kick of the ball at the Maracana and another when he marked the great Jairzinho out of the match.

    The great journalist, Hugh McIlvanney, perhaps summed Danny up when he wrote: “Anybody who saw him at his best had the unmistakeable impression of watching a great player, probably one who had no superior anywhere in the world.”

    Here we take a look at some Celtic snippets from Danny’s wonderful playing days in the Hoops.

    Danny McGrain

    Born: May 1, 1950 in Glasgow.

    Joined: May 13, 1967 from school.

    Left: Freed May 12, 1987, signed for Hamilton Accies, August 18, 1987.


    August 26, 1970, League Cup, Dundee United 2-2 Celtic, Tannadice

    The Hoops already qualified before this League Cup sectional match. The 16,000 crowd saw United take the lead in the 31st minute and Davie Hay equalise with eight minutes left. In the 89th minute, United took the lead again only for Lou Macari to equalise 30 seconds later. The young Danny McGrain replaced Harry Hood in the 65th minute of that match. Just three days later, the fifth consecutive league flag was raised at Celtic Park and McGrain made his first start and home debut. Bobby Lennox scored in each half for a 2-0 win over Morton watched by 35,000. There were seven players that day that had, or would go on to make more than 300 starts for Celtic. One of them was in the blue and white hoops of Morton; at the age of 39, Bobby Collins was still playing. Danny McGrain wasn’t even born when Bobby played his first Celtic game.


    Danny Bhoy just rolls off the tongue – so much so that his 1987 biography, In Sunshine And In Shadow, paraphrased a line from the Irish lament. There is one other nickname due to the fact that Danny is one of the few Celtic players to take to the field in a beard. The facial furniture first appeared in 1977 and it’s been there ever since. Although there was a fear that it would have to disappear in 1979 when Celtic drew Partizan Tirana in the European Cup and there were rumours that Albania didn’t allow men with beards to cross their border. McGrain and his beard survived that close shave, though, and the Celts went through 4-1 on aggregate although they lost 1-0 in Tirana. However, Danny is probably glad that his bearded nickname of Barabbas never caught on.


    May 3, 1986, League, St Mirren 0-5 Celtic, Love Street

    It has gone down as one of the greatest events in Celtic history, a day when the impossible happened. In 1986 Celtic travelled through to play St Mirren in the final game of the season in hope rather than in anticipation, with Hearts expected to clinch the championship that same day in Dundee. All the Edinburgh club needed was a draw, while Celtic required an emphatic win and a miracle at Dens Park - what ensued was a sudden, almost unbelievable, turnaround. Of the 663 matches that the great Danny McGrain played in the Hoops it is this one that’s ingrained on his consciousness, and the 17,757 saw him play a major part in the 5-0 win, while Albert Kidd scored twice in Dundee’s 2-0 win over Hearts.


    May 3, 1986, League, St Mirren 0-5 Celtic, Love Street

    We make no excuses for mentioning this game twice. Danny McGrain’s first and last appearances for Celtic both featured on the front page of the Celtic View’s former newspaper format. The first was after making the breakthrough as a 20-year-old and the last after playing his part in the aforementioned magnificent 5-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley when Dundee’s 2-0 defeat of Hearts at Dens Park also helped win the title in the most dramatic of circumstances. He also played a central role in Celtic’s stunning third goal that day, starting the move on the edge of his own penalty area, which ended with the ball in the back of the St Mirren net. Danny McGrain’s first league appearance heralded the raising of a flag and his last on May 3, 1986 delivered one. It was a fitting curtain call on the remarkable career of an extraordinary player, during which Danny won six titles, five Scottish Cups and two League Cups.

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