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  • On this day in history: Dixie Deans on the move

    On this day in history: Dixie Deans on the move

    By: Joe Sullivan on 17 Jun, 2019 08:59

  • IT was on this day 43 years ago, June 17, 1976 that Dixie Deans bade farewell to Celtic after scoring 124 goals in 184 games for the Hoops.

    He was on his way down south to join Luton Town after five years as a Celt, during which time he became a fans’ favourite due to his commitment on the pitch and his ruthlessness in front of goal.

    Here we take a look at just some of his goalscoring milestones.


    NOVEMBER 27, 1971

    PARTICK THISTLE 1-5 Celtic

    Just a month after the shock 4-1 defeat to Partick Thistle in the 1971 League Cup final, the Hoops made their way to Firhill on a revenge mission, and in the side for the first time since signing a week after the final was former Motherwell striker, Dixie Deans. By half-time it was 3-1 to the Hoops, with Jimmy Bone pulling one back for the home side after Harry Hood, Jimmy Johnstone and Kenny Dalglish had made it 3-0 by the 23rd minute. There was no further scoring until the 83rd minute when Thistle defender, Hugh Strachan put the ball into his own net and, just three minutes later, Deans scored on his debut from close-range. The new Bhoy would go on to score in each of his first six games, netting eight goals in the process.


    APRIL 24, 1976


    This was the day when Celtic said goodbye to their league challenge that season under stand-in manager, Sean Fallon. The visitors were already 2-0 ahead thanks to Malcolm Robertson scoring from the spot in the 47th minute and then with a diving header in the 58th minute. Just 60 seconds later, Kenny Dalglish was brought down in the box and Dixie Deans scored from the spot. The goal was neither enough to save the game nor Deans’ stay at Celtic Park as his next game was his last in the Hoops. He missed out on playing against Rangers and Ayr United but played in Celtic’s final league match against Hearts at Tynecastle where he limped off early in the second half, to be replaced by Paul Wilson. That summer he moved to Luton Town.


    APRIL 28, 1973


    On the last day of the season, Celtic travelled to Easter Road, as did around 40,000 Hoops fans to swell the crowd to 45,000, knowing that a win would tie up eight-in-a-row. On the same day, Rangers entertained East Fife, hoping for a win for themselves and another for Hibernian through in Edinburgh. The Ibrox side got a 2-0 win but nothing could stop the Celtic juggernaut through in the capital and Dixie Deans scored not once, but twice in the 3-0 league-clinching win. The striker opened the scoring by crashing the ball into the roof of the net from close-range in the 22nd minute. Kenny Dalglish soothed the nerves in the 71st minute and, with 10 minutes to go, Deans headed home the third in the 3-0 win.


    Despite making his debut in the last game of November 1971, Dixie Deans was Celtic’s top scorer that term with 27 goals from his 27 games and the following season he netted 33 times but lost out to Kenny Dalglish, who scored 41 goals. He also hit 33 in 1973/74, and not only did he net the 33 in fewer games than the previous season (44 to 51), he also topped the scoring charts again this year with Dalglish netting 24 times. Deans scored in 12 of his 26 league games that term, including hitting 12 goals in three successive turnouts for him – his famous SIX goals in the 7-0 win over Partick Thistle was followed by four goals and two goals in 6-0 wins over Falkirk and Dunfermline respectively.


    Dixie Deans scored no fewer than SEVEN hat-tricks in the Hoops, with that number being bookended by triples against Hibernian – in cup finals no less! His first came in the Scottish Cup final 6-1 win of 1972 when his hat-trick was the first in a final since Jimmy Quinn did likewise against Rangers in the 3-2 win of the 1904 final. The seventh was in the League Cup final of 1974 when Hibernian’s Joe Harper also scored a hat-trick, but the capital side lost 6-3. To make matters worse for the Hibees, Deans also rattled in a hat-trick against them the previous Saturday in a 5-0 league win. Dumbarton, Partick Thistle (his DOUBLE hat-trick for six), Falkirk and Clydebank were the other sides with Deans creating another piece of history by scoring against the Bankies on Celtic’s first ever Sunday game in 1974.


    Dixie Deans didn’t know he was anywhere near Jimmy McGrory’s eight-goals-in-a-game record when he netted SIX against Partick Thistle in 1973. If he did, he might have been more precise as he missed a few chances that day. Celtic’s greatest ever scorer, McGrory, scored EIGHT against Dunfermline in a 9-0 win in 1928. However, as Deans came off the park, McGrory came down from the stand and was the first in the tunnel to congratulate the scorer, saying: ‘I thought you were going to break my record, Dixie, and you should have!’ Dixie didn’t just take home the match ball that day. It was signed by all the players and coaching staff of both teams – and a certain James McGrory.

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