Member Login



Not yet registered?
Register here

Forgotten Password?

Famous Scots - James E. Mcgrory

celtic football club

Born in 1904 Jimmy McGrory was just seventeen when he signed for the bhoys from St Roch's. Ten pounds secured fifteen years of joy for Celtic fans. And you thought Larsson was a bargain? However, his Celtic career took a wee while to get going. His debut came in a 1-0 defeat against Third Lanark and his first goal came in a 4-3 defeat away to Kilmarnockon February the third. Jimmy only managed one more appearance that season before being farmed out to Clydebankfor season 1923/24.

The Clydebankmanager was former Celt Dun Hay and he obviously saw something in the short, stocky lad that others had missed. McGrory scored thirteen goals for Clydebankincluding one against Celtic at Paradise. The loan move had done wonders for the bhoy's confidence and he can back to Celtic a different player.

And what a player he was - fearless in the challenge, he would dive to head a cross regardless of the personal danger involved. His understanding of the forward's role was instinctive - he knew where to go and when to make the telling run. His anticipation was legendary, as was his committed approach - he's chase every ball and harass every defender. He had no understanding of the concept of the lost cause. For a small man his heading ability was outstanding. He could hang in the air, his neck muscles straining like a bull's, just long enough to connect with the ball. And when the ball connected with his head (known as "the golden crust"), he scored.

In his fifteen years at the club Jimmy was top scorer for twelve of them. He was an unstoppable goal machine. The stories of his ability are plentiful - an eight goal haul in one match against Dunfermlinein 1928 led to Arsenal trying to tempt him to London. Jimmy was having none of it. In 1933 he scored the only goal of that year's Cup final despite suffering two broken teeth early in the game. In 1936 he scored a hat trick in three minutes. Had it been around in those days he'd have won the golden shoe twice  (forty-nine league goals in 1926/27 and fifty league goals in 1935/36 -including seven hatricks ).

Despite his prowess Jimmy McGrory collected few honours in his playing days. Two League championships (1926 and 1936), and four Scottish Cups (1925, 1931, 1933, 1937 ) are a poor reward for such a talent. Like many greats (McStay and Evans to name but two) Jimmy was cursed to play in an era when the 'tic just didn't click.

However, his talent should surely have allowed him to accumulate more than the pitiful seven caps the Scottish Football Association chose to honour him with. Despite scoring two against the Auld Enemy at Hampden on April 1st, 1933Jimmy was mysteriously overlooked all too often. The April fools in the SFA lend weight to the feeling that Celtic players were hard done by when it came to international honours. It's a feeling that has persisted to this day although there have been few cases as obvious as that of McGrory.

Finally time caught up with Jimmy and his final match for the bhoys was a 4-3 win against Queen's Park at Paradiseon the 16th of October, 1937. Jimmy finished with a flourish as he got his name on the scoresheet one more time. He moved into management with Kilmarnockand showed himself to be more than capable. The second world war saw him leave this post and in 1945 he returned to his spiritual home, replacing Jimmy McStay as the third manager of Celtic.

It was a position he was to hold for the next twenty years. In an era when Robert Kelly ran the club it is hard to establish exactly how well Jimmy coped with management of his beloved Celtic. What is true is that under his stewardship the club recorded one of it's finest hours - "Seven past Niven" was the cry as the Celts lifted the League Cup in 1957. To this he added another league cup (1958), two Scottish Cups (1951, 1954), the St Mungo Cup (1951), The Coronation Cup (1953) and one League Championship (1954).

It was a decent enough record but it was clear that by the nineteen sixties something new was needed. Jimmy was considered to by just too nice a man to succeed in this new era. He was modest, respectable, sporting and decent. He found it hard to adapt to the world of the swinging sixties. It was time for a change. In 1965 Jimmy stepped down as manager. His replacement was a certain Jock Stein. The rest is history. McGrory didn't leave the club he loved - instead he became the club's official Public Relations Officer. He held his post until near his death in 1982.

James Edward McGrory is the greatest attacker our club ever had. It's a bit of a statement to make but it's one that nobody can argue with. Not even the living legend that is Henrik. With five hundred and fifity goals in his Celtic career (a British record) it's a safe bet that Jimmy McGrory will always be the club's top scorer.

The English language doesn't have a word big enough to pay tribute to the man who scored four hundred and ten goals in four hundred and eight games. "Great" isn't enough. "Legend" doesn't tell the whole story. And "genius" is too flashy for such a modest man. "The Greatest Celt"? Mibbes aye.

Headstone Photograph

Further Information

Firstname: JAMES E.


Date of Death: 20th Oct 1982

Age at Death: 78

Cemetery: Dalbeth

  St Peters

  London Road

Town: Glasgow

Region: Glasgow and Clyde Valley

Country: Scotland


Please Note, the marker on this map indicates the Cemetery location, not the location of a particular grave. is a privately owned website with no affiliation to any Local Councils.