Former Celtic striker, Joe McBride, died yesterday after suffering a stroke at the weekend. Joe spent only three years at Celtic but was one of the most prolific strikers in the history of a club known for its prolific strikers.
Brought to the club by Jock Stein in 1965 Joe instantly became the star of the team as Celtic went on to win the league for the first time in eight years. The following season, 66-67, would become the focal point of Celtic’s history as McBride scored a phenomenal 37 goals before injury ended his season prior to Christmas. Five months later his team mates took to the field for the European Cup final in Lisbon without their most potent weapon.
Celtic scored twice to win the European Cup but with fans forever wondering what Joe would have been made of the 40 (literally) chances Celtic didn’t convert, if he had played.
Since that season Celtic players have had incredible goal scoring seasons, Charlie Nicholas in 1982-83, Brian McClair in 1986-87 and Henrik Larsson in 2000-01, each time Joe’s achievements in 1966 were our reference point.
I met Joe a few times, on each occasion he was ebullient and charming, but when talk got down to football, he retained his legendary focus.
Our thoughts and prayers to Joe’s family and friends, may he Rest in Peace.