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TURNBULL, McCLAIR, DEANS, O’DONNELL…AND MIGHTY JOE McBRIDE: DIDN’T THEY DO WELL

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DAVID TURNBULL is hoping to emulate the standard set by former Motherwell stars who have quit to join Celtic.

There is a host of names on the list of players who have left the Fir Park outfit to move to Parkhead to see their careers really take off.

Phil O’Donnell was the club’s most expensive buy when Tommy Burns agreed a £1.75million fee to take the energetic midfielder from Well to the Hoops in 1995. He turned out to be an astute acquistion for the Parkhead legend and played his role in the club’s wonderful achievement of winning their first title in a decade during the Wim Jansen season in 1997/98.

READ ALL ABOUT IT…Alex Gordon’s latest Celtic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’.

The powerhouse is one of a few who have made the relatively short journey from Motherwell to the east end of Glasgow to go on the trip of a lifetime.

Master marksmen Brian McClair and Dixie Deans took the same route and, of course, Paul Lambert and Tom Boyd joined the Hoops via Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea after kicking off their careers at Well.

However, one of the most outstanding purchases in the club’s history must be Jock Stein’s first buy for Celtic at £22,5000 back in June 1965 – Joe McBride.

The stocky hitman hammered in 86 goals from 94 appearances and played a major role in the club winning their first title in 12 years in 1965/66 when he teamed up with Stevie Chalmers and Bobby Lennox to terrorise opposing defences.

Author Alex Gordon recalls that momentous season in his latest Celic book, ’50 Flags Plus One’, when the club emerged from an all-too-lengthy spell in the doldrums to once again dominate Scottish football.

Looking at the qualities of McBride, legendary gaffer Stein described him as a model striker, “a man who stuck the ball in the back of the net when he couldn’t think of anything else better to do it”.

All-time top goalscorer Jimmy McGrory added: “I have been asked to name the best Celtic centre-forward I’ve ever seen play and the man I choose may surprise you. He’s Joe McBride.”

The no-nonsense attacker, who had been a journeyman centre-forward with spells at the likes of Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Wolves before his switch to boyhood idols, gave the team a pivotal figure in his first season and he had collected an outstanding 36 goals before injury halted his career in December 1966 which kept him out for a year.

The dramatic 1965/66 campaign is told with insider knowledge by Alex Gordon, veteran of fifteen Celtic books and a former sports editor of the best-selling Sunday Mail, and his latest publication is acclaimed by club legend and Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld as “a truly unique tribute to Celtic”.

* ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’ celebrates the club’s remarkable fifty-one league championships in their glorious history. To order a copy – and get a FREE book, ‘Seville: The Celtic Movement’ – please go to: ‘CELTIC: 50 Flags Plus One’.

 
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