Celtic to the core
Someone asked me the other day, to name a Celt who should have been capped and who wasn’t, I instantly thought of George McCluskey.
A player who scored many an important goal for us.
George McCluskey signed for Celtic, in 1974, from Celtic boys club.
George was a talented forward with a lovely first touch, great vision and a thunderous shot, a combination of these talents allowed him to score some truly memorable goals.
He made his debut in October 1975 when he came on as sub and scored as Celtic defeated FC Valur 7-0 in the European Cup Winners Cup at Parkhead and by November he had played against Boavista in Europe and Rangers at Celtic Park and impressed on both occasions
In 1978/79 George really came to the fore and scored a vital goal in the 3-1 win over Rangers at Parkhead on September 9th 1978
He also scored in the 4.2, ten men won the league game, a game in which he terrorised the Rangers defence, the whole evening, given the importance of that match, I feel that was George’s finest moment for Celtic.
A game that will never be forgotten, by those of us who attended that evening.
He, of course, scored the winner in the 1980 Scottish Cup,against Rangers, a goal that was celebrated with great joy by the Celtic fans, but a goal which was too much, for the Rangers fans to cope with.
His goal and the ensuing aftermath was what led to the drastic reforms that brought in a ban to alcohol in the grounds, an impact he never thought he’d ever make on the game to this extent.
George’s best season was the 1981/82 season when he scored 25 times. Nicholas and McGarvey both broke legs and George led the Celtic attack with some style and assumed the responsibility placed on him.
On the last day of the season,In 1982, a win guaranteed the league, for Celtic, again George stepped up and scored two, in a 3.0 victory, to prompt joyous scenes as the fans celebrated a hard earned league triumph. Celtic had narrowly won the title and George was deserving of many plaudits for his part in all this.
The following season, 82/83 George also scored a dramatic late winner in Amsterdam, to give Celtic a 2.1 victory, on the night, and a 4.3 victory on aggregate.
Four never to be forgotten victories, for Celtic, and George scored in them all. No wonder, I have fond memories of George!!!
George should have been rewarded further and was included in the initial 40 man Scotland squad for the 1982 World Cup finals, but he did not make the final cut of 22. He never did win a full Scottish cap.
George scored 54 goals in 145 appearances for Celtic, his last goal came against Morton away in a 3-0 win in March 1983, his last appearance was also against Morton, in May 1983.
George won 4 league winners medals, one Scottish and one League Cup winners medal, when he was at Celtic.
Much to my disappointment and many others, George left, for Leeds, in 1983, it was another classic case of a player feeling, undervalued by the board at that time.
In the autumn of his career in 1993, he helped Kilmarnock (managed by his Celtic teammate and friend Tommy Burns) gain promotion to the top tier from the First Division.
George is still thought very highly of, by the Kilmarnock faithful, for the part he played in their revival.
I had the pleasure of meeting George when he played with Kilmarnock and he was as nice a person as you would wish to meet.
He was clearly still Celtic to the core, spoke happily of his time at Celtic and had many fond memories, in fact my Killie loving pal, asked him who he loved more,Killie or Celtic? now George may have been a Killie player, at that time, but he left my friend in no doubt, in the nicest possible way, that Celtic was his team.
Recently on Twitter, someone asked about Celtic players who should may be a bit more appreciated for what they achieved with/ for Celtic, I nominated George and followed up by saying he was Celtic to the core, non other than Murdo McLeod came on to readily agree with me.
A fine endorsement.
Once again, many thanks to the wonderful Celtic Wiki, whose information, allowed me to pull this article altogether
Todays guest article is by Jimmynotpaul. As usual the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great weekend!