A Celtic fan plucked from the crowd and thrust into the starting line-up of his beloved club, Willie Goldie must have been on cloud nine when this happened to him. However, the reality was much different, as Retro Football Blog explains…
To use a football cliché, Willie Goldie's Celtic debut is the stuff dreams are made of.
A Celtic supporter, the goalkeeper had been signed as cover for John Fallon in August 1960, and was travelling as a fan to watch the Hoops in action at Airdrie – the team he had just left – on 1 October 1960.
Celtic's first team, meanwhile, winless in their first four league games of the 60/61 campaign, were travelling on the bus and, as they made their way to Broomfield Park, some of the players spotted Goldie en route with his Celtic scarf wrapped around his neck.
This was brought to the attention of chairman Robert Kelly, who was travelling with the team and he was so impressed with the level of commitment he thought Goldie was showing that he ordered the bus to pull over and summoned the player on board.
At this point, as far as Goldie was concerned, he had a day off and was simply getting a lift to the ground following a late night out with his wife.
So it was quite a shock when he found out Kelly had instructed manager Jimmy McGrory to start him.
It should be pointed out that back then, although McGrory was the manager, Kelly was the one in charge. It was common for bigwigs like him to meddle in team affairs and make decisions you would nowadays associate with that of the manager.
"I think every club was like that," former Celt Paddy Crerand explains in Kevin McCarra's book, Celtic: A Biography in Nine Lives. "Matt Busby must have been one of the first when [in 1945] he became manager of Manchester United, to have the strength to control the club."
At Celtic Park, Kelly was the boss and McGrory was merely a figurehead.
Fallon, who was due to play in goal for Celtic that day, spoke of the bewilderment that greeted him on his return to the changing room following an inspection of the pitch and goalmouths.
“There, to my astonishment, I saw my boots had been removed from the place where the goalkeeper’s jersey was, and discovered that Willie Goldie, who had set out for this game as a supporter, was going to play instead,” he wrote in his autobiography.
Airdrie won 2-0 and both first-half goals have been attributed in a variety of places to goalkeeper errors.
Former midfielder Bertie Auld probably best summed the whole farce up. "This was Celtic in 1960 and you came to expect the unexpected," he said. "Anything could happen. And often did."
Goldie never played for the team again after that and as for Kelly making decisions, that all changed with the arrival of Jock Stein as boss in 1965.
This first appeared on retrofootballblog.com