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celtic cult heroes book

Celtic’s Cult Heroes by David Potter; Know The Score Books; 203 pages illustrated throughout (b/w); £16.99 hardback

An author with a proven track record of writing quality books on Celtic’s history and an interesting title. A chance, perhaps, to examine the contribution to the club of some of the less well-known characters that have passed through Parkhead’s Gates over the years to become ‘cult heroes’.

That said, I thought that many of the players chosen by Potter were simply ‘heroes’, and not necessarily of the cult variety. Henrik Larsson? Universally adored I would have thought. Ditto Jock Stein, Jimmy McGrory, Jimmy Johnstone and a few others.

Shuggie Edvaldsson... Now there was a cult hero. At least, he was to me, even if I was a cult of one at the time.

The book is part of a series which includes other clubs’ cult heroes and to my uninformed eye it looks as if it might have been a commission on the part of Know The Score Books. Each of the 20 players chosen gets exactly ten pages, for instance, so it appears a wee bit formulaic.

Nonetheless, although some of the modern chapters will be familiar, there is enough material about the old timers to make this a worthwhile book to dip into. The strongest chapters, for me, were those about Peter Wilson, Malcolm MacDonald and Tommy McInally. Unlike McGrory, Jimmy Quinn and Dan Doyle, they haven’t been the subjects of full-length biographies, although some of the tales about them are epic.

And there is the problem: most of the subjects have either had the full treatment or are deserving of such. A ten page chapter inevitably seems a bit thin in most cases, even if the chapters are as well written as these.

Of more interest to those with a casual acquaintance with Celtic or those in need of an introduction to some of the club’s most enduring characters than dedicated history nerds but a good read nonetheless.