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review of tommy mcinally book

Tommy McInally - Celtic’s Bad Bhoy by David W Potter

Black and White Publishing; 256 pages; paperback; £7.99

David Potter’s most recent biography of a player from the distant past focuses on Tommy McInally, who had two spells in the Hoops between 1919-1922 and 1925-1928.

Essentially it’s the study of a player who was as gifted as any at the time and who could have become a true Celtic legend. Instead, despite being hugely popular during his first spell at Celtic Park, he frittered his talent away as a result of a suspect temperament and an attitude to training that made Jackie Dziekanowski look like Paul Lambert.

Potter charts his meteoric rise to stardom and subsequent degeneration, but appears to hold McInally in genuine regard, despite his faults and failings. The book never shirks from presenting the player’s flaws, but the author rarely judges McInally or condemns him too harshly. Like Willy Maley, perhaps, who seems to have had more patience with the player than most others under his charge, indulging McInally’s foibles while taking a harder line with some of his team mates. Comparisons with the likes of Jinky or George Best are apt, even if Tommy never achieved much in the way of medals.

As ever with this author, this is an excellent book, well researched and written by one of the best Celtic historians of our time. He does us a great service by preserving the memory of these great characters from the club’s past and doing so in a style that is vibrant enough to make his reader’s forget that the events he is recounting happened nearly a century ago.

Grandpa Tim will enjoy the social history as well as the memories of a fascinating Celt.