Legendary former Celtic and Falkirk striker 'The Mighty Atom' Patsy Gallacher enters Scottish Football Hall of Fame

Patsy Gallacher, the former Falkirk, Brooklyn Hibernian and Celtic striker was inducted to the annals of Scottish football history last night at the annual Hampden Hall of Fame dinner.

By Michael White
Monday, 28th October 2019, 12:35 am
Patsy Gallacher weighed just nine stone.
Patsy Gallacher weighed just nine stone.

He joins others with a Falkirk connection among the 116 of the game's greats - Sir Alex Ferguson, John White, Willie Ormond, Jimmy Delaney, Mo Johnston, Craig Brown and Bobby Brown. The entire McCrae’s Battalion regimental team were also inducted, and they included Falkirk players.

Gallacher came to Falkirk in his twilight years and he enjoyed an Indian Summer to a glittering career in the navy blue of Falkirk.

Patsy Gallagher was one of the most gifted and talented players ever seen in the Scottish game, and it is a great shame that there is virtually no film footage of his achievements. Grandson Kevin Gallacher, of Scotland, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle fame, collected the award on his behalf and lamented the lack of footage too.

He famously somersaulted over the line with the ball wedged iun his feet while playing for Celtic.

The slightly- built Irishman who was his grandfather moved to Clydebank with his family after his early years in County Donegal, and the family changed the spelling of their surname to Gallacher.

He looked nothing like a football player, standing at 5ft.6ins. and weighing a mere nine stones. He was however a superb gymnast, capable of unbelievable trickery and skills and was a born entertainer. He had signed for Celtic in 1911 and went on to win a glittering array of prizes and honours. He played in the Celtic Scottish Cup-winning sides of 1912 and

1914, scoring in the 2-0 win over Clyde in 1912.He won further cup medals in 1923 and 1925.

The honours continued to come, and he won seven Championship medals, four Glasgow Cup medals and eleven Glasgow Charity Cup medals (when the latter two were prestigious competitions). In total, Patsy played 464 times for Celtic and scored 192 goals.

His image hangs in The Falkirk Stadium corridors.

International honours were gained on fifteen occasions for Ireland and once for the fledgling Irish Free State. He played on despite a serious knee injury he sustained in 1919 and managed to confound all the critics who thought his best days were behind him.

There were suggestions that Celtic wanted him off their wage bill as he was earning more than their big stars like Jimmy McGrory, and he signed for Falkirk in October 1926 for a fee of £1,500.

It was an absolute steal and he played on for six seasons, showing glimpses of the amazing skills that had earned him such a following at Parkhead. He won further honours as a

Bairn, playing against Scotland in 1927. He was so highly respected within the game that he was invited as a guest player on the Scotland tour of North America in 1927.

Few reels of film footage of the player exist.

The Bairns could have taken him to another Scottish Cup win in 1927. An Ibrox crowd of 73,000 saw Celtic end the dream with a narrow 1-0 win. On January 4, 1932 Patsy Gallacher was afforded a Testimonial Match and a crowd of 5,000 saw a Celtic/Falkirk Select beat a Scottish League XI by an amazing score of 10-7. It was the first time such a representative side had been sanctioned by the football authorities.

Outside of football, Patsy did not have an easy life. He had been apprenticed in the famous John Brown Shipyard before joining Celtic and returned there during the First World War. He also became a publican in Renfrew, and from 1925 he ran the International Bar in Clydebank and concentrated on the licensed trade after retiring from playing professional football at the age of 41.

His wife had died in 1929 and Patsy had to raise their six children on his own. Two of his sons, Tommy and Willie became footballers as did his grandsons Brian and Kevin.

Patsy died on the June 17, 1953 aged 62. He is buried in Arkleston Cemetery on the outskirts of Paisley.

His induction was announced by Lisbon Lion Jim Craig, and collected on behalf of the family, by Kevin Gallacher.

Other inductees with a Falkirk link included Tommy McLean and Colin Stein, who have both lived in the area recently. Paul Sturrock, Joe Harper, John Robertson were also placed in the Hall of Fame last night.