Jock Stein to have full control over Celtic players

Jimmy McGrory is put into a PR post, reports John Rafferty

Then Hibs manager Jock Stein chats with Easter Road club chairman Willie Harrower after a board meeting in March 1964. Picture: TSPL

From The Scotsman, 13 February 1965

JOCK Stein has resigned from his post as manager of the Hibernian Football Club to become manager of Celtic. Sean Fallon, the Celtic coach, is to be his assistant manager and the present manager, Jimmy McGrory, is to be Public Relations Officer. That is the effect of a modernisation of the management side of the Celtic Football Club which was announced yesterday.

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The action started with a midday announcement by Mr W.P. Harrower, chairman of Hibs, of Jock Stein’s 

Mr Harrower and the past chairman, Mr Harry Swan, had no need to elaborate on the loss to the club or on the magnificent job that Jock Stein had done in the ten months that he has been with the club. The record is clear. he took them from utter depression to win the Summer Cup and now to be virtual top of the First Division of the Scottish League. That needs no elaboration.

Mr Harrower spoke of the pleasantness of the parting, regrettable though it was, and that there were no strained relations between the people concerned. It was a very adult operation. Jock Stein had no contract with Hibs and he will have none with Celtic.

In Glasgow in mid-afternoon, Mr Bob Kelly, chairman of the Celtic Football Club, spoke for his board. He spoke of how Celtic were concerned about the whole trend of modern football and of how clubs now had to think more about management. His opinion was that at present managers had too much to do.

He said the club now need a public relations officer and that his duties would be many and varied, stretching from the dissemination of news to investigating the potential and the background of players the club might be interested in.

In appointing Jimmy McGrory to that post they thought that they had the ideal man for there was no better-liked man in the game. He was a well respected world figure. Jimmy McGrory’s appointment was permanent, to last as long as he lived, and that is a wonderful gesture to a great servant who has been with the club, except for one brief break, since he was signed as a player from St Roch’s in 1921. Mr Kelly’s final words were: “No matter where he travels, we are sure he will bring nothing but respect and dignity to the club.”

Mr Kelly said that as soon as his board had decided to make a change, Jock Stein was obviously the man to approach. He had known him as a boy in his own town of Blantyre and knew him with Celtic as a player and a coach.

He had left Celtic because like everybody else, he had to learn his trade, but there had always been an understanding that he would return to 
Celtic. This he has now done.

Sean Fallon has been appointed assistant manager, but any appointments below that level are being left for the new manager, who will be given full control of the Celtic playing strength.

Jock Stein is only Celtic’s fourth manager since the institution of the club in 1888. Willie Maley was manager for 50 years, and then there was a brief spell in which Jimmy McStay served before Jimmy McGrory was 
appointed in 1946.

Jock Stein started as a centre-half with Albion Rovers in 1942, and then was rescued from the depths of non-league football when Celtic unexpectedly signed him. His fortunes have never looked back since that day, but one cannot help thinking that he might have been lost to football had Mr Kelly not remembered him playing about Blantyre, and had the courage to bring him back.

He has since put Dunfermline on their feet, and has done the same with Hibs, and now he takes over Celtic, who are in a much less desperate plight than either of these two clubs. It is a shattering blow for Hibs to lose him, but it is a wonderful stroke of business for Celtic, and nothing more exciting could have been thought up for their supporters.

Hibs now have the tough job of finding a new manager. There are two obvious men in mind, but it would be unfair to speculate for they are managing other clubs. Jock Stein will be hard to replace, but at least the new man is taking over a successful going concern.