Former Celtic and Scotland player Jim Brogan, who had been suffering from dementia in recent years, died yesterday at the age of 74.
His older brother, Frank, was already on the books at Parkhead when Jim was signed by then manager Jimmy McGrory from St Rochs in 1963 and they made two appearances together for the first team before Frank, a striker, moved to Ipswich Town.
Jim’s breakthrough came at the age of 19 when he and Frank were selected to start in a 1-0 defeat by Falkirk at Brockville.
He would go on to spend 12 years in and out of the first team, not establishing himself as a regular choice until the 1968/69 campaign. His perseverance was rewarded; he made 341 appearances for Celtic, winning seven Scottish titles, four Scottish Cups and three League Cups as well as appearing in a European final.
His versatility both helped and hindered his progress. He could play at full-back, in the centre of defence or in midfield with equal facility and he was able to back up his skill with an aggressive approach which made him a favourite with the fans.
It says much for him that he would go on to replace not one but two Lisbon Lions. Initially, he took the place of sweeper John Clark and then, once the late Tommy Gemmell fell out of favour in 1971, he became the club’s first-choice left-back.
That same year he won all four of his Scotland caps, making his debut against Eusebio in a 2-0 defeat by Portugal and also playing in the 3-1 loss to England at Wembley, a game he competed in spite of suffering a hairline fracture of the leg. It proved to be his annus mirabilis as he was also voted the runner-up to Aberdeen’s Martin Buchan as Player of the Year by the Scottish Football Writers’ Association while Celtic won the league and Scottish Cup double.
The previous season also provided Brogan with his biggest disappointment when, having nullified the threat of Leeds United’s Allan Clarke and Mick Jones in the semi-final of the European Cup, he was part of Jock Stein’s side which lost 2-1 to Feyenoord after extra-time in the final at the San Siro Stadium in Milan.
Unfortunately, he sustained an injury during the first minute of that match but, having missed out in Lisbon three years earlier, he was determined to play on and did so for the full two hours, although his effectiveness was reduced.
Brogan scored just nine times for Celtic, with his most memorable goal being the header from Harry Hood’s cross for a last-minute winner over Rangers at Parkhead in January, 1972.
He lost his place to Andy Lynch in 1975, the year in which Rangers prevented Celtic from winning a tenth successive title, and was released that summer, although not before Stein allowed him to captain the side in his final appearance, a 2-2 draw against Rangers in the Glasgow Cup final in front of 70,000 supporters.
Brogan tried his luck in England with Coventry City before returning home in 1976 to end his career with Ayr United. He retired in 1978, establishing Jim Brogan Enterprises and becoming a millionaire with a number of public houses in Glasgow and the Falkirk area.
However, he suffered from dementia since the early Noughties, a condition his family believe was caused by repeatedly heading the ball during his playing career.
Former team-mate Jim Craig, pictured inset, part of the European Cup-winning team in 1967, paid tribute to him last night.
“Jim was a very good player but it was 1968/69 before he became a mainstay alongside Billy McNeill,” he said. “He was one of the most enthusiastic players I ever lined up alongside and he had a mouth on him, which you needed to have in order to survive in our dressing room.
“Jim could hold his own in any argument and he was a real talent. I can only extend my best wishes to his family.”