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James Edward "Jimmy" McGrory (26 April 1904, Garngad, Glasgow – 20 October 1982) was a Scottish football player and manager for Celtic who holds the record for most career goals in British football. He is regarded as a legend at Celtic, who he managed for 20 years, and as one of the greatest goalscorers in the history of the game.[1]

Although he was only 5 ft 6 in, he was nicknamed the "Mermaid" for his heading abilities and in his career he scored 550 goals, the highest tally in British football history.[2]

Background

McGrory was born at Millburn Street, Glasgow. He was the son of Henry McGrory and Catherine Coll, both of whom were Irish Catholic immigrants. Henry and Catherine had been married at St. Baithin's Church in St. Johnston, a village in the Laggan district of East Donegal, before emigrating to Scotland. Jimmy's elder brother was born in St. Johnston before the family left for Glasgow. They lived in Glasgow's East End on his father's wages as a gasworks labourer.

When McGrory was 16 he began playing for St. Roch's Juniors for £2 a week. The following year, in 1922, he joined Celtic from St. Roch's, before going on loan to Clydebank for the 1923 - 1924 season. Between 1922 and 1937, he scored 397 league goals for Celtic (as well as 13 while on loan at Clydebank). He played alongside club legends such as John Thomson and Patsy Gallacher under legendary manager Willie Maley.

He was the Scottish league's top goalscorer in 1926/27, 1927/28 and 1935/36. Over the course of his career, he amassed 550 goals in first-class matches, including 410 goals in 408 league games, making him the most prolific scorer in British football history.

Despite McGrory's success, Celtic had to wait a decade after 1926 before again winning the Scottish league championship. After leaving Celtic, he joined Kilmarnock as manager, before returning to manage Celtic in 1945. He held this position for nearly 20 years, before Jock Stein succeeded him in 1965. As Celtic boss, he won the 1953/54 Scottish League Championship, the 1950/51 and 1953/54 Scottish FA Cups, and the 1956/57 and 1957/58 Scottish League Cups.

During his time in charge, Celtic recorded one of their most famous results, a 7–1 thrashing of arch rivals Rangers in the Scottish League Cup final. To this day it remains the greatest margin of victory in the history of cup finals played in either England or Scotland. The game and McGrory are remembered in the supporters' song "Hampden in the Sun". McGrory is also remembered in another popular song amongst the supporters named after his manager, the "Willie Maley Song".

McGrory won 7 caps for the Scotland national football team during his career and he scored 7 goals.

Career Stats

Celtic 1926/27 - 49 goals, 1927/28 - 47 goals, 1935/36 - 50 goals

References

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