Cleland’s Pride …


ON the 75th Anniversary of the landmark victory over the then all-conquering Everton in the 1938 Final of the ‘Empire Exhibition Trophy’, we offer in commemoration, our poetic tribute to that great Celtic team’s right-wing talisman and local Lanarkshire hero:


Cleland! cherish the name …
… your bold son of the harp …
though the pictures may fade,
let the mem’ries stay sharp
of a dashing young hero,
all style and allure,
whose unparalleled feats
in his legend endure.

As an old-fashioned winger
of courage supreme,
none more worthy e’er graced
the dear hoops white and green;
driving force behind
welcome resurgence, long-sought,
young JD stoked the fire
that re-kindled our plot.

As the thirties wore on …
… waning fortunes revived …
to restore dormant pride
our young warrior contrived;
but a gathering storm,
crippling injury, too,
set all Europe ablaze,
a career rent askew.

For security’s sake,
across borders he roamed,
shorn of promised reward
in an ungrateful home.
’Neath the rose and the shamrock,
his cup overflowed;
but his heart never strayed
far beyond London Road.

With the clock ticking down
on Delaney, I’ve heard,
he recalled that Tom Maley
with hoops was interred.
That tale triggered in Jimmy
a fanciful whim –
that some day, maybe someone
do likewise for him …

Copyright 25thMay1967


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