A Slimmer Denzel Washington … @cheyshakurr

I was on twitter recently and commented on a post by a @cheyshakurr, she’d posted a pic of her grandfather Gil Heron when he played football for Glasgow Celtic.

I’d commented that he was a handsome man and reminded me of a slimmer Denzel Washington. 

Gil was the first black professional player to play in Scotland and the first to play for Celtic signing on 18 August 1951 and scoring on his debut, but only playing in 5 games before being released the following year, He played centre-fotrward and was known as The Black Flash due to his pace.

Gil is the father of the bluesoligist Gil Scott Heron, who’s most well known song The Bottle was frequently played in the jazz-funk clubs I went to as a kid in early 80s Glasgow .. that was when I could get in!

Last night, I was at my dads, watching Man United in the Champions League, the gulf between them and my team Celtic is vast these days, 10 years ago we could compete or at least hold our own, but we’ve went backwards, lack of investment and the investment that has been made has been poorly spent.

We were chatting during the game and I was asking my dad if he could remember Gil Heron, to my surprise dad said that he had met him personally.. 

Dad, aged 16, was a prefect in Saint Anthony’s Boys Guild in Govan, he played football for the school and they occasionally had visits from Celtic players or management. 

On the day in question, dad was was training at the Saint Ants pitch when there was a visit from Celtic players Sean Fallon, Joe Bailey and the new signing Gil Heron. 

Gil had recently scored on his debut for Celtic in a 2-0 win against Morton in the Scottish Cup. 

Sean was the Celtic goalkeeper in 1951 when Celtic won The Scottish Cup and went on to become Jock Steins right hand man, Stein of course was the manager when Celtic won the European Cup in 1967. 

The visitors joined my dad and his team on the pitch for a brief kick-about, then dad and the rest of the boys guild then went down to St Anthonys church halls and were given a talk by all three footballers.   

Gil was a bright funny man and happy to meet everyone, my dad was telling me that he did impressions and a particularly good Humphrey Bogart.

As the Celtic players left, he shook my dads hand.      

Small stuff, but I like it and my dad remembers it as if it was yesterday.

 Thought I’d share and pass on to @cheyshakur 

More on Gil here. 


And heres his son Gil Scott Heron playing The Bottle.  Love that song and it’s social message. 

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