Celtic supporters were sad to learn the news at the weekend that ex Celtic Davie Cattanach has passed away.
Davie signed for Celtic as a 17 year old in 1963 and was at the club for nine years. Despite not holding down a regular first team place he was an essential squad player whose versatility was put to good effect as he was capable of playing at full back, centre back, and in midfield. Although he did not play in a great deal of games it should be borne in mind that Davie played for Celtic at a time when the Celts could have realistically taken on any team in world football and be expected to win. To even be a squad player at Parkhead, you had to be of an exceptional standard.
That high standard of player was also reflected in the reserve team of the mid to late 1960’s when Davie, as one of the more experienced players in the side, was often the captain. That reserve side is famed for producing the likes of Hay, Macari, Connelly, Dalglish, and McGrain and Davie was said to be great influence and example to these boys as they were making their way in the game.
Davie had a very aggressive playing style and was a great competitor. Whilst researching the Kenny of the Celtic book, an ex-Celtic player regaled me the following story. Kenny Dalglish was a very young and slightly built inside forward at the time and one night during a reserve fixture, a more experienced opponent left Kenny on the ground after taking a liberty with a bad tackle. He then proceeded to shout in his direction, ‘That’s how ye tackle, ya Fenian b*****d.’ At the first opportunity Davie sought retribution on Kenny’s behalf by leaving the said offender lying in a heap in pain after a tackle of his own whilst leaning over his opponent and telling him, ‘That’s how Fenian b******s tackle!’
In 2013 I had the pleasure of attending Paul John Dykes’ book launch of The Quality Street Gang, a book which detailed the careers of the young players at the club during the Stein era, Davie included. He spoke at the event, smartly dressed and with a distinctive mop of thick white hair. He described how Celtic had three teams at one point, full team, the reserve team and a third team which played in the combined league. He told of how no matter what level you played at how it was imbued into each player how privileged they were to pull on a Celtic jersey. He gave an emotional account of his own memories and also recollections of his team mates from that era. For those of us who still retain the old fashioned values of being a Celtic player above monetary gain, it was delightful to hear
At his peak, Davie Cattanach could have walked into virtually any team in Scotland in the late 1960’s but was totally devoted to Celtic. He may not be one of the more well remembered players of the Stein years but those Celtic fans who supported the club in those days will testify to the small, but important, role he played within the club.
May eternal light shine upon him and may he rest in peace.