Belfast Celtic 1891 - 1949

Neil Lennon Signs - a jersey - for Belfast Celtic

In Ireland this week accepting his UEFA Pro Coaching Licence, current Celtic manager Neil Lennon was greeted by a delegation from the Belfast Celtic Society.

Neil was kept abreast of developments at the Society and was delighted to hear of the opening of the new museum at the Park Centre.

Society Chairman Padraig Coyle spoke with Neil about the Lurgan connections to Belfast Celtic, including the Society President Jimmy Jones and other players like Jackie Denver and legendary mad-cap goalkeeper Hughie Kelly.

Afterwards, Neil accepted some gifts from the Society, including Alex Moore's Almanac, the book chronicling the clubs 1949 US tour, through the eyes of Derry's Lexie Moore, who scored one of the two famous goals that sent then British Champions Scotland homeward to think again!

A Charlie Tully badge and a commemorative badge marking the Scotland victory were also accepted. In return, Lennon graciously signed a Celtic jersey, which was then presented to Padraig Coyle (see photo above). "It was a pleasure to be re-aquainted with Neil Lennon, whom I first met when he was plying his trade as a young footballer under Dario Grady at Crewe Alexandria.

"He remains a gentleman to this day and he was extremely interested in the work of the Belfast Celtic Society in maintaining the memory of the Grand Old Team.

"We agreed to keep him up to date with our activities and wished him the very best of luck for the rest of the season, which we all hope will be trophy-filled."

The UEFA Pro Licence course is a major commitment for coaches, lasting for three years and the Irish Football Association's event at the Wellington Park Hotel, where the licences were conferred, was very well attended.

Along with Lennon, badges were also awarded to his international team mates Gerry Taggart and west Belfast man Jim Magilton, who also expressed his interest in visiting the new museum.

Indeed, he remarked that he was once very close to Belfast Celtic legend Jimmy McAlinden, in his formative years as a footballer, and he also accepted badges as a gift from the Society, who he wished well for the future.

Watch out for coverage of Magilton's visit to the museum on this website in the near future.