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Ronnie Simpson

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Subject: Celtic F.C., John Fallon (footballer), Bobby Brown (footballer, born 1923), Bobby Murdoch, Jock Stein
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Ronnie Simpson

Ronnie Simpson
Personal information
Full name Ronald Campbell Simpson
Date of birth (1930-10-11)11 October 1930
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death 19 April 2004(2004-04-19) (aged 73)
Place of death Glasgow, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1946–1950 Queens Park 78 (0)
1950–1951 Third Lanark 21 (0)
1951–1960 Newcastle United 262 (0)
1960–1964 Hibernian 123 (0)
1964–1970 Celtic 118 (0)
Total 602 (0)
National team
1948 Great Britain
1953–1957 Scotland B 2 (0)
1967–1968 Scotland 5 (0)
1968 Scottish League XI 1 (0)
Teams managed
1971–1972 Hamilton Academical

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Ronald "Ronnie" Campbell Simpson (11 October 1930 – 19 April 2004) was a Scottish football goalkeeper. He is mainly remembered for his time with Celtic, where he was one of the Lisbon Lions team that won the European Cup in 1967. Earlier in his career, Simpson had won the FA Cup twice with Newcastle United. He also played for Queen's Park, Third Lanark and Hibernian. Simpson represented Great Britain in the 1948 Olympics, but was not selected until 1967 for Scotland. His international debut was the famous 3–2 victory against England at Wembley.


  • Career 1
  • Personal and later life 2
  • Honours 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Simpson started his senior career with amateur club Queen's Park. He was first selected by their first team in 1945, aged just 14 years and 304 days.[1] This made Simpson the youngest person to represent a Scottish league club, although it was an unofficial record due to the suspension of normal competitive football during the Second World War.[1][2] Simpson represented the Scotland Youth side in a match against England Youth played on 25 October 1947 at Belle Vue, Doncaster. He was selected by Matt Busby to play for the Great Britain squad in the 1948 Summer Olympics. Great Britain finished fourth, losing a bronze medal playoff to Denmark.[1] Simpson's performances earned him a trial with Rangers, but they did not sign him.[1]

After completing his National Service, Simpson moved to Third Lanark in 1950.[1] He then joined Newcastle United six months later for a fee of £8,750.[1] He won the FA Cup twice with Newcastle, after taking over as their regular goalkeeper from Jack Fairbrother, in 1952 and 1955.[1] After nine years and almost 300 appearances for Newcastle, Simpson returned to Scotland, with Hibernian, in 1960.[1] His performances helped to save Hibs from relegation in 1962, but Simpson fell out of favour under the management of Jock Stein due to his attitude in training.[1] Hibernian sold Simpson to Celtic in 1964 for £4,000.[1]

Thought to be in the last throes of his career, Celtic signed Simpson as cover for John Fallon.[1] This perception appeared to be confirmed when Jock Stein, who had let Simpson go as Hibernian manager, was appointed Celtic manager later in the 1964–65 season.[1] Simpson became the first choice after Fallon was blamed for a defeat by Rangers in the 1964 Scottish League Cup Final.[1] His sense of humour made Simpson a popular figure in the Celtic team, who nicknamed him "Faither", on account of his relative old age.[1] The highlight of his time at Celtic was winning the 1967 European Cup Final, as part of a clean sweep of trophies in the 1966–67 season.[1] Apart from an early save with his knees from a Sandro Mazzola header, Simpson had little to do during the match.[1] His fancy footwork when dealing with a backpass was one of the highlights.

Simpson continued to enjoy domestic success with Celtic after the European Cup win. In all, he won four league championships, three Scottish League Cups and one Scottish Cup with the club.[1] Simpson suffered a dislocated shoulder in 1969.[1] Trouble with this injury forced him to miss the 1970 European Cup Final and to retire as a player that year.[1]

Simpson also played for the Scotland national football team, making his debut in the famous 3–2 win over 1966 FIFA World Cup winners England at Wembley in 1967.[3] He set a new record for being the oldest player to make his Scotland debut, aged 36 years and 196 days.[1][3] Simpson won five full caps in total, alongside the Youth and B international caps won earlier in his career. He also represented the Scottish League once, in 1968.[4]

Simpson was small in stature for a goalkeeper, at just 5 feet 10 inches.[1] He compensated for this with an unorthodox style of shot-stopping, using his elbows and shoulders to block shots.[1] Simpson also had top-class foot movement and ball distribution skills.[1] In 2002, he was named in Celtic's greatest ever team, ahead of John Thomson and Pat Bonner.

Personal and later life

Simpson's father Jimmy Simpson also played for Scotland,[1] and enjoyed notable success as a centre-half for Rangers and Dundee United in the 1930s.

After Ronnie Simpson retired as a player, he was manager of Hamilton Academical for a year.[1] He also served on the pools panel, which guessed results of postponed matches in periods of exceptionally bad weather.[1] He was also a Conservative Councillor on Edinburgh City Council in the 1970s. Simpson died from a heart attack on 19 April 2004.[5] He was posthumously inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame in November 2011.[6]


Newcastle United


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "Ronnie Simpson". Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group Limited). 22 April 2004. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  2. ^ Paterson, Colin (1 May 2013). "Airdrie coach's pride at Jordan Allan debut". Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser (Scottish & Universal Newspapers). Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "England v Scotland".  
  4. ^ "Ronnie Simpson". (London Hearts Supporters' Club). Retrieved 17 December 2011. 
  5. ^ obituary Lisbon Lion Simpson passes away, The Guardian, 20 April 2004.
  6. ^ Pattullo, Alan (14 November 2011). "Pat Crerand and Terry Butcher among new boys in Hall of Fame".  

External links

  • Ronnie Simpson, Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database
  • Ronnie Simpson at
  • obituary from
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