Get to know Barney Battles


August 13, 1897
Bernard, or, to be more familiar, Barney Battles is a native of Glasgow, and first saw the light in the Springburn district of that city. His parents migrated to Bathgate, and when quite a youth “Barney” joined the Bathgate FC and quickly made a reputation as a dashing and fearless back. The Heart of Midlothian, with their, usual promptitude in spotting latent talent, offered “Barney” a trial in their League team v. Fair City Athletic at Perth, and he shaped so well that they immediately signed him up. His success was instantaneous, and the name and fame of “Barney Battles, of Bathgate,” was soon known throughout the football world.

The Hearts that season were successful in winning the League Championship, but fell rather softly to the St. Bernard in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup, Dundee (who were reckoned their greatest rivals for the Cup) also meeting defeat in the same round at the hands, or rather feet of the Renton. Bathgate soon became the Mecca of the agents of the leading English and Scottish Clubs, and “Barney” was sorely tempted to change his quarters. He ultimately listened to the blarney of the Celtic, for whom he has played many fine games, one of his best being against Dundee at Glasgow, when Celtic overwhelmed them by 11 goals to 0. Battles scoring two of the goals from left half back.

Liverpool made Celtic a splendid offer for Battles’ assistance in the test matches, and he was lent to that Club for six weeks. He quickly jumped into the favour of the Liverpudlians, and did more than his share in securing their inclusion in the First Division of the League. For his efforts he received a special gold medal and a cheque for a handsome sum. He was re-transferred to the Celtic in time to allow of his taking part in the Glasgow Charity Cup ties in the final of which Celtic defeated Rangers by 6 goals to 1, and created a record by winning the Cup five times in succession, and as they had previously won the League championship “Barney” had every reason to congratulate himself.

Last season the Celtic started in promising fashion, and at the end of November held a commanding lead in the League championship, but the regrettable “strike” (in which, by the way, “Barney” took a prominent part) completely extinguished their chance of the championship. On it becoming known that “Barney” had severed his connection with the Celtic the Directors of Dundee FC lost no time in interviewing the burly Celt, and the terms being arranged to their mutual satisfaction he decided to come north at once and settle in Juteopolis. He has already made a host of friends in the city.
(Source: Evening Telegraph: July 13, 1897; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited

Bernard “Barney” Battles
Barney Battles

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