August 11, 1977
King Kenny – ready to rule the Kop with pure class.
If you were to tell Kenny Dalglish he now has the football world at his feet, his most natural reaction would be to pass it to a team mate. The 26-years-old Scottish international forward is currently the best all round footballer in Britain, and has a pedigree to prove it.
Known as “King Kenny”, the blonde Glasvegian is a genuine class player, the first football pin-up to come out of Scotland. He could soon rule Anfield’s Kop just as he did the Celtic Park “Jungle.”
Forget Kevin Keegan.
If Keegan is value for money at £500,000 then Bob Paisley could be arrested for fraud by getting Kenny Dalglish for less.
The former Celtic captain has played 47 times for Scotland and has scored 17 goals. This coming season he will undoubtedly shatter Denis Law’s cap record which totals 54.
Kenny was born in Glasgow on March 4, 1951, and was brought up only half a mile from Celtic Park in the city’s East End.
“I didn’t play organised football until I went to primary school,” he says. “But my dad always encouraged me with a ball as a kid.”
It was on leaving primary at the innocent age of 11 that he first made his name in football at representative level.
“I played for the senior secondary and the Boys Brigade,” Kenny recalls. “And then I was picked to play for a Glasgow Under 13 side. After that I turned out for the Under 14’s and Under 15’s.”
This was only the tip of a football iceberg for the shy, unassuming Glasgow boy. Scottish schoolboy caps followed against England and Ireland. “I’ll never forget the first time I pulled a dark blue jersey over my head. My legs were very like jelly. The funny thing is, even now I got quite nervous before as international match,” he says.
On leaving school at 15 Kenny worked for a time as an apprentice joiner. He also played football for a local amateur team called Glasgow United.
“Little did I know at the time, but I was actually moving closer to Celtic Park,” Kenny says.
A game was arranged between United and the Celtic ground staff boys at the club’s training ground – and Kenny’s amateur team won 3-2.
“Jock Stein watched the game and afterwards he asked if I would like to train with Celtic. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance.”
Kenny was then farmed out to Cumberauld, a junior side based in the new town, 11 miles from Glasgow. “It was Celtic’s policy to send young players to this kind of clubs in order to gain experience. Anyway, a year later, at 17, I was called up by the club.”
Kenny Dalglish was officially registered as a Celtic player in 1967, the year the Scottish champions won every trophy in Scotland and completed a spectacular clean-up by lifting the European Cup when they beat Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.
“It’s getting to be a habit playing for teams who have won the European Cup,” joked Kenny.
In his first year with Celtic, Kenny played for the second team. “We won a couple of trophies that year, but the following season I got my first team chance.”
His debut was on November 16, 1968, when Celtic thrashed Raith Rovers 7-0 at Parkhead. Kenny recalls the game as if it took place yesterday: “I didn’t score, but fortunately everything else went O.K.”
That day Bobby Murdoch, one of the Lisbon Lions and later a player for Middlesbrough adopted Dalglish for 90 minutes.
“Bobby talked me through the match. I can remember him telling me to take it easy and play my natural game. After that I had another handful of games … the following season I played around 20 times for the first team … but it wasn’t until season 1971 that I really established myself in the Celtic side.”
It was around this time that the Scottish football public began to sit up and take notice of the new side Jock Stein was moulding at Celtic Park – a tea, that included Lou Macari, David Hay and two teenagers called Kenny Dalglish and Danny McGrain.
Arrangements raged then and still do, about Kenny’s best position. And he adds to the confusion by confessing he doesn’t care where he plays as long as he gets a game.
Kenny Daglish’s magic is that he can score goals and set up chances from the midfield or the front line. He just won’t be tied down, except at home, of course,” he says.
Kenny has been married three years to his childhood sweetheart, Marina, and they have two young children – Kelly (22 months) and Paul (6 months).
(Source: Liverpool Echo. August 11, 1977; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited