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Big day for Hoops fans as Mickey is honoured

Moving tribute to Celtic legend

Belfast Celtic Society Chair Pádraig Coyle (left) is joined by Celtic FC Director Brian Wilson and Annette McWilliams, daughter of Mickey Hamill Belfast Celtic Society Chair Pádraig Coyle (left) is joined by Celtic FC Director Brian Wilson and Annette McWilliams, daughter of Mickey Hamill
By Staff Reporter

IN a picture postcard graveyard clinging to the side of the Black Mountain, the memory of Belfast Celtic’s greatest ever player was recalled.

Mickey Hamill, the former Glasgow and Belfast Celtic centre-half, who also played for Manchester United and Manchester City, was commemorated at a joint event between the Belfast Celtic Society and the Celtic Graves Society last Sunday.

In an emotional ceremony, Celtic FC Director Brian Wilson gave the keynote address in which he spoke about the powerful links between the two clubs and the continuing importance of the Irish connections at Celtic.

“It’s a great privilege to represent Celtic at this special event,” he said. “It shows the special affinity between the two cities of Belfast and Glasgow. Celtic FC supports and values the work of the Belfast Celtic Society and the Celtic Graves Society.”

Celtic fans, veteran journalists and relatives of Mickey Hamill, from as far away as Australia, took part in the special gathering.

Terry Dick, son of Glen Daly, the Scottish singer who made the Celtic Song famous worldwide, also spoke on behalf of the Celtic Graves Society.

“We, too, are honoured to be involved in this tribute to the great Mickey Hamill – a Belfast sporting icon and Irish internationalist,” he said. “This affirms the traditional and familial bond between the Celts of Belfast and Glasgow  – united in their support of two very Grand Old Teams.”

Pádraig Coyle, Chairman of the Belfast Celtic Society, thanked all those who attended.

“When Belfast Celtic formed in 1891 it was with the help of a £10 donation from their friends in Glasgow,” he said.  “That connection and friendship remained ever since and has become even stronger. Last year we launched our Celtic Circles trail to mark places of special significance in the club’s history.  For us that was just the beginning of a long process. In the next year we plan to honour other former players in Derry, Ballymoney, and Lurgan.

“Our society would like to thank everyone who attended this event, making it such a special occasion, in particular the Hamill family circle who opened their homes and personal archives for our society to peer into the past.”

After the graveside event, focus switched to the Belfast Celtic Museum at the Park Centre where the 250 fascinating exhibits were scrutinised and enjoyed by the crowd.

Special presentations were made to the Hamill family, most importantly Mickey Hamill’s  daughter Annette McWilliams, and also to Brian Wilson from Celtic FC and the Celtic Graves Society for participating in the event.

Later that same evening, the Scottish travelling party was hosted by local football agent and restaurateur Gerry Carlile at his popular Fáilte restaurant, situated on the Falls Road.

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