David Provan (footballer, born 1956)

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Davie Provan
Personal information
Full name David Alexander Provan
Date of birth (1956-05-08) 8 May 1956 (age 61)
Place of birth Gourock, Scotland
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Playing position Winger
Youth career
Port Glasgow
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1978 Kilmarnock 120 (9)
1978–1987 Celtic 206 (28)
Total 326 (37)
National team
1976 Scotland u21 1 (0)
1978 Scottish League XI 1 (0)
1979–1982 Scotland 10 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

David "Davie" Alexander Provan (born 8 May 1956) is a Scottish former footballer. During his career he played for Kilmarnock and Celtic. While playing for Celtic Provan won four Scottish Premier League medals, two Scottish Cup and one League Cup. Provan retired in 1987 after he began to suffer from ME.[1]

He earned ten caps and scored one goal for the Scotland national football team and was a non-playing member of their 1982 World Cup squad. Provan also represented the Scottish League.[2] He grew up supporting Rangers and his team mates would joke about this while he played for Celtic.[3]

Since his retirement as a player, Provan has worked in the media as a pundit and co-commentator for Sky Sports. Since the 2012–13 season, he has been one of the main co-commentators on Sky's coverage of the Premier League, Champions League and Scottish Professional Football League. Provan was also a columnist for several years for the Scottish edition of the now defunct News of the World and now currently writes for its sister paper, The Sun.[4]

Playing career[edit]

Provan began his senior career at Kilmarnock in 1974, having signed from junior club Port Glasgow. In his four years at Rugby Park, Provan established himself as one of the most exciting prospects in Scottish football. A 'traditional' winger, Provan's skill and prowess in crossing at pace saw him make 139 appearances at Kilmarnock, scoring 10 goals in total.[5] Provan played an integral part in two of Kilmarnock's three promotion achieving seasons in the 1970s (1973/74, 1975/76), and played at the start of their third, 1978/79.[5] His form for Kilmarnock in the mid 1970s saw him capped at Under 21 level by Scotland in an away match against Czechoslovakia in October 1976.[6]

1978 was a landmark year for Provan with him making an appearance for the Scottish League Select in a match against their Italian counterparts in Verona.[2] The same year, he also shone for Killie in their shock Scottish Cup 4th round replay win over Celtic.[5][7] This was the first time that a club from a lower division had knocked out the holder's of the Scottish Cup.[5]

New Celtic manager, Billy McNeill, swooped for Provan in September 1978. The transfer fee of £120,000 was at the time a record in Scottish football.[8] Provan quickly established himself in McNeill's revamped Celtic side, scoring his first goal against Hibernian at Easter Road on November 18, 1978.[9] In May 1979 Provan clinched his first major winner's medal as Celtic defeated Rangers 4-2 in the famous '10 men win the league' game.[10] That win saw Celtic crowned Scottish Premier Division champions. The following year Provan was voted SPFA Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.[11] Provan was proving to be a huge success at Celtic and his distinctive long curly hair, jersey hanging over his shorts and socks down at his ankles made him - visually alone - a standout figure on the field of play in Scotland.[12]

Provan went on to win a further three League championships with Celtic (1980–81, 1981–82 and 1985–86), along with one Scottish League Cup (1982) and two Scottish Cups (1980 and 1985). The latter Scottish Cup saw Provan write himself into football history, becoming only the third player at that time to score direct from a free kick in a Scottish Cup final.[13] Celtic had been 1-0 down to Dundee United at the time, and following Provan's equaliser went on to win 2-1.[14]

Provan's success at Celtic saw him capped for Scotland 10 times. He made his debut against Belgium in November 1979,[15] scored against Israel in a 3-1 win at Hampden in a World Cup qualifier,[16] and was part of Jock Stein's 22-man squad for the 1982 World Cup in Spain[17] although he did not actually play. Scotland were particularly well-off for tricky wingers in the early 80s, with the likes of John Robertson (Notts Forest), Davie Cooper (Rangers) and Peter Weir (Aberdeen) all providing Provan with stiff opposition for a place in the international side.[18][19][20]

Only twice before in the history of the Scottish Cup,
have goals been scored direct from a free kick.
Is this a bit of history...? It IS!

Archie MacPherson's live commentary of
Davie Provan's goal in the 1985 Scottish Cup Final [13]

The start of season 1985-86 saw Provan in exceptional form for Celtic, resulting in intense media speculation that a recall to the Scotland international side was on the cards. However, Provan had to be substituted during a 3-0 defeat at Ibrox in November due to illness. This turned out to be M.E. - Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - a long-term condition that leaves the sufferer extremely lethargic and unable to perform much in the way of physical activity.[1][21] Provan made several attempts at rehabilitation but eventually made the decision in the summer of 1987 to retire from playing football.[22][23] His last game was coming on as a substitute against Motherwell in January 1986.[24] A testimonial was arranged for Provan, and in November 1987 Celtic played Nottingham Forest in front of 42,000 fans, losing 3-1. Kenny Dalglish made a guest appearance for Celtic, with Provan playing for the first eight minutes.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Provan is married to Fiona and the couple have two daughters, Kelly and Anna.[1]






  1. ^ a b c Bolouri, Yvonne (13 September 2010). "ME ruins lives... I'm glad it's finally being recognised". The Scottish Sun. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Davie Provan - Scotland Football League Record from 26 Apr 1978 to 26 Apr 1978 clubs - Kilmarnock". Londonhearts.com. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  3. ^ McLeod, Keith (12 October 2007). "Rangers Book Sparks Bias Debate". Daily Record. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Whitwell, Laurie (4 February 2014). "Provan was Sky's commentary choice for City vs Chelsea clash, but why did the former Celtic winger get the biggest game of the season?". Mail Online. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "David Provan - Kilmarnock career info". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Scotland U21 Player David Provan Details". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Reynolds, Jim (7 March 1978). "Roy Aitken ordered off as Celtic crash out". The Glasgow Herald. p. 23. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  8. ^ Paul, Ian (19 September 1978). "£120,000 Provan goes to Celtic". The Glasgow Herald. p. 26. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Jacobs, Raymond (20 November 1978). "Faces that tell the tale of two managers". The Glasgow Herald. p. 17. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  10. ^ The Celtic Wiki (Celtic 4 Rangers 2)
  11. ^ 1979–80 in Scottish football#Individual honours
  12. ^ The Bhoy in the Picture: Davie Provan
  13. ^ a b English, Paul (27 April 2012). "Legendary commentator Archie MacPherson: I had a good run but I'd return to commentary tomorrow". Daily Record. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Reynolds, Jim (20 May 1985). "Roy of Celtic marches forward for Cup glory". The Glasgow Herald. p. 17. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  15. ^ "Scotland Player David Alexander Provan, Games Played". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 2013-08-06. 
  16. ^ Reynolds, Jim (29 April 1981). "Scots hopes soar with victory over Israelis". The Glasgow Herald. p. 24. 
  17. ^ Planet World Cup - Scotland's World Cup squad 1982
  18. ^ Scottish FA - John Robertson
  19. ^ Sporting Heroes - Davie Cooper
  20. ^ RedWeb, Legends - Peter Weir
  21. ^ Clark, Graham (30 December 1986). "Look back in anguish". Evening Times. p. 30. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  22. ^ Paul, Ian (2 July 1987). "Mixed feelings as Walker joins up and McClair signs off". The Glasgow Herald. p. 15. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  23. ^ "Davie knew the score...". Evening Times. 2 July 1987. p. 44. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  24. ^ "Provan, Davie". FitbaStats. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  25. ^ Paul, Ian (1 December 1987). "Celtic go down but Provan is the real winner". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 

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