John Kennedy (Scottish footballer)

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John Kennedy
John Kennedy (Scottish footballer).jpg
Kennedy playing for Celtic
Personal information
Full name John Kennedy[1]
Date of birth (1983-08-18) 18 August 1983 (age 33)
Place of birth Bellshill, Scotland
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Centre back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1999–2009 Celtic 28 (1)
2008 Norwich City (loan) 16 (2)
Total 44 (3)
National team
2002–2004 Scotland U-21s 15 (1)
2004 Scotland 1 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

John Kennedy (born 18 August 1983) is a Scottish professional football player and coach. He played as a centre back for Celtic and Norwich City. Kennedy was also a Scotland international, but he suffered a horrific knee injury on his international debut in March 2004. He retired on 13 November 2009 having failed to fully recover, and now works for Celtic as a first team coach.

Club career[edit]


Kennedy is the grandson of Celtic and Manchester United player Jimmy Delaney, but he is not related to John Kennedy, a midfielder who played for Celtic in the 1960s. He came through Celtic's youth system and signed his first professional contract on the same day as fellow defender Stephen McManus. He made his first-team debut aged 16 during the 1999–00 season.[2] In the 2003–04 season, he had a run in the Celtic starting eleven and came under scrutiny from scouts of AC Milan who contacted Celtic about making a move.[3] It was during this season that Kennedy scored his only goal for Celtic, against Dundee in the SPL.[4]

Kennedy received high praise for his performance in a 0–0 draw with Barcelona in a UEFA Cup last-16 clash at the Camp Nou in March 2004.[5][6] He was rewarded with his first Scotland call-up for a friendly against Romania on 31 March 2004. Just 14 minutes into the match, Kennedy sustained a serious injury after a "late challenge" on him by Ionel Ganea, which ruled him out of action for almost three years.[7][2] Kennedy required several operations by Richard Steadman[8] before he could even attempt a comeback.[9] Following his injury, the SFA compensated Celtic with respect to Kennedy's wages, as it had been suffered while he was playing in an international match.[2][10]

Kennedy finally resumed training in late 2006, and was an unused substitute for Celtic's Champions League match against A.C. Milan on 20 February 2007. He played his first competitive match since the injury on 22 April 2007, when Celtic clinched the SPL championship by winning 2–1 against Kilmarnock.[11] Four days later, on 26 April, Kennedy signed a new three-year contract with the club.[12]

Kennedy made further appearances for Celtic over the next several months, but during a Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on 28 November 2007, he was stretchered off after he twisted his knee on landing from an aerial challenge.[13] The initial diagnosis was that he sustained damage to his lateral meniscus and the posterior lateral complex of the same knee he had previously injured, ruling him out for three months.[14] This match proved to be Kennedy's final appearance for Celtic.[15]

Norwich City (loan)[edit]

On 14 July 2008, BBC Sport reported that Kennedy had joined Motherwell on a six-month loan deal,[16] but this report was denied by Celtic later that day[17] Kennedy did, however, meet up with the Motherwell squad in Austria, on trial. Soon afterwards, however, Kennedy joined Norwich City on loan until January 2009.[18] He made his Norwich debut in a 2–0 defeat to Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena on 9 August 2008.[19] Kennedy's performances for Norwich were impressive,[20][21] and he scored in games with Derby[22] and Preston North End.[23]

Return to Celtic[edit]

Kennedy suffered ankle ligament damage during his time at Norwich,[24] and returned to Celtic after further damaging his troubled knee in December 2008.[25] On 13 November 2009, it was announced that, at the age of just 26, Kennedy had retired from football on medical grounds.[15][26][27]


Celtic and Man Utd lining up before the John Kennedy's testimonial match, 9 August 2011

A testimonial fixture for Kennedy between Scotland and Celtic had been mooted,[2] while a match between Finn Harps and Celtic had been arranged for 28 November 2010, but was postponed. The game was replayed on Sunday 6 March with Celtic winning 4–1. A further testimonial match was arranged for Sunday 22 May 2011 at Celtic Park between the current Celtic side and some of the Celtic team that made it to Seville for the 2003 UEFA Cup Final including the manager back then, Martin O'Neill.[28] However, this match was also postponed, and eventually replaced with a match between a team of Celtic Legends, managed by Martin O'Neill, and a team of Manchester United Legends. The match was played on 9 August 2011 with Celtic winning 5–2, and the proceeds were donated to Oxfam's East Africa charity appeal.[29]

Scouting and coaching[edit]

After retiring as a player, Kennedy joined the scouting network at Celtic, and has travelled over Europe to help find new players for the club.[30][31] He became the first team coach under the management of Ronny Deila.[32][33]

Charity work[edit]

In the summer of 2010, Kennedy joined the board of Directors of the UK based charity Football Aid.[34]


  1. ^ "John Kennedy". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d End-of-season benefit match for John Kennedy on agenda at SFA and Celtic HeraldScotland, 17 March 2010
  3. ^ John's life so painful out of game Sunday Mil, 29 November 2009
  4. ^ "Celtic dump brave Dundee". BBC Sport. 13 December 2003. Retrieved 13 November 2009. 
  5. ^ Celtic stun Barcelona BBC Sport, 25 March 2004
  6. ^ Heroes of the Nou Camp Scotland on Sunday, 2 March 2008
  7. ^ Scotland 1–2 Romania, BBC Sport, 31 March 2004
  8. ^ Kennedy begins long path to recovery after costly Romanian tackle The Independent, 7 April 2004
  9. ^ Celtic back full Kennedy recovery, BBC Sport, 20 October 2005
  10. ^ Kennedy compensation for Celtic BBC Sport, 14 November 2005
  11. ^ Colin Moffat, Kilmarnock 1–2 Celtic, BBC Sport, 22 April 2007
  12. ^ Kennedy signs new Celtic contract, BBC Sport, 26 April 2007
  13. ^ Celtic wait on John Kennedy injury verdict Telegraph, 29 November 2007
  14. ^ John Kennedy Injury update, Celtic FC, 29 November 2007
  15. ^ a b Heartache for John Kennedy as injury ends his career at 26, The Scotsman, 14 November 2009
  16. ^ Celtic duo poised for Well switch, BBC Sport, 14 July 2008
  17. ^ No loan agreement for Kennedy, Celtic FC, 14 July 2008
  18. ^ Norwich win loan race for Kennedy, BBC Sport
  19. ^ Coventry v Norwich Sky Sports, 9 August 2008
  20. ^ Celtic star John Kennedy's career is over: Darren Fletcher pays tribute to retiring defender Mail Online, 13 November 2009
  21. ^ Celtic loan star John Kennedy earns rave reviews at Norwich Daily Record, 27 October 2008
  22. ^ Norwich City manager Glenn Roeder says referees making 'more mistakes than ever' Telegraph, 29 October 2008
  23. ^ Norwich 2–2 Preston: Goal ace Mellor is top of the pops Mirror Football, 10 November 2008
  24. ^ Kennedy injured as Burley watches BBC Sport, 17 September 2008
  25. ^ Norwich wait on Kennedy knee scan BBC Sport, 16 December 2008
  26. ^ John Kennedy forced to retire from football Celtic FC, 13 November 2009
  27. ^ "Celtic's Kennedy forced to retire". BBC Sport. 14 November 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2009. 
  28. ^ "Seville Celts return for John Kennedy Tribute Match". Celtic FC. 11 April 2011. 
  29. ^ "Celtic Legends 5 Manchester United Legends 2: Henrik Larsson rolls back the years for charity". Daily Mail Online. 10 August 2011. 
  30. ^ Celtic scout young Swedish winger Frempong STV Sport, 27 October 2010
  31. ^ I love the pressure of trying to find new talent for Celtic, says scout and ex-star John Kennedy Sunday Mail, 13 June 2010
  32. ^ Sutherland, Jonathan (27 August 2015). "Ronny Deila 'scared' remarks misconstrued - John Kennedy". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  33. ^ Brannan, Laura (20 April 2016). "In pictures: The highs and lows of Ronny Deila's Celtic reign". STV Sport. STV. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  34. ^ List of Directors for Football Aid Football Aid Website "Our Directors" Page. Retrieved February 2011

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