Paul Wilson (footballer, born 1950)

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For other people with the same name, see Paul Wilson.
Paul Wilson
Personal information
Date of birth (1950-11-23) 23 November 1950 (age 65)
Place of birth Bangalore, India
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1978 Celtic 129 (30)
1967–1970 Maryhill (loan)
1978–1979 Motherwell 21 (1)
1979–1980 Partick Thistle 10 (0)
1980–19xx Blantyre Celtic
National team
1975 Scotland 1 (0)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.


Paul Wilson (born Bangalore, India, 23 November 1950), is a former internationalist Scottish professional footballer.

His football career peaked in season 1974–75 after being moved to play as a striker when he scored 29 goals for Celtic including two in that season's cup final win. He was selected to play for Scotland that season making him the only non-white player to represent the full Scotland team in the 20th century. He was the first Asian footballer to have represented any of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland at senior level.

Following his mother's death his enthusiasm for football diminished before leaving the professional game at the age of 29.[1]

Early years[edit]

Wilson was born in Bangalore, India.[1] His Scottish father was stationed there with the Royal Air Force, where he met Wilson's Dutch-Portuguese mother. The family moved to Scotland when Paul was one year old.[1]

Career[edit]

Club[edit]

Legendary Celtic manager Jock Stein signed Wilson for the club in 1967. Stein immediately farmed him out to Scottish Junior club, Maryhill, to gain experience before returning to Celtic. Wilson was part of the group of young players named the Quality Street Gang by the Scottish media. Wilson was one of many in that group that replaced Celtic's Lisbon Lions team that won the 1967 European Cup Final. Wilson's senior debut was in a European Cup 9–0 win at Parkhead against KPV Kokkola in 1970.

Wilson was a quick footballer able to shoot with either foot. He was largely deployed by Stein on the wing where he felt Wilson's pace would be useful. Wilson disliked playing wide preferring to play more centrally. Wilson had dark skin tone and received racist abuse during his football career during Old Firm games.[1][2]

Wilson became a first team regular in August 1973. He ended that 1973–74 season with a league winners' medal.

Stein moved the fast and elegant Wilson to play up front for the 1974–75 season where he outscored his friend and strike partner, Kenny Dalglish, with 29 goals. This culminated with Wilson scoring two goals in the 3–1 victory over Airdrie in the 1975 Scottish Cup Final. This was also the season he was selected to play for Scotland.[1]

Wilson's mother died in the week leading up to the final against Airdrie. He later stated his mother's death was the source of his waning enthusiasm for football. This was not helped by a niggling injury requiring cortisone injections. Wilson did though collect a second championship winning medal in 1976–77 when he had been a regular until Alfie Conn joined in March that season. Wilson remained at Celtic until 1978 when he was out of favour under Billy McNeil's management. At Celtic wilson made 214 appearances scoring 52 goals.

Next Wilson moved to Motherwell for one season. He then finished his senior career at the end of the 1980 season with Partick Thistle at the age of 29.[1]

After his spell at Thistle he was tempted into junior football by ex-Celtic team-mate Jimmy Johnstone with Blantyre Celtic,[1] winning a junior international cap.

International[edit]

Wilson gained one international cap for Scotland in 1975, coming on as a 75th minute substitute for Kenny Burns in a European Championship qualifier 1–1 draw against Spain in Valencia in which Joe Jordan had put the Scots ahead.[3][4][5] Wilson remarked, "I nearly scored but their keeper just got his hands to my effort. I was as sick as a dog. I was so proud to get my one cap."[6]

Wilson was the only non-white player to be selected by the full Scotland international team during the 20th century.[1] Andrew Watson collected three full caps in the 1880s. The next non-white player to be capped by Scotland was Nigel Quashie in 2004. Wilson was the first Asian player to have represented any of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland at senior level.[1]

Honours[edit]

Celtic

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Smith, Andrew (10 October 2011). "Interview: Paul Wilson on Stein, Celtic and racial abuse in the 1970s". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Gilroy, Carrington and McDonald (2001). 'Race', sport, and British society. p. 42. ISBN 0-415-24629-6. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  3. ^ The Scottish Football Association, Cup Competitions
  4. ^ Greig, Martin (25 November 2006). "Ideally suited to face up to racism Why the boy from Possil is mystified over Scots game". The Herald. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Paul Wilson at scottishfa.co.uk
  6. ^ "Wilson, Paul". The Celtic Wiki. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

  • Paul Wilson career at Post War English & Scottish Football League A–Z Player's Database