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John Coyle

Sun, 15th May 2016 11:39pm

It is with sadness that the club reports it was advised yesterday of the passing of John Coyle, aged 83.

His shot, albeit deflected, famously won the Scottish Cup for Clyde in 1958, but there was far more to Johnny Coyle than a single goal.

In the semi-final of the same tournament, Johnny’s hat-trick had Clyde strolling towards that Hampden final before Motherwell got two late goals through Ian St John to ensure a nervy closing session for The Bully Wee.

Of course goals were Johnny Coyle’s trademark, and after scoring a 'barrow load' for Dundee United over a handful of seasons he was eventually persuaded, in December 1957, to try his luck at Shawfield, with Dundee United benefitting by £8,000.

His debut for Clyde ironically came at yesterday’s venue, Hampden Park. That day the score was slightly different, with Clyde winning 4-1 through a Tommy Ring hat-trick and an Archie Robertson penalty. Johnny’s first goal for The Bully Wee was only delayed a matter of days, when he opened the scoring against Partick Thistle in the traditional New Year derby match.

From then on Johnny Coyle, Clyde and goalscoring were synonymous, and his goal in the Scottish Cup final against Hibs was his 24th of the season for The Bully Wee. And he wasn’t finished there; a further 7 goals took his total to 31 goals for the season - including a double in the Glasgow Charity Cup Final when Clyde beat Rangers 4-0 at Hampden. Indeed he wasn’t very far behind top scorer Archie Robertson, bearing in mind Archie had the full season!

The following season, 1958-59, Johnny and Archie again went head-to-head, this time Johnny emerged as the club's top goalscorer, with Archie a couple of goals behind.

The season after that saw a much changed Clyde team, and Johnny only made a dozen or so appearances before bowing out in a 3-1 loss against Dunfermline at Shawfield in April 1960, after 85 games and 59 goals for The Bully Wee. 

Despite his goalscoring feats with Clyde for the bulk of his time with the club, when it came to international honours, Johnny probably came as close as you can get without actually being capped. He earned his place in Scotland’s 1958 World Cup squad, and travelled to Sweden, but of the three Clyde players that travelled, Johnny and Harry Haddock were unfortunately not selected for any of the three matches.