Maurice (“Mo”) Johnston, former Celtic FC player, hit the headlines in July 1989, when he opted not to return to Celtic and instead joined Graeme Souness‘s Rangers. From the early 20th century onwards, Catholics had not been knowingly signed by the club, nor employed in other prominent roles as an ‘unwritten rule’ Johnston was “their first major Roman Catholic signing”. He was the highest-profile Catholic to sign for the club since the World War I era, though other Catholics had signed for Rangers before.
The move angered both Celtic and Rangers supporters. Some Rangers fans burned scarves and threatened to hand in season tickets over the signing while Celtic fans referred to Johnston as Judas. Rangers’ kit men protested by making Johnston arrange his own kit ]
However, he won over a lot of Rangers fans in November 1989 when he scored an injury time winner for Rangers against former club and bitter rivals Celtic.
When he arrived at Ibrox, Souness sat Mo down and said that in his first competitive game for his new club, he would put him on during the first half and they’d see how things went.
Graeme said to him, “We can always pull you off at half time.
Opened eyed, Mo replied, “Thanks, Gaffer – that’s brilliant; at Watford we only got a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit!”
Mo had his doubts and a few weeks later went to Confession.
“Forgive me, Father, for I have signed,” he blurted out.
“As a penance,” replied the Priest, “You must go to that desolate and God-forsaken place: Larkhall…….
“…. there you will attend the Loyal Lodge of the Sons of William and sing ‘The Sash'”
“But, I dinnae ken it!” protested Mo.
“That’s all right, my son, Donald Findlay will be there and he knows it of pat”
“Yes, my son, Pakki Bonnar” (Celtic goalkeeper).
(Bill) Struth! I’d be better joining an atheist church – are there any near here?!!”
Catholics who played for Rangers:
Willie “Doc” Kivlichan 1906 – 1907
Colin Mainds 1906 – 1907
Tom Murray 1907 – 1908
Pat Lafferty 1886
Johnny Jackson 1917
James Tutty 1899 – 1900
Tom Dunbar 1891 – 1892
Joe Donnachie 1914 – 1918
Hugh O’Neill 1976
Don Kichenbrand 1955 – 1956 (whom it was not known he was a Catholic when he signed)
Laurie Blyth played 1951-52 again signed by ‘accident’ and was released once his religion was known.
John Spencer played 1987-1992, 13 appearances, John Clare
Charles McCafferty (Never made a first team appearance)
George (or Gorg) Banciewicz
Bob “Dancer” Dunn
Closer scrutiny however would reveal the true nature of some of these names was not of a footballing background, but was of a scholastic nature.
It would appear that many of the names that appear on this list are former teachers of St Aloysius College!
This from a comment posted on the Scotsman Site: –
“William at 72, your list of Catholic Rangers players is certainly impressively long. Obviously the very idea of a sectarian signing policy was a vile slur.
However, I notice that a large number of these Rangers players’ names bear a striking similarity to those of the teaching staff working at St Aloysius College in the late 1970s and early 1980s. To wit:
Charles McCafferty or “Weed” as we knew him – Latin master at St Al’s. Liked the Aeneid and Caesar’s Gallic War. I didn’t. Rumour had it that he had been on Celtic’s books at one point.
Daniel (Dan) Divers – also Latin master at St Al’s, as were Chris Houston (Sweaty, RIP) and Bob (Bob) Cleary. So that’s the entire Latin department from my time at St Al’s. What a great back four they’d have made. Badminton was more Sweaty’s speed, I think.
John – or rather, Father – Manners was before my time, but I believe he was a Jesuit man and that his nickname was Toad.
George Banciewizc was a somewhat psychotic maths teacher, fond of hurling the wooden blackboard duster at the inattentive. Truly terrifying man and too scary for a nickname.
Terry Sloan was a fellow pupil who I sat beside in 4th year chemistry. Played bass in a very bad sub-Stranglers band called Underground Hero.
Brian Grubb was the useless and slightly thuggish physics teacher who was fired for moonlighting as a minicab driver. No need for a nickname with a surname likes that.
Edward Devlin was the useful but slightly scary physics teacher. Nickname was “Ernie” after the v dull motorbike daredevil cartoon of the same name.
Andy Casey was a rather dapper geography teacher who apparently had some connection with Clyde FC. Had a worrying attachment to colour pencils.
Tom (Butch) Cassidy was a Canadian redhead who succeeded Andy Casey as head of geography after Andy became burser in 1980. Trained to be a priest at Maynooth, but apparently couldn’t hack it. Not a great teacher, but a good guy.
The fact that most of these teachers are actually grouped together by the subjects they taught tells me, William, that you have been hoaxed – and quite imaginatively. Who would have thought that these thoroughly Fenian pedagogues from the most Catholic school in Scotland led a double life as Rangers’ non-sectarian alibi? God, you think you know people.
Unfortunately, all of this casts doubt on the veracity of most of the rest of your names, and thoroughly undermines your point, does it not?”
Donald Findlay QC – In May 1999 he was accused of sectarianism, after being filmed singing The Sash at a private party organised by a Rangers Supporters Club, following the Scottish Cup Final in which Rangers beat Celtic 1-0. For his role in this event, Findlay resigned from the board
Bill Struth – one of the best managers in Rangers history