Jimmy Delaney

James Delaney (3 September 1914 – 26 September 1989) was a Scottish footballer who played as an outside right. He had a 24-year playing career interrupted by World War II, his longest spells at club level spent with Celtic in Scotland and Manchester United in England. He was capped 15 times for the Scotland national team, scoring six goals.

Jimmy Delaney
Personal information
Full name James Delaney[1]
Date of birth (1914-09-03)3 September 1914
Place of birth Cleland, Scotland
Date of death 26 September 1989(1989-09-26) (aged 75)
Place of death Cleland, Scotland
Position(s) Outside right
Youth career
St Mary's
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1933 Stoneyburn Juniors
1933–1946 Celtic 143 (68)
1946–1950 Manchester United 164 (25)
1950–1951 Aberdeen 31 (7)
1951–1954 Falkirk 40 (20)
1954–1955 Derry City
1955–1956 Cork Athletic 14 (4)
1956–1957 Elgin City
National team
1935–1948 Scotland 15 (6)
1936–1939 Scottish League XI 6 (3)
1944–1946 Scotland (wartime) 3 (2)
Teams managed
1955–1956 Cork Athletic
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only




Delaney joined Celtic on provisional forms in 1933 from Stoneyburn Juniors, signing a permanent contract the following year.[2] Delaney suffered the misfortune of a badly broken arm in a home game against Arbroath in April 1939. The injury sustained being further exacerbated by the opposition player Attilio Becchi (who was apparently a Celtic fan) accidentally stepping on Delaney's arm. Delaney's torn football shirt was sold at auction for £564 in 2002.[3] He spent 13 years with the Glasgow club, making 327 appearances in all competitions including wartime tournaments.[4]

Manchester United

Delaney was held in high regard as a player by Matt Busby[5] who, when the war ended in 1946, signed him for Manchester United in a £4,000 deal. Delaney helped United win the 1948 FA Cup Final and finished his United career with 28 goals from 184 total appearances.[6]

Late career in Scotland and Ireland

He moved back to Scotland at the age of 36, joining Aberdeen in November 1950 and made his Dons debut in a 5–1 defeat of Falkirk. A year later he joined the Bairns, where he spent three seasons. In January 1954, Derry City paid £1,500 to sign him, a record fee for the Irish Football League, remarkable in that he was by this stage 39 years old.[2] Two years later he joined Cork Athletic as player-manager before eventually retiring after a season with Highland League Elgin City in 1957.

Delaney has the distinction of having won the Scottish Cup with Celtic in 1937, the English FA Cup with Manchester United in 1948, and the Irish Cup with Derry City in 1954. He also came close to a fourth different national trophy in the Republic of Ireland, earning a FAI Cup runners-up medal with Cork Athletic in 1956.[2]


Delaney won 15 caps for Scotland and scored 6 goals. He also represented the Scottish League XI six times.[7] On 15 November 2009, he was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.[8]

Personal life

Son of Patrick Delaney and Bridget Nash from Crettyard, Queen's County (now County Laois) in Ireland, Jimmy was born in Cleland, North Lanarkshire. His son Pat Delaney was also a footballer whose longest spell was with Motherwell,[9] and his grandson John Kennedy played as a defender for Celtic, Norwich City and Scotland.[10]

Delaney died in September 1989, shortly after his 75th birthday.



Manchester United[11]


Derry City[11]




  1. "Jimmy Delaney". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
  2. Lamming, Douglas (1987). A Scottish Soccer Internationalists Who's Who, 1872–1986. Hutton Press. ISBN 0-907033-47-4.
  3. A green and white Celtic shirt, with button-up collar, one side completely cut, Christie's Auctioneers (Football Memorabilia, 24 September 2002)
  4. Celtic player Delaney, James, FitbaStats
  5. Televised interview on YouTube with Arthur Montford, 1973
  6. James "Jimmy" Delaney, MUFCinfo
  7. "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". Londonhearts.com. London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  8. Eight more Scots greats enter Hall of Fame The Scotsman, 16 November 2009
  9. Now You Know: Faddy's still in frame for Scots' honour roll, Evening Times, 19 September 2013
  10. Keevins, Hugh (5 February 2004). "I won't grump over cash like my gramp". Daily Record. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  11. "ILFG: Jimmy Delaney". Irish League Greats. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
    "Delaney, Jimmy". The Celtic Wiki. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  12. "SFA: Jimmy Delaney". SFA. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  • Potter, David (2006). Jimmy Delaney – The Stuff of Legend. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-496-5.