ONE of the acknowledged greats in the history of Celtic, Neil Mochan,

died yesterday at Falkirk Royal Infirmary after a short illness. He was


Mr Mochan served the club admirably as both a player and member of the

coaching staff. He was a player whose talent was probably only fully

appreciated when he had stopped playing.

He first came to prominence during the Second World War when he signed

for Morton in June 1944 from juvenile club Dunipace Thistle.

Mr Mochan soon made a mark as a fast centre forward, supported by

three future internationalists in Billy Steel, Tommy Orr, and Johnny


While still with the Greenock club, he became one of comparatively few

visiting players to score a hat trick against Celtic at Parkhead.

In May 1951, he moved on to Middlesbrough for a fee of #14,000 but,

although he did well enough on Teeside, he did not settle and, two

years later, signed for Celtic -- then going through an indifferent


Mr Mochan made a major impact on the Parkhead scene and before he had

even played at Parkhead itself, he had helped Celtic win two trophies at

Hampden, the Charity Cup against Queen's Park and the Coronation Cup

against Hibernian.

His vigorous forward play, whether through the middle or on the left

wing inspired a previously-jaded Parkhead side and set them off on their

way to a league and Scottish Cup double in 1954.

Neil Mochan was gifted with a truly venomous shot and his hard, driven

low crosses from the wing were a constant source of danger to defences,

several times resulting in own-goals from desperate defenders.

In his latter years at Parkhead, Mr Mochan was most often to be found

at left back but he occasionally resumed his forward station to deadly

effect, as in the Scottish Cup tie of 1960 against St Mirren when he

scored all his side's goals in a 5-2 victory.

Before leaving Parkhead, he took part in Celtic's epic 7-1 win in the

League Cup final against Rangers in the autumn of 1957.

In 1960, he moved on to Tannadice and his skilful defensive play over

the next three seasons did much to help Dundee United consolidate their

newly-won first

division status.

In 1963, he crossed the Tay to Kirkcaldy where a season with Raith

Rovers brought his playing career to a close.

Almost immediately, he returned to Parkhead to become Celtic's

assistant trainer, taking over as chief trainer in the close season of


He was therefore to be very closely associated with the club in the

great days under Jock Stein.

He was capped three times for Scotland, two of those caps being

against Austria and Uruguay during Scotland's chaotic World Cup campaign

of 1954 in Switzerland.

Always affable and accessible, his nickname of Smiler testified to his

enduring popularity within the game.