Peter Dowds

The Johnstone No.1 CSC and the Celtic Graves Society are proud to announce that there will be a ceremony to mark the resting place of


Celtic Player 1889-1892; 1894-95

At Abbey Cemetery, Abbey Road, Elderslie, Renfrewshire on Saturday 1st March 2014 at 11.30am

Attendees at the event will include:

A representative from Celtic FC
A speaker from Johnstone No.1 CSC
Jim Craig, Celtic Graves Society Patron

“Peter Dowds was a wonderful footballer, his versatility was unique. Talk about class all-rounders. There never has been and ever will be finer. It did not matter in which position Peter played, he distinguished himself. I admired him most as a halfback. He was the perfect middle man, playing the ball all the time and every time. Peter did not have to throw himself about to get contact. Contact came to him by his own intuition. He did not find the ball. Nothing so common. It found him.” – Willie Maley – 1936

One of the most sought-after young players in Scottish football at the time, Peter Dowds joined Celtic from Broxburn Shamrock in February 1889 aged only 17 and soon forced his way into the first team. This son of Johnstone, whose first club was Johnstone Harp, made his debut against Clydesdale Harriers in March 1889 and partnered future manager Willie Maley in his next game against Abercorn.

This young Celt established a remarkable series of ‘firsts’ in his career at the club. He was one of the goalscorers when Celtic won their first ever trophy, the North-Eastern Cup, against Cowlairs on 11th May 1889. He played in Celtic’s first ever League match against Hearts on August 23rd 1890, scoring one of the goals in a 5-0 drubbing, and ended the season as the club’s leading goalscorer (17) with most appearances also in League and Cup competitions (24). He was renowned for his skill and versatility – he was at centre-forward when Celtic won their first major trophy, the Glasgow Cup, against Third Lanark in 1891 and played at right half when the trophy was retained the following season against Clyde.

Peter was also a member of the first Celtic team to lift the Scottish Cup when they defeated Queen’s Park by 5-1 on April 9th 1892 before 26,000 spectators. When Celtic won the League Title the following season he was not part of the success as he’d been tempted away to Aston Villa. After one season in Birmingham and another with Stoke City, Celtic succeeded in prising Dowds back to Glasgow. He played in the first ever game at Love Street, Paisley on 8th September 1894 but then missed a number of games due to ‘chest trouble’. He played in a friendly away to Manchester City on 1st December 1894 but it was his last appearance in a Celtic jersey as the deadly condition ‘consumption’ took hold.

Peter Dowds died tragically from tuberculosis on 3rd September 1895 aged only 24 at Graham Street, Johnstone – the street where he was born and his family lived throughout his life. He was the first Celt to die while still a player. He lies in an unmarked grave in Abbey Cemetery, Elderslie.

All Celtic Supporters from Renfrewshire and beyond and welcome to attend and flowers/tributes can be laid at the graveside.

For more information please visit:

where donations to the work of the Celtic Graves Society can also be made.