Former elite referee opens up on being raised as a Celtic fan; still goes to games

By John McGinley

December 11, 2020

Former English Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has been speaking to club publication The Celtic View (09/12 print edition, page 18) about growing up as a Bhoys fan and regularly attending games to this day.

Gallagher was a high-profile ref in the Premier League between 1992 and 2007, also taking charge of top-flight matches prior to the formation of the money-rich division.

Officiating hundreds of matches down south, he’s also a big fan of Scottish football and was raised by his father to have a love for Celtic growing up.

He first attended a Celtic game more than 50 years ago, one of the incredible crowd that assembled to watch Jock Stein’s legendary side face off against Leeds United in the European Cup semi-final at Hampden.

It’s an experience he cherishes and will never forget.

He told The Celtic View this week: “My Dad had taken me to something so special because I was going to become a teenager, and he knew I was mad on football. It was the first time I saw Celtic play, and just everything about it, from coming up on the train and then being in Hampden was amazing.

“I had never seen so many people in a football ground. And the amazing thing about it is that I’ve still got the programme from that match. I got it out recently because I was reminiscing about my Dad, who would have been 90 last week.”

The Dublin-born former FIFA-listed official is still a big supporter too.

He explains to Paul Cuddihiy in the club magazine that, given his choice of career, he didn’t get many opportunities to travel and watch the Hoops.

However, since retirement, he’s been making trips to matches more and more, sometimes six or seven times a season.

Earlier this year he was in attendance for games against Hearts and Copenhagen.

Celtic fan and former referee Dermot Gallagher / (Photo by Ben Radford/Getty Images)

Often found on Sky Sports talking about contentious weekend decisions, Gallagher is still a well-known personality in the game and it’s fantastic to hear him talk so positively about Celtic.

Shame he can’t take charge of some of our games now and again!

In other news, we’ve found 3 things Neil Lennon needs to be aware of to pick up a result against Kilmarnock on Sunday.