John Cairney

The Sevenpenny Gate
  • The Sevenpenny Gate

  • 'Clutching in my hand my seven copper pennies, I ran down the two flights of stone stairs from our tenement flat and through the East End to Kinloch Street, where, puffing a bit, I joined the queue of other wee boys lining up to place their coins on the brass plate above the iron turnstile, push hard against it, then climb up onto the dirt terracing and into Paradise. The rest of the world called it Celtic Park.'

    This is a story seen through green-and-white spectacles. It begins when nine-year-old Glaswegian John Cairney walks through the boys' gate at Celtic Park and embarks on a series of adventures that, over the years, take him all over Scotland and beyond.

    The Sevenpenny Gate is about a search for heroes, Celtic heroes. It is also the tale of an East End club of humble Irish origins that has developed into a worldwide brand and continues to command the devotion of its fans, even with the Celtic diaspora now spread across the globe.

Dr Cairney was one of those sons lifted over the turnstile by his father and he has had a love of football ever since. Even through a career as an actor, which has lasted more that 50 years and allowed him to travel the world, he never missed a chance to take in a game wherever he could. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including two volumes of autobiography. He now lives in New Zealand with his wife, actress/writer, Alannah O'Sullivan.,