Frank McGarvey

Frank McGarvey
Personal information
Full name Francis Peter McGarvey
Date of birth (1956-03-17) 17 March 1956
Place of birth Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Forward
Youth career
Colston Y.C.
1974–75 Kilsyth Rangers F.C.
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1979 St Mirren 132 (52)
1979–1980 Liverpool 0 (0)
1980–1985 Celtic 168 (78)
1985–1990 St Mirren 134 (20)
1990–1991 Queen of the South 19 (2)
1991–1993 Clyde 46 (22)
1993–1995 Shotts Bon Accord
1995–1996 Troon
Total 499 (174)
National team
1978 Scottish League XI[1] 1 (0)
1979–1984 Scotland 7 (0)
Teams managed
1990–1991 Queen of the South

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Frank McGarvey (born 17 March 1956, Glasgow) is a retired football player. Most notable for playing as a striker for Celtic and St Mirren, he also played seven times for Scotland.


McGarvey was signed from Colston Y.C. by Kilsyth Rangers F.C. for the start of the 1974–75 season. He finished the season as top scorer with 21 goals ( Source: Kilsyth Rangers A History 1945–1995 by John Ferguson). He was signed by Alex Ferguson for St Mirren after a tip off from Willie Thornton the ex Rangers player and assistant manager. (Source: Managing My Life -Alex Ferguson). He made his debut for St Mirren on 26 April 1975 and soon became a first team regular, scoring 17 times in the 1976–77 season and helping the club win the Scottish First Division.

His form attracted the attention of Bob Paisley and, in May 1979, McGarvey signed for Liverpool for £270,000. However, his tenure with the club lasted only 10 months. Unable to break into the first team, McGarvey sought a transfer. Liverpool accepted a bid of £270,000 by Celtic in March 1980, and for a short time McGarvey became Scotland's most expensive footballer.

McGarvey played 245 times for Celtic over five years, scoring 113 goals. In that time he won two League Championships, two Scottish Cups and a Scottish League Cup. However, Celtic manager David Hay decided Mo Johnston and Brian McClair would be his forward line for the 1985–86 season and declined to offer McGarvey an extended contract. His final, and perhaps most notable act as a Celtic player, was to score the winning goal six minutes from the end of the 1985 Scottish Cup Final.

In June 1985 McGarvey rejoined St Mirren for £80,000. Two years later, he won a third Scottish Cup with them. In total he played 387 times for St Mirren, scoring 125 goals. Later in his career, McGarvey had spells with Dumfries club Queen of the South (where he was player-manager), Clyde (with whom he won a Second Division Championship title at the age of 37) before a stint in the Juniors with Shotts Bon Accord and Troon.

Having retired from the game before footballers began earning high salaries (he notes that he "took home £190 a week after tax" while playing for Celtic)[2] McGarvey now works as a joiner in Scotland. In 2008, McGarvey wrote an autobiography called Totally Frank in which he described the highs and lows of his career and revealed how he overcame a long-time gambling addiction.[3]

In 2009, Celtic were drawn with Rapid Vienna of Austria in a Europa League (formerly UEFA Cup) tie – 25 years after a controversial Cup Winners' Cup game at Parkhead when a Rapid Vienna player claimed to have been hit by a bottle thrown by a Celtic fan. Celtic were in the lead, but UEFA ordered a replay of the match at a neutral venue – and the Austrian side ultimately won the re-match at Old Trafford, Manchester. McGarvey sparked controversy among Rapid Vienna officials and fans by urging the club to apologise for what he classed as "cheating" in the form of their fans behaving in a manner which caused the game to be cancelled in hope of being able to get through to the next stage of the competition.[4]


  2. Stephen Halliday. McGarvey carved place in history. The Scotsman, 28 May 2005. Retrieved 11 January 2007.
  3. Frank McGarvey, Ronnie Esplin (2008). Totally Frank. Mainstream. ISBN 1-84596-364-4.
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