Dick Beattie (full name Richard Scott Beattie)

Born 24 October 1936 Died 15 August 1990

Dick signed for Celtic in September 1954 from Duntocher Hibernian however he spent the 1954–55 season playing at Junior level for Duntocher Hibernian. His spell at Duntocher was a successful one with the club reaching the final of the Scottish Junior Cup in 1955, losing to Kilsyth Rangers after a replay and Beattie was also capped for the Scotland Junior international side.

Dick made his debut for Celtic a year later on 3 September 1955 in a 1-1 Scottish League Cup tie against Falkirk and this first season would end with a maiden Senior final appearance, Celtic losing 3–1 to Hearts in the Scottish Cup. He would eventually establish himself as the successor to John Bonnar. An agile and athletic keeper Beattie was capable of spectacular shot stopping. He was not short of bravery either and his performances were typically courageous. There was however an inconsistency to Beattie’s game and the Glasgow-born keeper suffered regular problems coping with high balls delivered into the box. Dick was capped for Scotland at Under 23 level but in truth he lacked the consistency to become a truly top class keeper. It was in the League Cup that Beattie would enjoy his greatest success. Victory over Partick Thistle after a replay in the 1956 Scottish League Cup Final earned him his first winners medal. Despite his limitations Beattie’s place in Celtic history was assured the following season which saw his career highlight with Celtic defeating city rivals Rangers, 7–1 on 19th October 1957 in the Scottish League Cup Final.

Dick’s role during that famous League Cup final was perhaps periphery but the image of a jubilant Beattie, arms outstretched and holding up seven fingers to the crowd, would become an iconic Celtic moment. The symbol of an unforgettable triumph during a time of frequent disappointments. Dick made 156 appearances during five seasons at Parkhead before heading to the south coast and Second Division side Portsmouth in August 1959. A fan of horse-racing, he often wore a jockey’s cap Dick was a popular character with team mates and supporters, Dick departed Glasgow with no shortage of best wishes. But what happened next would sadly stain not only the career of his but the whole of English football.

At Fratton Park the keeper was involved in an FA Cup tie in January 1961 against the Posh. Pompey would lose 2-1 with a howler from Beattie gifting Posh their opening goal. That mistake would be put down by fans and pundits as a costly but honest error. Pompey were relegated at the end of the 1960–61 season and in 1962 Beattie would move on from the south coast with his next destination, ironically, being the Posh.

Signed by Jimmy Hagan, Dick’s career at the Posh was fairly undistinguished and after being replaced by Brian Ronson left the Posh in January 1963. However in September 1962 Queens Park Rangers were the visitors to London Road for a Third Division clash against Beattie and the Posh. The Loftus Road side were comfortable favourites to claim both points but were stunned when the home side took a deserved lead. With just 10 minutes remaining there was little sign of a QPR fight back. It was then that Dick took possession of the ball inside his own area. Clutching the ball in his hands he took a few steps forward. But, with the Posh players advancing up field in anticipation of a clearance, the former Celtic man inexplicably rolled the ball to the feet of a Rangers forward who slotted home for an unlikely equaliser. Just minutes later Dick took possession of the ball again. He made to throw the ball out to his own full back. But yet again the keeper found the welcoming feet of an opponent who gratefully hit home the winner. A local Peterborough newspaper report stated: “Dick Beattie bore the brunt of the blame for the two goals. His distribution was at fault on both occasions and Rangers gratefully accepted the gifts”. But even the most cynical hack could not have imagined the sinister truth behind keeper’s gifts. Dick would play just 10 games for the Posh before returning to Scotland to join St Mirren in January 1963. He established himself as the first choice keeper at Love Street but in April 1964, a story broke in the Sunday People newspaper which would end his career, exposing a match fixing operation which became known as the British betting scandal of 1964 and the truth about his time in England would soon emerge and his career came to a sudden and shameful end. The ringleader, a fellow Scotsman and ex-professional footballer Jimmy Gauld, sold his story and his taped evidence incriminated himself, Dick and eight other players.

Gauld recieved a £7,000 fee for his story but the price of the revelations was a costly one for all involved. All 10 were charged with conspiracy to defraud – with the prosecution alleging Dick threw several matches where he was set to pocket up to £300. Suddenly the “mistakes” at Fratton Park and against QPR were no longer viewed as honest. At the trial in Nottingham ringleader Gauld was fined £5,000 and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

At the trial in Nottingham, Dick received a nine-month prison sentence and was subsequently banned from football for life. On release from prison, he began a new life working in the shipyards as a welder.

It was a sad end to Dick’s career who was commonly regarded by team mates as a hugely warm and likeable character. An ex-Posh team mate had described him simply as “..a hell of a nice guy”. In these times when even the most mediocre of players are millionaires it is easy to condemn all those involved in what became known as ‘The Fix’. But it has to be remembered that these were mostly players whose short and physically demanding career was largely during the time of the maximum wages. Dick’s career should have been defined by his memorable seven finger salute. Instead the shadow of scandal is forever cast across his moment in the Hampden sun.

Posh Record:

Competition Starts Used Subs Unused Sub Goals
Football League 10 0 0 0
FA Cup 0 0 0 0
Football League Cup 0 0 0 0
Total 10 0 0 0