Jocks in Red Socks

by Pat Cordelle

Chris Bennion: Born in Edinburgh, the goalkeeper had two spells with Shelbourne in 2002 and 2012 with whom he made 22 League, 5 FAI Cup and 2 League Cup appearances. The former schoolboys international joined the youth set-up at Hearts of Midlothian. In 1997 he joined Middlesbrough but made just one appearance and was loaned out to Scunthorpe United. In 2002 he was signed by the Reds as a second choice keeper to Steve Williams. On the 06 July 2012, Bennion re-joined the Reds from Monaghan United following their withdrawal from the League of Ireland.

Ally Gilchrist:  Born in Edinburgh, the rugged and aggressive centre-back previously played for St. Johnstone, Elgin City, Peterhead, Derry City and Shamrock Rovers. He joined the Reds ahead of the 2021 season. He made 26 appearances and helped the club win promotion back to the Premier Division. He had a good season at Tolka Park but was allowed to leave to join Cork City in Nov 21.

3 December 2021; Ally Gilchrist of Shelbourne with his First Division team of the year award during the PFA Ireland Awards at The Marker Hotel in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Martin Gritton: Although born in Glasgow, he moved to the South- West of England at an early age. The journeyman pro travelled the length and breadth of England plying his trade in the basement divisions of the EFL. The striker was signed on loan from Plymouth Argyle in 2001, he made 2 starts, 4 sub league appearances for the Reds plus a goal scoring appearance in an FAI Cup tie away to Finn Harps. The university educated Gritton now works as a PR guru and as a co-commentator for BBC Radio Devon and Radio Humberside. 

12 January 2002; Martin Gritton of Shelbourne during the FAI Carlsberg Cup 3rd Round match between Finn Harps and Shelbourne at Finn Park in Ballybofey, Donegal. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Jimmy Johnstone & John Deans: The two Celtic legends were signed in the bleak, bleak winter of 1977/78 at a time when the Reds very existence was threatened. Their arrival in Dublin was a huge boost not just for Shels followers but also for League of Ireland football. Deans played a hand full of games before returning to Scotland without scoring a goal. Johnstone remained in Irish football for about three months, making twelve appearances in the League and League Cup. No words of mine could ever describe the genius that was “the wee man” Jimmy Johnstone. In 2002 he was voted as the greatest ever Celtic player. After leaving the Reds he returned home for a final fling in the Scottish Highlands with Elgin City.

Dougie Wood: Born in Musselburgh, Scotland, Wood played for eleven seasons with Derry City in the Irish League, from 1961- 1972 where he enjoyed legendary status. The defensive midfielder played in the same team as former Red, Joey Wilson, that won the Irish Cup in 1963/64 and the Irish League the following season. He had brief spells with several clubs before finishing his career playing with Shelbourne where he played alongside former Celtic greats Jimmy Johnstone and Dixie Deans for a short time. Three Jocks in the Shelbourne team for the first time.

John McCole: Shelbourne signed the Glasgow born centre forward ahead of the start of the 1964/65 season. McCole had an impressive goal scoring record with his previous clubs, Bradford City, Leeds United and Rotherham United before linking up with the Reds. He was allowed to leave Tolka Park after just four competitive games. Interestingly, his first three games for the Reds were played in three competitions- Presidents Cup, Shield and City Cup. 

Alex Hair & Jimmy Hewieson: One for the historians, the records show that, Hair born in Glasgow scored an astonishing 29 goals in 22 appearances helping Shels win the League Title 1931.Hewieson was  born in Rutherglen, within sight of the river Clyde, was part of the same team as Alex Hair, was capped once for Scotland against Northern Ireland.

23 September 2007; Stuart Malcolm, Shelbourne. eircom League of Ireland First Division, Shelbourne v Kildare County, Tolka Park, Dublin. Picture credit; Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Marc McCulloch & Stuart Malcom:  Both were born in Edinburgh and the pair arrived at Tolka Park in the transfer window of 2007 to play in the Discover Ireland Division1 League. Both were around the block of the Scottish lower divisions before linking up with the Reds. McCulloch, a real fans favourite amongst the Shels faithful, made 19 appearances, Malcom made 17 appearances scoring once in a 5-2 away win over Kilkenny City. The 2007 season, the one after the crash in 2006, was one to forget. The Scottish duo were once again on their travels at the end of the season.

Robert Raeside: The 28 year old South African born central defender, parents brought him to Scotland when just three months old, played for Raith Rovers, Dundee and Arbroath. He was signed on a month’s contract as cover for the injured Pat Scully. Raeside played just 45 minutes football for the Reds in a Champions League tie away to FK Sloga. He was booked in the first half and was hooked at half-time.

Mark Hutchison: Born in Edinburgh, the stylish Scottish left full back was signed from Finn Harps, having previously played with Sligo Rovers whom he joined from Stenhousemuir. He made his Reds debut in the historic first away win in European competition, away to Sloga. Mark made four appearances in Europe, home and away against FK Sloga and Rosenberg. The defender made a total of 44 appearances in all competitions for Shelbourne. He joined Shels on January 1, 2000 and left on 1 July, 2001 for Sligo Rovers.

Mark Roberts: Born in Irvine, the midfielder was signed on a one year contract by Shels in the summer of 2002 when his last club Airdrieonians folded. Previously he played 8 seasons with Kilmarnock in the SPL and one season with Falkirk. He scored six goals in twenty seven appearances with the Reds, which included two games in the Champions League. The highlight of his Shelbourne career-scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in December 2002- the lowlight the aggregate defeat in CL to Maltese minnows, Hibernians. Roberts, a skilful operator left at the end of his contract to join St. Mirren.

 Matty Smith: Born in Dundee, started his career with Dundee United and subsequently had loan spells with Montrose and Cove Rangers before moving to Ireland with Waterford, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Derry City. The winger/striker was signed by Shels from Derry City, initially on loan before a permanent deal was agreed in December 2022. Smith made an impressive debut coming on as sub in a 3-0 FAI Cup win at the Carlyle Grounds, Bray. He made 11 appearances for the Reds in 2022 and 19 in 2023 before injury curtailed his involvement with the first team in the second half of the season. A good player with a great work ethic. 

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