|Although the Dunfermline Athletic Hall of Fame is only in its fifth season, some would argue that the induction of Willie Callaghan is already overdue. And those critics would have a point too, because Willie was, without doubt, one of the greatest Pars of all time, and even more so because he was one of that rare breed - a truly homegrown hero|
|William Thomas Callaghan was born in Cowdenbeath on 12th February 1943 and was picked up by Dunfermline Athletic as a schoolboy as early as 1957. Willie was farmed out to local junior side Crossgates Primrose, and in 1960 he turned professional.
It wasn't a bad time to do it with Jock Stein at the helm, and for almost all of the next twelve years Willie was a regular in the side until he played his last game, a League Cup match on 23rd August 1972 against Stenhousemuir in which Dunfermline suffered an embarrassing 5-2 defeat. If the end was poor, the part that Willie played in the intervening years most certainly wasn't.
Willie may have been short on stature but he more than made up for that with energy, courage and commitment. Although he occasionally played elsewhere, Willie was always at his best in his favoured right back role. He played well in an attacking role and could provide quality crosses, but he could also defend.
Stein created a magical defensive full back pairing with Willie on the right and John Lunn on the left, and the two played together on more than 300 occasions for Dunfermline over a near ten year period at the height of the club's success.
Willie's reliability and his ability not to get any serious injuries meant that he played 426 times for Dunfermline, the third highest number of first team appearances in the club's history. Among them are 34 appearances that Willie made in the European Cup Winners Cup and the European Fairs Cities Cup - the record for any Dunfermline player in Europe.
Willie's younger brother Tom also joined Dunfermline in 1962, and the two brothers became famous as they played together in both the 1965 and 1968 Scottish Cup Finals for the Pars.
Just before that 1968 Final, Willie was at last recognised on the international stage when he was selected to play for the Scottish League against the English League in March 1968. A year later he was selected and played well again in the same fixture, and that paved the way for his full international debut against the Republic of Ireland on 21st September 1969. He became only the second outfield Pars player to be capped for Scotland - the previous one, Andy Wilson, had been in 1921. In all Willie won two full international caps and three League caps.
In 1972, Willie went to Berwick Rangers who were managed by his old playing colleague Harry Melrose, then in 1975 he moved briefly to Cowdenbeath before retiring from the game. But essentially Willie was a one club man and Dunfermline Athletic were the fortunate recipients of a his skills for almost a decade and a half.