Peter Dowds (Douds)

Peter Dowds or Doud as he is on his birth certificate and Douds in the 1881 and 1891 censuses and on his marriage and death certificates was the son of Irish parents, his father an Iron Miner. He, himself, trained as a hairdresser but was also a footballer of huge talent, left-sided but able to play wherever required. 

He was born in Johnstone in 1871, the youngest of five children. He would die there, in the same house, the same street, in 1895 at the age of just twenty-four after a short life that just a generation later would have so many parallels with that of Peter Scarff from neighbouring Linwood, the both reflecting the terrible impact of tuberculosis on the Scottish working-classes.  

Meanwhile, he had begun to play football with the local Irish team, Johnstone Harp, had moved on at perhaps sixteen to Broxburn and its Shamrock club before at seventeen joining Celtic. He made his debut in 1889, playing alongside Willie Maley in his next appearance, in 1889-90 was a regular in the squad and in 1890-91 already a stalwart of the team that finished third in the first Scottish League, he the club's top scorer. And in 1891 at the age of twenty back in Johnstone he, recorded as an Assistant Hairdresser, was also married, his bride local girl,  Mary-Jane Smith. She was already pregnant and they would have a son, James, born in Johnstone later that same year, who sadly would not see the year end, dying in Shettleston in Glasgow.  

Peter Dowds would remain at Celtic for two more seasons, in the team in 1891-92 that would win the league title for the first time. However, there was constant interest from Down South and in 1892 he left for a season at Aston Villa and another at Stoke, twenty starts at the first and fourth place and seventeen at the second and eleventh. 

But who knows if the effects of what was to come all too soon were already being felt. Certainly in the Potteries they must have been for when he returned to Celtic for the 1894-5 season he managed only four starts before falling ill. And just a year later, a week after his twenty-fourth birthday, he was dead. Mary-Jane Dowd(s) would outlive him by half-a-century, passing in Dundee in 1946. He was buried in Elderslie's Abbey Cemetery in a grave unmarked until in 2014 action by the Celtic Graves Society. 

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