Released by his beloved Rangers in 1972 without making the grade at senior level, Dowie moved to Craven Cottage where he was mostly a bit part player. In 1975 he was part of the Fulham squad which lost 2-0 to West Ham in the FA Cup final but did not make the 12 man team who stripped for the occasion.
Jock Stein’s move to sign Dowie for £25,000 raised a few eyebrows and ironically Dowie made his Celtic debut at Ibrox in a league clash on September 10th which the home side won 3-2 after Celtic had blown a 2-0 half time lead.
The 1977/78 season was a horrendous one for Celtic and John was played in every midfield role and also as an emergency left back on occasions. He played in the 1978 League cup final defeat to Rangers and one week later he excelled at Celtic Park as Celtic gained revenge by beating Rangers 2-0 in what was probably his best performance in the hoops.
Dowie was a hard working, versatile and industrious midfielder and whilst he was brought in to strengthen a squad light on both numbers and quality he may have helped address the former he did little to improve the latter. Many supporters weren’t really convinced by him, and his paucity of appearances shows that the coaching staff tended to agree. However, it was a tumultuous time with the side collapsing after mostly a decade of dominance and European success. So relative to the recent greats, it was too much to live up to.
He fell from favour in April 1978 and even when Billy McNeill took over from Jock Stein that summer he was unable to win his place back as McNeill put his faith in the younger players such as Aitken, Conroy and Burns.
After failing to make a first team appearance in the title winning season of 1978/79 at Parkhead, Dowie was freed in April 1979 after 18 appearances in total for the Celts.
He went on to play for Doncaster Rovers and Clyde before eventually plying his trade in Australia.
He passed away on January 22nd 2016.
Love the website Bill… I come from Blantyre – now living in deepest, darkest Carluke!
Did you know that John Dowie, the footballer from Blantyre has sadly passed away on 22 Jan.2016… He was in my class at Calder Street… I am so sad to learn he has died… Thought he would be very worthy of a mention on the site.
Sorry if I’m telling you stuff you already know.
Elaine Hillhouse Scanlon
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