Keeping it in the safe hands of the family

STALYBRIDGE Celtic’s goal has been in the safe hands of keeper Mike Percival and his grandson Aiden Winterbottom.

Fifty years after Mike made his debut for Celtic in 1968, grandson Aiden last season made his first-team bow for the club.

Aiden Winterbottom and grandfather Mike Percival

And Mike, 73, a retired production manager for Stalybridge firm WCB Containers, now part of the Stamford Group, is a regular at Bower Fold.

Aiden’s other grandfather Mel Winterbottom is also another former Celtic player, though he was a wing-half.

Mike, who lives in Dukinfield, spent half a season with Celtic in 1968. He also appeared for Hyde United and Wigan Athletic, all in the Cheshire League.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Oldham Athletic player Colin Whittaker was the manager who signed Mike who described the Cheshire League as effectively the fifth tier of English football.

Teams included Wigan Athletic, Macclesfield Town and Altrincham along with the reserve sides for Port Vale, Wrexham and Stockport County.

And he has many memories of his short spell with Celtic, notably one involving winger Brian Green who later managed Rochdale and coached at Leeds United.

“The crowd were getting on to Brian’s back and he responded by lashing in a goal from the touchline about 30 yards out before going to the fans and asking if they were happy with him,” he said.

Aiden, who also lives in Dukinfield, was on the books of Everton between the ages of 10-14.

He made his debut in March in a 2-1 victory at top-of-the-table Altrincham, the first of six first-team appearances.

Two of them were as an outfield player due to Celtic’s shortage of players through their financial troubles late last season.

And instead of stopping goals Aiden, who is about to start a sports science degree course at Salford University, almost scored a goal against Matlock.

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