Former Celtic youth coach who abused young footballers dies in jail

Jim McCafferty pleaded guilty to 11 charges against ten victims between 1972 and 1996.

Jim McCafferty: Former Celtic youth coach who abused young footballers dies in jail Alan Lewis

A former Celtic youth coach who sexually abused young footballers has died in prison.

Jim McCafferty, 76, died at Glenochil prison in Clackmannanshire on Saturday.

He pleaded guilty in 2019 to 11 charges related to paedophile activity against ten victims between 1972 and 1996 and one charge of breach of the peace.

McCafferty, originally from Wishaw, worked at Celtic more than 20 years ago and also had spells as the kitman at other Scottish clubs, including Falkirk and Hibernian.

A statement posted on the Scottish Prison Service website read: “Police Scotland have been notified and the matter reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

“A fatal accident inquiry will be held in due course.”

Four young players were abused by McCafferty while they played for Celtic Boys Club and the Celtic youth team, while others trained with youth teams he ran in North Lanarkshire.

Police described the scale of the abuse he inflicted as “unprecedented” and said his victims “lived in fear”.

During his trial, the High Court in Edinburgh heard how McCafferty – who was also placed on the sex offenders’ register – abused his position of power and used his intimidating physique to carry out a campaign of “sexual depravity” against budding footballers.

The incidents took place in several locations across Scotland – including team showers, hotel rooms and minibuses. Among the complainers were former professional footballers, the court heard.

A number of senior figures at the boys club, which was not formally affiliated with Celtic FC, have been jailed for sex abuse.

McCafferty became the fourth man connected with Celtic or Celtic Boys Club to be jailed for historical sex abuse in quick succession.

Following his admission of guilt in 2019, McCafferty offered the victims of a sexually abusive coach their “regret and sorrow”.

In a statement, the club said: “James McCafferty has pleaded guilty to offences he committed against young people between 1972 and 1996.

“Celtic Football Club wishes to express its regret and sorrow to those young people.

“All those who have come forward to report abuse and to give evidence deserve enormous praise for the courage they have shown.

“We offer our sincere sympathy to those young people, their families and all those involved.”