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The Lisbon Lions Legends One and All

25 May 2021

RONNIE SIMPSON – (1930 – 2004)  –  a truly remarkable career! Ronnie was the son of Jimmy Simpson of Rangers, and played for Queen’s Park, Third Lanark, Newcastle United (winning two Cup medals) before returning to Hibs to play out as he thought the last few years of his career. Suddenly in 1964 Celtic needed a reserve goalkeeper and Ronnie was transferred to Celtic, with the Manager of Hibs, Jock Stein, by no means unhappy to see him go. But then John Fallon had a poor run of form and Ronnie suddenly found himself in the first team – and the rest is history. He even earned a few Scotland caps including the famous 1967 3-2 win at Wembley.

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JIM CRAIG – (1943) – still the only dentist to have won a European Cup medal! Jim studied dentistry at Glasgow University while playing for Celtic and graduated in 1966. A solid right back, and a very interesting character with an interest on other sports, his son having played for Scotland at rugby. He left for South Africa in 1972, but now lives in Perthshire, married to Elizabeth Farrell, daughter of Celtic Director, the late James Farrell.  Always willing to appear at supporters’ functions etc.

TOMMY  GEMMELL – (1943 – 2017) – a larger than life character who was never out of the news one way or another, but his clowning and attention seeking must not distract from the fact that he was a very fine left back who of course scored the famous equalising goal in Lisbon. He also scored in the 1970 European Cup final. His relationship with Jock Stein was never great, but the two never lost respect for each other, and he was a vital part of the team. He later went to Dundee as a player and as a manager, but when his career was over, he was frequently seen at Celtic Park. He lived in Dunblane.

BOBBY  MURDOCH – (1944 – 2001) – arguably the best player in the team, but he only became a world class right half when Jock Stein moved him there after he had been an ordinary inside forward in the disappointing Celtic team of the early 1960s. He struggled with weight problems for a spell, and a bad ankle injury and finished his career with Middlesbrough. One of the greatest players of them all.

Billy McNeill Lisbon 67

BILLY McNEILL- (1940 – 2019) – centre half and captain and rightly idolised by the support with that great statue of him outside Celtic Park. His contribution to the club will possibly never be surpassed by anyone, neither as a player nor a Manager. His record speaks for itself. Like every other member of that team, he remained to the end of his life a very humble man.

JOHN CLARK – (1941) – often described as “John the Brush” for his role as sweeper. A very reliable and loyal member of the team. In later years he was the kit man at Celtic Park, a job he performed with efficiency and care. Often known as the quiet man, but his knowledge of football was second to none.

JIMMY JOHNSTONE – (1944 – 2006) – undeniably one of the best ball players and dribblers of all time, Jimmy sadly died of MND in 2006. He was not without his temperamental problems, and earned one or two suspensions from both the SFA and Celtic themselves when his enthusiasm got out of hand. A very lovable character who had a complex relationship with Manager Jock Stein. “He wisnae daft, but occasionally he did daft things” is a good summing up of wee Jimmy.

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WILLIE WALLACE – (1940) – a fine goal scorer who arrived at Celtic in December 1966 from Hearts, having played for Stenhousemuir and Raith Rovers before that. A great eye for a goal, and his two goals in the 1967 Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen will live long in the memory. Now lives in Australia, but remembered with fondness by Celtic players everywhere.

STEVE CHALMERS – (1935 – 2019) – a man who overcame illness and disgraceful abuse in the early part of his career from some so called supporters to score the winning goal at Lisbon. Speedy and determined, Stevie deserves all the praise that he gets, for in addition to everything else, he was a total gentleman. A great golfer as well.

BOBBY  LENNOX – (1943) – the buzz bomb, with a tremendous turn of speed, the second most prolific goal scorer in the club’s history after Jimmy McGrory. He did not get the credit for all the goals he scored, for he was frequently flagged for offside by a linesman who could not believe how quick he really was. A great, cheerful character and much loved by the Celtic support.

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BERTIE  AULD – (1938) – a great Glasgow character with all the patter and charm that one would expect from someone from Maryhill. Intensely popular with supporters, and possibly the “engine room” of the team with tremendous passing ability. Tough as nails and never likely to be bossed about, his contribution and commitment to the club remains as strong as ever. Frequently seen at games with the rest of the fans.

And a big shout-out to the reserves, John Fallon, Ian Young, Willie O’Neill, John Cushley, John Hughes and Charlie Gallagher. Sadly Young, O’Neill and Cushley have passed on, but the other three are still with us.

Born in 1948, David Potter first saw Celtic at Dens Park, Dundee in March 29. It was a 3-5 defeat, which equipped him admirably for the horrors of the early 1960’s. He had “followed” Celtic for a few years before that and recalls having been called upon to impersonate Jock Stein and receive the family silver teapot which had to do for the Scottish Cup as it was presented on April 24 1954, after he and his father had spent a nerve wracking afternoon listening to the radio!  Since then, he has “followed” every Celtic game with bated breath, and has written extensively about the club in magazines and books. His favorite team was that of 1969 (which he rates marginally better than 1967) and his favorite player was Henrik Larsson.

His ambition for Celtic is for them to keep on winning silver in Scotland and to be something in Europe once again. His other interests are cricket and drama. He is 70, a retired teacher of Classical Languages, married with three children and five grandchildren. He now travels on the Joseph Rafferty bus from Kirkcaldy. He also loves Forfar Athletic.

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