The Lisbon Lions (and Bertie Auld).

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The Lisbon Lions (and Bertie Auld).

Postby franton » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:42 pm

The Lisbon Lions (and Bertie Auld).

I watched Celtic through all their successes in Europe, in the days that young Bhoys got into the game free of charge, by being “Lifted Over” the turnstile. I remember the euphoria of the Game in Lisbon, with the scenes of fans jumping over the moat and waltzing past the Portugese Police Officers- with the Automatic weapons - to join their heroes on the pitch! The photograph of the Celtic Bench rising in Triumph at the final whistle, the arrival and delivery of the “Big Cup” to Paradise, with the triumphant parading of the Cup by the players in the lorry around Parkhead. And the “Movie” of the whole event in the Picture halls, which we all went to see, the early-close from school to see the game, the actual realisation of victory, the knowledge that we had done that which could not be surpassed, in football terms; that Big Jock was our manager and no-one gave a fig whether he was a Catholic, a Protestant, a Jew, a Hindu, a Bhuddist or whatever!

We had just won the European Cup! No other British team had ever done it - we were the “First”, we were the Very Best in Europe - Celtic, the Scots-Irish from Glasgow, Scotland.

“We” had proudly won the biggest prize in club football - and put Scotland “On the Map” and with a team of all Scottish - yes All-Scottish, Footballers. How Patriotic was that ?

Yet mostly, the rest of Scottish football were indignant. “How could they do that?” they may have wondered. Well, it’s like this - You have an idea, you start a Football Club, You get the Best players, You entertain the fans… You know the story !

Good Luck Celtic: I hope it’s Garry Hooper who scores the next “Lisbon” winning Cup Final - “Goal”…

As I said before, I was fortunate to watch the “Lisbon Lions” of Celtic, managed by Jock Stein. My favourite player of that time was definitely Bertie Auld. Jimmy was marvellous of course - we had some fantastic players and when Bertie got the ball, you just knew that something was going to happen.

Comfortable on the ball, he could waltz past many a big Defender to the delight of the Fans. He put devilishly good crosses into the box for his team - mates to attach themselves to; or as a Master of the dead - ball situation he’d take a shot himself, with pin point accuracy - the ball very often “Nestling” in the Top Corner of the “Pokey”. Bertie also had a strong character - I think the starting of the singing of the Celtic Song on the way onto the pitch at Lisbon was attributed to him.

And on the park, he knew how to look after himself - and many of his team -mates also - a not unimportant consideration in a game in which physical nature is very much present and evident to the fore.

The nature of the Game is both psychological and physical. In order to be a winner, you have to master both aspects! Henrik Larsson did it!
He was a practised Master of his Craft and that, combined with a fearless will to demonstrate his ability and express himself on the Park, enabled Henrik to achieve all the that he did in the Game, at Celtic and elsewhere!

When Bertie turned Pro; his Old - Man told him - “Kick and be Kicked.” His Old - man therefore knew the reality of Professonal football and gave Bertie an insight and a piece of very good advice which enabled him to succeed and prevail in what is a very competitive and short lived professional career.

It worked for Bertie! And subsequently the other “Lions” and the Celtic family also ! Hail Hail.

That’s my view on a Celtic Great who patently knows a thing or two about professional football. Perhaps he’s not quite as great as “The Greatest of Them All” (Jimmy McGrory), but I’d still like to give Bertie 10 / 10.

(Posted previously verbatim on "Jungle Bhoys" website).

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