The last week has not been a great one off the pitch for Celtic. News of Mr Billy Mc Neill’s ongoing battle with dementia was a body blow, but this was compounded by the news that Mr Tommy Gemmell had passed away. Every single Celtic fan knows about the Lisbon Lions. Indeed probably a measure of whether someone is a fan or not can quickly be deduced by the question…Can you name the Lisbon Lions team? We all can. You, me and everyone else reading this who follows Celtic.
These guys are legends and to us they will always be etched into our brains as Immortal players. Rugby league in Australia has this Hall of Fame type thing whereby exceptional players are named Immortals. Well, that group of players were and are our Immortals.
We have all watched and marvelled at their dismantling of the Inter cattenacio system and the establishment of “pure beautiful inventive football”- Jock Stein. This team revolutionised football and opened the way for teams to win by playing with a cavalier attack: the way Mr Stein’s team did that day.
Now that we are fifty years on from the year of their greatest triumph we have lost another one of them and we know that age is catching up with those who remain and the frailty that accompanies that will make them weaker as the years pass.
These heroes of ours are mere mortal men. Time will pass and we will sadly lose more of this team. For that reason, among others, we should celebrate the lives of the remaining Lions whilst they are with us. These Immortal players should be at the forefront of our club, especially this year, as there will come a time when we will mourn them collectively.
It gladdened and saddened me when I read on the always excellent CQN that Celtic fans enabled Tommy to watch Celtic on TV through funding the payment of his subscription TV. I should not be surprised but sometimes this support surprises, delights and uplifts my belief in humanity.
I know that this is written with a heavy heart and I know that collectively our support will ensure these Immortals are honoured as the 50th anniversary year of their greatest ever triumph swings into to top gear as 25 May approaches. So let’s acknowledge and celebrate these mortal men like never before. Let’s value and treasure what they have given us, not only from Lisbon but over the years since that time.They made the name of Celtic known throughout the World
Many of us have met some or all of them and they abiding theme that emerges is that these guys loved Celtic and were humble about their achievements. Ordinary men but extraordinary football players
Mortal Men- Immortal Players!!!!