Declan McConville with A Celtic State of Mind – Remembering Jimmy Johnstone: Born on this Day

After a fantastic tribute at the weekend for Hibernian legend Pat Stanton, it is also key to note that today would have been the 75th birthday of the late Jimmy Johnstone.

Both men were outstanding players for their respective teams and went up against each other in many a great battle. When fans of a certain vintage are asked to name two of their favourite players from the teams in green and white, the names of Johnstone and Stanton are well up there with any player.
 
For many Celtic supporters, Jimmy Johnstone will forever be fondly remembered by all for being a part of the club’s finest match in Lisbon in 1967 as well as being named the club’s ‘Greatest Ever Player’ in 2002. The rapport which he developed with the support was first-class and has not been matched with many players.

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There is a lot of rhetoric around the concept of ‘The Celtic Way’ which Jinky truly epitomized with his entertaining football abilities. As well as this, throughout his career he showed tremendous courage and bravery in the face of some fierce opposition players. These qualities came to the fore in his brave fight against Motor Neurone Disease, where Jimmy’s battling qualities were an example and inspiration to all.
 
His career at Celtic was simply outstanding with the winger scoring 130 goals in a playing career at the club which spanned from 1963-1975. He won 9 Scottish League Championships, 6 Scottish Cups, 6 League Cups and 1 European Cup. To this day, he is still an essential part of the club’s fabric with his statue standing alongside Brother Walfrid and Jock Stein at the front of Celtic Park.
 
Although Jimmy may no longer be here, he continues to inspire young people through the Jimmy Johnstone Academy, which was setup in 2009. Since then, there has been 16 players who have progressed into professional football as well as over 20 different nationalities playing in his academy. Agnes Johnstone continues to tell great tales about the wee man and most definitely keeps his shining spirit alive.
 
Declan McConville

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