In what is probably described as the greatest accolade in Celtic’s history, the triumph in Lisbon on the 25th of May 1967, transcended a close-knit group of great players into legends.
The Lisbon Lions have been Celtic’s ‘National Treasures’ for decades, however, in recent times we witnessed something of a true unique dedication to those special men. It started during season 2016/17 and that was ‘In the Heat of Lisbon’ being sung all around Celtic Park and at away grounds precisely on the 67th minute of each match. This instantly became an anthem and was perfectly timed as we entered the 50th anniversary of winning the European Cup.
I recall an interview with Bertie Auld at the Hydro in 2017 when he spoke passionately about being a Lisbon Lion. He was very emotional and paid great homage to the Celtic support for coming up with such an amazing idea in recognition of their famous victory. Hence, winning the European Cup is the pinnacle.
From a personal perspective, it was Celtic’s achievement in Lisbon and having been born in 1967, that created the urge for me to collect original and special anniversary items as reminders of this famous landmark in the club’s history. It all started in 1992, the same year the Lions celebrated their 25th anniversary and was probably one of the best decisions that I have ever made!
With this being part one, I have chosen to focus more so on original items in reference to the match, early celebration through to the homecoming with the cup.Listen to CHRIS TOAL with A Celtic State of Mind here:
Celtic Team Coach and Celtic Club Members Coach Signs
Here we have two absolute one-offs. These signs were displayed on the inside of the windscreen of the Official Celtic Team Coach and Celtic Club Members Coach which travelled from the Palacio Hotel (Estoril) to the stadium. These were given to me as gifts from a chap called Ronnie Campbell, who featured in a programme made in 1992 called ‘Lion Hearts’. Ronnie managed to obtain these from the coach drivers when in the car park after most fans had left the stadium. It is an absolute honour to have these in the collection. Each time I look these, I always think of Ronnie with a tinge of sadness as he sadly passed away about five years ago.
1967 Match Programme
Most Celtic fans are accustomed to having seen images or even having the programme as a souvenir. My programme has been signed on the front cover and inside on the Celtic team pages. The autographs are Simpson, Craig, Gemmell, McNeill, Clark, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld and Lennox. Unfortunately, two key signatures I was unable to achieve were Bobby Murdoch (who passed away in 2001) and Jimmy Johnstone, who was suffering from Motor neurone disease at the time. The tenth signature on the front cover as that of Sean Fallon. Furthermore, John Fallon has signed
inside, as he was Celtic’s only legal substitute that day. Ironically, he received his medal officially in 2017, 50 years later. The programme remains as a key item in the collection.
1967 Match Ticket
The ticket is an item of beauty. The indentation of the printing technique on the paper is fantastic and, inside the circle, it is embossed with lettering of ‘Estadio Nacional’. On the back of the ticket is a map of the stadium and some additional information. After lending some items to the Celtic museum in 1998, I was put in contact with a retired travel agent who sent me the ticket to keep, based on me making a couple of charitable donations to SCIAF and Saint Vincent de Paul. I kept to the request and gladly donated what I could afford at the time. It is a fantastic item.
Billy McNeill Trophy Presentation Photo
In my opinion, this is the greatest ever trophy presentation image I have seen. The photo shows Big Billy in that iconic stance holding aloft the new cup as we know it today. A cup that was specially commissioned by UEFA to be presented to the winning team. However, due the distance of dressing room to the tribune and because of the chaos on the pitch, Billy and Sean Fallon were sent to collect the cup. Billy’s single image speaks for itself. No words are necessary for the grandeur within a palatial marble setting. The photo is large, is about 15 years old, Billy’s jersey and shorts are tinted. It was signed by the great man himself. If you look along from Billy, you will see the great Sean looking down at the jubilation of the fans on the pitch. It is a very powerful photo which could bring someone to tears purely with pride and sadness that Billy is no longer with us. I really do need to get this professionally mounted and framed!
1967 UEFA Banquet Press Photo
This is the rarer photo as opposed to the standard image we see online, in magazines and in books. Willie Wallace does not often feature and, if so, slightly in the background. This original photo was issued by the Daily Record and has the stamp on the back. Willie has his hand on one of the handles of the cup and, at the front of the group, Neilly Mochan is in the centre with Bobby Lennox to the right of him. The photo was taken at the official UEFA banquet after the match was played at the Estadio Nacional. The story goes that the Inter team were late in arriving and to add more insult, the Celtic players were given their winning medals from a shoe box. It was hardly the showcase event that UEFA have in place these days.
1967 Billy McNeill and John Clark Hotel Room Press Photo
Like that of the banquet photo, this is also different from the more publicised image of Billy and John pretending to be sleeping. In this photo, we see Billy and John sitting up in their beds gazing at the trophy containing the famous teddy bear. It was issued by the Scottish Daily Express and dated 26 May 1967, with some narrative on the back. The Lions then had to embark on a long journey home to Glasgow. Their welcome was incredible, to which there are plenty more used images for you to reference. In the main, I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have been the successful bidder on this. I love it as have only ever seen it the once since collecting started in 1992.
1967 Jock Stein at Celtic Park Press Photo
Whilst back at Celtic Park after having succumbed to a huge amount of duties on 26th May 1967, Jock Stein takes some time to read telegrams and letters congratulating him and Celtic for their fantastic achievement in Lisbon (the day before) whilst the European Cup sits on his desk. Again, this is another original press photo issued by the Daily Record and stamped on the back. The quality of the photo paper is slightly thinner. It does show Jock in a nice relaxing moment and that is what I really love about it.
That now brings us to end of part one. Thanks for your reading and allowing me to reminisce!
In part two, we will focus on some key anniversary events spanning 25th, 40th and 50th celebrations…
Eddy GradyWatch A Celtic State of Mind at the Stevie Chalmers Auction here: