LISBON Lion Bertie Auld reckons Celtic will have to take a trip back in time as they prepare for Sunday’s High Noon showdown with Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side at Parkhead.
The former midfield mastermind is urging the present crop of players to respond to the challenge as a calamitous league campaign limps to a wretched conclusion.
Hopes of a historic tenth successive title were buried under the rubble of inexplicable performances as the team lurched from one woeful performance to another. Twenty-eight points have been shed in disastrous fashion and they go into the weekend encounter an extraordinary and unacceptable TWENTY adrift of their visitors.
But Auld, now 82, recalled the days when Jock Stein sent out the troops with the orders to win AND entertain.
ON THE BALL…maestro Bertie Auld in action in the European Cup Final victory over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967.
The sprightly Bertie admitted: “The fans have been missed, they give so much to the players and the players get so much from them.
“They always have everything to play for. All the Celtic fans will be watching them and encouraging them on and they’ll want to deliver. They’ll want to put on a show and give the fans good performances
“This is a game that you must read very quickly and the first quarter of an hour is always so important. Momentum is so important, but so are those 50/50 balls. Big Jock would always tell us to win those and that helps you get a hold of the game.
“We had 11 players on the park and they all wanted to entertain the fans.
“When you walked out there wearing that green and white jersey you felt as if you were 16 feet high, it didn’t matter who you were playing.”
Auld, speaking to the match programme, added: “I loved playing in front of the Celtic fans. I played inside-left and outside-left and when I was playing out wide I loved it!
“You felt as if you were in The Jungle. The fans were right there beside you, encouraging you and applauding you and they’re still the very same to this day.”
Auld didn’t add that he knew his dad Joe was in among the support in that startegic part of the ground!
Remarkably, the Hoops have lost twice on their own ground in consecutive confrontations after the Govan outfit had gone nine years without success in the east end of Glasgow. The team went down 2-1 in December 2019 and were unimpressive again when they folded 2-0 in October last year.
This is a hat-trick the Celtic players most certainly do NOT want.
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss the first part of an EXCLUSIVE series of Bertie’s marvellous Old Firm memories – only in your champion CQN.