LISBON Lion Bertie Auld has passed awat ay the age of 83.
The Hoops great was diagnosed with dementia in June this year and was recently hospitalised.
The club website stated: “Everyone at Celtic Football Club is devastated to hear of the passing of Lisbon Lion, Bertie Auld, who has died at the age of 83, and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club are with Bertie’s family at this extremely sad time.
“Bertie was a legend of the club for his many achievements in the green and white Hoops throughout his playing career and he was adored by the entire Celtic Family for the passion and love that he always showed for Celtic.
“In two spells with the club – 1955-61 and then 1965-71 – he made 283 appearances, scoring 85 goals. He won five league titles, four League Cups, three Scottish Cups and, of course, the European Cup in 1967 when he was part of the legendary Celtic side that beat Inter Milan 2-1 on May 25, 1967 in Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional to lift the trophy.
“As well as playing his part in that historic day, Bertie also became famous for having led his team-mates in singing ‘The Celtic Song’ in the tunnel that day as they lined up alongside the Inter Milan team.”
Club chairman, Ian Bankier said: “The most sincere thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Bertie’s family at such a difficult time, following this tragic loss.
“I don’t think words can ever adequately describe what Bertie meant to the Club and our supporters. He was a giant of a player, a giant of a man and quite simply Mr. Celtic.
“He scaled the greatest of heights as a player with his talent but it is who he was as a man that made him so much more to us all.
“He enriched all our lives so greatly with his humour, his character and personality and for that we will forever be grateful.
“It was an absolute privilege to have known Bertie and I know just how deeply his passing will be felt by all Celtic supporters. Bertie will forever be regarded as a Celtic great and he will forever be in our hearts.
“We all mourn his passing with great sadness and, of course, we offer our full support to Bertie’s family. May you rest in peace, Bertie.”
Michael Nicholson, acting chief executive, said: “To lose Bertie is tragic news and we offer our prayers and support to Bertie’s family at such a difficult time.
“Bertie will always be remembered as one of Celtic’s greatest-ever sons, part of a team that delivered the greatest prize of all to the Club and its supporters.
“He brought so much joy to Celtic supporters on and off the field and we thank him and pay tribute to him sincerely for that.
“It was an absolute joy and privilege to be in Bertie’s company, and his brilliant spirit and sense of humour will live long in all our memories.
“He loved the Club so much and, in turn, he was so deeply loved by us all as Celtic supporters.
“Bertie was just unique, there will never be another like him and this really is a very sad day. Our deepest condolences are with Bertie’s family.”
Bertie was 17 when he joined Celtic on April 2, 1955, after catching the attention of scouts while playing for Maryhill Harp.
He made his debut in a Glasgow Cup match against Rangers on May 1, 1957.
Bertie remained with the club until 1961 when he left to join Birmingham City, spending four years at St Andrews.
He returned to the Hoops in January 1965, just two months before Jock Stein left Hibs to come back as manager.
It was the fans’ favourite who was pivotal in the club’s first success under Stein when they lifted the Scottish Cup after beating Dunfermline 3-2 in an enthralling Finals when the Parkhead men had to fight back twice.
Bertie equalised twice before skipper Billy McNeill headed in the winner to give Celtic their first silverware since the 7-1 League Cup Final triumph over Rangers in 1957.
In Stein’s first game in charge, Bertie had claimed five goals in a 6-0 win over Airdrie.
During his years at Parkhead, Bertie collected five league medals, plus three in the Scottish Cup and four in the League Cup. And, of course, one in the European Cup.
He left for Hibs in May 1971 where he became coach under Eddie Turnbull before going on to manage Partick Thistle, the Easter Road club, Hamilton Accies and Dumbarton.
However, his heart and passion for Celtic never left Paradise.
Rest in peace, Bertie. You’ll Never Walk Alone.