Bertie, our gift from above


The first time I met Bertie Auld, I was walking upstairs at Celtic Park as he was walking down while talking to someone else.  As we passed each other, he paused his conversation, turned to me and said, “How’ you doing son?”  He would not walk past a Celtic fan without acknowledging them.

He was the sporting hero, the centre of attraction, but he had a gift – he knew how to light up the lives of others.  And how.  Put him in front of Celtic fans and Bertie came alive.  That old story of the fans singing as they walked up Kerrydale St, the noise flowing through the open windows of the dressing room, lifting the team before they took the field.  That was how Bertie remembered it and he told each subsequent generation what it meant to him.

In his prime in the Celtic midfield, he was brilliant, gallus and hard in equal measure.  The Lisbon Lions were a team of many parts, but the creativity had three fulcrums: Bobby Murdoch, Jimmy Johnstone and Bertie Auld.  In Lisbon, they set the heartbeat for a performance that swept Inter away and had the whole of Europe celebrating.

You know the story, 11 men from within 30 miles of Celtic Park stood in the tunnel, some with their false teeth in a bag, alongside the football heroes of the era, a team who had won the European Cup twice in the previous three years.  Bertie said they looked like “movie stars”, unaware of his own profile.  He sensed hesitation among his team mates so started a chorus; “Hail, hail, the Celts are here……”

Did it make a difference to the outcome?  Probably not, but Celtic and Inter both played like the Scots were at home.  Whenever I hear this story, I think back to that time I walked past him on the stairs, Bertie’s awareness of people and what to do to put them at ease was his most exceptional quality.  He did this with his team mates, he did it to me and there is a good chance he did it to you.

I met the man many more times and shared a platform with him on occasion.  Bertie was always an event, always, but there is one other meeting that gets to the heart so the man.  I was at Celtic Park on a non-matchday and was speaking to the security man on my way out when Bertie joined us.  John the security man asked, “Are you going home now, Bertie?”  Bertie said, “I’ll head over to the Superstore first, see if there’s any fans in.”  He would not leave Celtic Park when there was some joy to spread around.

You and I did nothing to deserve a man like this in our lives, he was a gift from above.  Yesterday’s news is a profound loss to everyone he touched.  For me, he was Mr Celtic; the very best of us.  We will never see his like again.

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  1. Sad, sad news of Celtic legend Bertie’s passing.



    Bit before my time as a player but as gallus a ‘wegian as you could get.



    Must be lovely to have had such a beaming, warm personality as he had – and to know how much he was loved for it and for his rugged playing style.



    RIP Bertie – YNWA.

  2. 67 European Cup Winners on

    Lovely tribute Paul67. The most endearing aspect of Bertie Auld for me was his natural facial expression It was a smile. No matter what he was thinking or how he felt he was smiling The old saying that when some walk into a room the lights come on. When Bertie walked in the floodlights came on. Rest in peace and thank you. 67ECW

  3. To me, Bertie was the spirit of the ‘67 side and that spirit, like the million watts of Bertie’s smile, will live forever.

  4. Fantastic tribute Paul67 to a Celtic Hero and a man of the people.



    He’s given us so much as a club and to our cause and not all of it confined to the field of play.



    An Tearmann – tremendous & heartfelt from Ally Begg who always strikes me as a good guy.



    Sad times but what memories Bertie has left us with – we’re blessed.

  5. Paul67



    Nicely done, sad day for Celts



    Bertie Auld a Lion of Lisbon RIP



    The first time I met Bertie Auld was in Barrowfield on a grassy old terracing where schoolboys and their dads saw Celtic train the Lions. He was sitting down with two fans beside him, fans were always around Bertie even when in sombre mood, chewing a piece of straw grass in the side of his mouth his gaze never changed, fixated he was watching his team mates at play. By sheer good Celtic luck we snatched him back from Birmingham where the Glasgow boy had failed to settle, the rest is history.



    “ That’s Bertie Auld “ said my old man, with retro vision he looked more like a player from The Godfather,he had Celtic hair and was the epitome of Jimmy Johnstone’s film stars, “ But can they play “ came later from the other corner of that cheroot smoking mouth.” Now a left foot is a left foot, but with Robert Auld attached, it was unique.



    Not a prolific scorer, Auld was a provider a player who looked after his peers, a player that took the heat not just of Lisbon, he was stylish arrogant and bold, in equal measure, he’d dare to be dispossessed, and could pass long or short, all day long. A boy who fell in love with the club that just fell in love, straight back.



    A lifetime later I met him again in the car park at Celtic Park bright and breezy he told me the team he’d pick that day and was supportive polite and reserved about Ronny Deila the then manager, Bertie Auld the supporters Celt.




    Hail Hail as Bertie always parted

  6. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Brilliant capture Paul.






    The sheer “Celticness” of this remarkable man was, IMHO, unparalleled.


    (Tommy Burns comes closest).



    Digital age tributes routinely overdo the snap superlatives … only for them to be forgotten the next day.



    “Our gift from above” doesn’t overdo it in the slightest.



    5 minutes in Bertie’s company made one’s spirits soar.



    R.I.P. – Hero, Legend, Celt

  7. wulls.








    Replying to





    I was playing in a pipe band at a gala many years ago and Bertie was signing autographs.


    He turned round to me and said “Whit do ye want signed son”


    I replied “Na.. your OK…I’m a Rangers fan”


    Bertie said straight back “ that’s OK son….I’ll no dae it in joined up writing”



  8. A fine and fitting tribute, Paul. Thank you



    Some excellent posts from the CQN community



    Rest in peace, Bertie Auld

  9. Cracking Paul.



    Heavy hearted day for us all.



    Huge miss for his family.



    Joins his pride in Paradise.



    HH Bertie.

  10. Just heard Chick Young on Radio Scotland:


    Jock Stein signed Bertie for a second Celtic spell. Of course Jock knew him from his time at Hibs.



    Why can’t the BBC get someone who actually knows what he’s talking about?

  11. Lovely Paul.



    As much as I love big Tony,after watching yesterday’s Croatia game,I find it hard to think we are wasting the talents of a fantastic RB,to keep him in the starting line up.The two crosses he picked out yesterday,were mind boggling in that swamp.He was up and down the whole game.Terrific talent we are not seeing the best of.

  12. Great piece, Paul.



    I just about remember Bertie scoring two at Hampden v Spurs on a scorching sunny day at Hampden a couple of months after winning in Lisbon.



    The Quiet Lions – Ronnie, Jim, Bobby M, John C, Stevie, Willie W & Bobby L….plus John H, John F, Willie O’N & Charlie.



    The Extrovert Lions – Big Tam & Jinky.



    The Lions Leader – Big Billy



    …..and then there was Bertie, top-class cabaret, on & off the field. HH.

  13. We seem to have been hit with non stop bad news of late in the Celtic family.


    Another legend and huge personality leaves us with fantastic memories.


    Goodbye Bertie you will be sadly missed.



    For anyone who is local my great and sadly missed friend Squire Danaher – Tom Cloherty will be buried this Friday. The service is scheduled for 10am in St Thomas’ Neilston.

  14. Celtic have been blessed with ;


    Good Players,




    and Legends.


    Bertie sits comfortably in the third group.


    I was fortunate to have met him a couple of times and all I can say is it’s a strange feeling to be filled with awe and yet laughing your head off in the company of one of your hero’s.


    His wit was as almost as entertaining as his football.


    A gentleman and a true Celt. RIP.

  15. Tim Malone Will Tell on

    Fine tribute Paul67.



    Bertie Auld was the most “Celtic Minded” man on the planet – RIP.

  16. Thanks Paul for that wonderful tribute. We of a certain age have great memories of Bertie. My favourite as I may have mailed about before was the morning after Lisbon. My friend and I were staying at a hotel near to the Celtic hotel in Estoril. As we were returning from Mass (a moment of thanksgiving), who walked across the street but Bertie and Willie Wallace. A good moment of rejoicing followed. He had time for us even after such a historic occasion.



    Years later I was speaking at a Dinner in the Hibs Hall in the Port. I mentioned our meeting and teasingly said what were you doing out at that time after the game. He retorted “more to the point what were you doing out at that time. Were you home at all?”



    He them went on to say that he had played against some dirty players but no one had ever kicked as I had under the table. Which of course, I had not done, but it got a great laugh.



    Bertie, you were our hero. WE will perhaps never see your likes again. Thanks for the memories. I hope Jock and the other bhoys gave you a great welcome in your new Paradise.



    Prayers and thoughts with Bertie’s wife and family. Rest in Peace Bertie, WE will never forget you.

  17. Lovely tribute to Bertie, Paul who was probably my favourite Celtic player ever. Like every other Celtic fan I loved Bertie to bits. I was so fortunate to have seen him play so many games for us and count myself lucky to have been at Brookfield the night he scored 5 goals for us.



    We’re lucky to have had such a great man play for us. A true lion. Bertie’s passing is a huge loss for us.

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