But of course he was mortal

Stein Herrera half time
Caption this, Stein and Herrera at half time in Lisbon.

“John, you’re immortal”, but of course he was mortal. Bill Shankly’s words from 1967 recorded the moment Jock Stein went from being merely a successful football manager into the greatest icon the Scottish game will ever have, but 30 years ago today, Jock’s mortality came as a shock to the world. A massive heart-attack, while managing Scotland at a World Cup qualifier at Ninian Park, Cardiff, ended the story of Jock Stein, aged 62.

He was 29 before he arrived at Celtic Park as a player after a career with Albion Rovers and Llanelli Town. By all accounts he was a decent central defender and a more than decent leader on the park. He quickly became vice-captain, then captain, and in 1954 led Celtic to their first double in 40 years, and their first league title in 16 years. Injury forced him out of the game as a 33-year-old. Celtic gave him a job coaching the reserve team, where he would work with some future Lisbon Lions.

In 1961, a year after becoming Dunfermline manager, he led them to their first Scottish Cup, beating Celtic in the final. In four years he transformed Dunfermline from the bottom of the table team he inherited, into a team who recorded astonishing victories in European football.

A meritocratic year at Hibernian then followed, at least part of which he spent discussing his future with Celtic chairman, Bob Kelly, before Kelly made one of the most inspired decisions in sport and offered Jock the Celtic manager’s job.

The rest, is literally history. In 13 years he took 10 league titles, winning all of his first nine. In his first five seasons he only lost three of 15 domestic trophies, but most important of all, in May 1967, his Celtic team became the first British club to reach, and then win, a European Cup final.

That European Cup win was enough in itself, but the manner of the win would mean Stein’s legend grew far wider than it otherwise would. Opponents Inter Milan were the most dominant team in the game. They were going for their third European Cup in four years and their fourth Italian title in five.

Celtic blew them away. It was the most comprehensive single goal victory in sport. The Italians were exhausted at the end, having defended 43 attempts at goal, seldom managing to cross the halfway line. The underdogs had triumphed, Celtic were instantly respected and adored across Europe, while Stein was viewed as having almost mystical powers.

So what did he really achieve? The Celtic you know today would be unrecognisable without him. Had he stayed at Hibs, they could be a bigger club than Celtic today. Our decades in the wilderness, which started in the 1920s, would have continued into the 70s and who knows thereafter. His gift to you, is Celtic. That’s why his statue is outside the ground.

It wasn’t all sweetness and light. Stein was a hard authoritarian, consistent with the style of the time. Football also caught up with him. Those first five years at Celtic, five league titles, five League Cups, two Scottish Cups, two European Cup finals, European semi-finalists a remarkable three times, were imperious, but some lights went out after losing to Feyenoord in the 1970 European Cup final.

After a fifth place finish in 1978 Celtic decided to sack Jock, offering him a position on the board, which he initially accepted but only later realised his responsibilities would be limited to Celtic Pools.

Football is a results business and looking back, the decision to sack The Big Man in 1978, should not be regarded as controversial. I certainly remember many Celtic fans of the era questioning his decisions, but the way the termination was handled was shoddy. Stein had lost his mentor, then Sir Robert Kelly, seven years earlier, while the pick of his second team, Hay, Macari and Dalglish, were sold for huge fees which were never invested in the squad. Or the stadium, training facilities or anything else an aspiring football club would invest in.

He grabbed the first offer out of Kerrydale St, but only 44 days later couldn’t wait to leave Leeds United to take up the Scotland job, where he returned to his earlier form. That night in Cardiff, Scotland stood on the verge of qualification for their fourth successive World Cup, two of which were under Stein.

The nation watched him being carried into the Ninian Park tunnel live on television. Even then, no one expected him to die.  We thought Jock was immortal.


Foundation call: Walfrid and Directors’ Box hospitality, thanks to Intelligent Car Leasing, ebay auction here. More on this tomorrow.

SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Apologies for server problems over the last couple of days, I’m on it….

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  1. weet weet weet(GBWO) on

    We didn’t just win the European Cup,we did it by playing football.



    Pure,beautiful,inventive football.



    Jock Stein

  2. Auldheid,



    Like the 65 Final, the Eddy Connachan one is etched on my soul. I can still remember standing at the bottom of the Celtic End at Hampden and wondering how we lost. Eddy Connachan was simply unbeatable that painful evening.



    As Turkeybhoy was saying, anyone who has watched Celtic since the 50s knows we are living in a great time to be a supporter (or worlds to that effect).



    I think that besides producing successful teams, Jock Stein produced entertaining sides. We were a delight to watch then (as we are sometimes these days).

  3. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on 10th September 2015 10:38 am




    BEATBHOY on 10TH SEPTEMBER 2015 10:28 AM



    TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on 10th September 2015 10:38 am




    BEATBHOY on 10TH SEPTEMBER 2015 10:28 AM










    I remember that season. The meeja asked, “How can a team only lose one game and still lose the League?” After the Dons beat them 2-1. Of course they failed to,point out that Celtic only lost one game also that season …. against The Huns.




    *Aye we didnae beat the huns that season as we tied the new year game 2-2, after Bobby Murdoch scored a goal with 2 minutes to go to give us a 2-1 lead our back up goalie (oul Ronnie was injured at Shawfield the day before) spilled a shot in the last minute which gave them a fortunate tie.



    After the game it was rumoured that Jock told the players they had to win every game from then until the end of the season, which apart from a SC game at CP against the pars we did scoring for fun along the way.



    A tie at Cappielow on Wednesday the 17th of April, while we were winning the Glasgow Cup beating the bully wee 8-0, saw the deid team dropped a point and put us back on top on goal average.



    It should be noted that the huns were now saying that if two teams finished level on points at the top then the League should be decided by a play-off and not by the goal average method which had been used all the way till then.



    Incidentally that’s the year that the deid team withdrew from the GC at the semi stage stating that they had too many commitments with League, Scottish Cup and European Fairs Cup to contend with (though by this time they were out of the Scottish Cup, had lost the League Cup and had been pumped out of the Fairs Cup by Leeds United). As it happens they received deserved criticism of being afraid to face an in-form Celtic.



    Morton were up next on the Saturday and entered the field to a standing ovation, that mood soon changed as it was 1-1 in the dying seconds when big Tam went on one of his mazy runs doon the left wing crossing the ball for the Buzz Bomb to bundle it intae the net, Cue bedlam at Parkheid.



    At the same time the unbeaten side supporters were leaving Rugby Park elated at the news that we had dropped a point, or so they thought.



    So a victory on the Tuesday night after the cup final would see us retain the trophy. However a last minute goal by Ian Taylor at the venom pit saw the dandy dons, as they were known then, put paid to that and only a 16 goal defeat stood in our way of being championees once again.



    On the Tuesday evening at a packed East End Park both teams, the cup winners and champions in waiting, entered the field together led by their Celtic supporting captains.



    A Booby Lennox double saw us win our final game 2-1.



    Big Jock’s team talk in that demoralised Parkhead dressing room on Tuesday January 2nd had paid off.

  4. Turkeybhoy


    WTF is your problem with me ?


    You can post what you like, pish as it happens most of the time, and yet nobody bothers to have a go at you.


    When someone who crits the club in any way, as is our right, Pedro groupies like you jump on our backs.


    Go away and get a life and stop bothering me.

  5. •A wee thing to watch when you have a while
















    • Parkheadcumsalford on 10th September 2015 2:19 pm







    Like the 65 Final, the Eddy Connachan one is etched on my soul. I can still remember standing at the bottom of the Celtic End at Hampden and wondering how we lost. Eddy Connachan was simply unbeatable that painful evening.



    *you and me both, one thunderbolt shot from Paddy Crerand which he clawed away still has me scratching my head. To make matters worse Eddie was a Tim.



    As Turkeybhoy was saying, anyone who has watched Celtic since the 50s knows we are living in a great time to be a supporter (or worlds to that effect).



    *aye and some on here want tae wisen up, the PL and DD haters don’t know their living when you think of what we had tae contend with. History has been kind tae Bob Kelly as he messed up some good Celtic teams.



    Club captain Bertie Peacock had been fit for the first game but Bob stuck with a young John Clark who had scored the winner in the extra time replay at Easter Road, nothing really wrong with that as it displayed a sense of loyalty. However, when Jim Kennedy went down with appendicitis on the eve of the replay, he drafted in the unknown Willie O’Neill leaving us an inexperienced left sided defence. Meanwhile a fit again Bertie captained the black north in a friendly over the water, he never played for the Celts again.



    I think that besides producing successful teams, Jock Stein produced entertaining sides. We were a delight to watch then (as we are sometimes these days).




  6. TT



    Do you remember a guy called Tommy Walsh maybe from Levenvale? He was asking my brother about you recently.

  7. lennon’s passion on 10th September 2015 1:47 pm



    How many seasons had NL been managing us before we got into the CL league? How many European matches had we played in by this stage in NL’s managership.



    I’m sorry but RD is demonstrably more successful than NL and many will state he’s been even more hamstrung by the board.

  8. As others have said the Jock Stein glory years which started as I became a teenager were truly amazing, 50 plus years later I still reflect on how fortunate I was to witness them, God Bless Jock!!




  9. itscalledthemalvinas on

    Jock Stein-The Greatest Ever Celt.


    He made my childhood so happy. I actually enjoyed the week before a game against Sevco because we knew we were going to win.

  10. Tontine Tim,



    That Paddy Crerand thunderbolt still haunts me and it was at the old Rangers end too.



    I was at Easter Road the night John Clark scored but they closed the turnstiles just as I came in. The man wouldn’t let me nor anyone else in. Never saw John Clark score for us ever after.

  11. I was very fortunate to be around when the Big Man arrived at a struggling Celtic.


    No one would have forseen the immediate transformation he would have.


    He was a remarkable man, not without his flaws , but without him all our lives as Celtic supporter would be so much less memorable RIP Jock.



    Apologies for the long list of quotes below from Celtic Wiki





    Jock Stein – Quotes




    On Celtic, the fans and others


    “Football is nothing without fans.”


    Jock Stein



    “Without fans who pay at the turnstile, football is nothing. Sometimes we are inclined to forget that. The only chance of bringing them into stadiums is if they are entertained by what happens on the football field.”


    Jock Stein



    “My proudest moment? Every Friday morning when I look at the board at Celtic Park and see my name on the team sheet for tomorrow’s game.”


    Jock Stein (when a Celtic player & team captain)



    “We like to think that whoever we play, we are a football team, nothing more. We are a football team who will play anyone from anywhere, from any walk of life, from any religion, from any creed. That is Celtic Football Club.”


    Jock Stein



    “Unlike many other Celts, I cannot claim that Celtic was my first love … but I can say that it will be my last love.”


    Jock Stein in a speech at a Supporters night in 1955



    “If I can achieve for Celtic what I have achieved for Hibs, then I feel I will have done well for them.”


    Jock Stein on becoming Celtic manager, possibly his only understated remark!



    “The secret of being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided.”


    Jock Stein



    “I enjoy being manager here, because I like the people who support us.”


    Jock Stein



    “Celtic jerseys are not for second best, they don’t shrink to fit inferior players”


    Jock Stein



    “I’d far rather talk about players, they are the people who make things happen.“


    Jock Stein



    “You’re too fond of Charlie Gallagher and Harry Hood. You wouldn’t win a league with 11 Charlie Gallaghers or Harry Hoods.“


    Jock Stein



    “There is no substitute for experience ”


    Jock Stein



    “Have the first issue ready for the week after the [Scottish] Cup Final and leave a blank space on page one for a picture of the boys with the Cup!”


    Jock Stein on the new “Celtic View” in his first season as manager



    “I think it is important to win a match, but I think what is even more important is the manner in which you win.”


    Jock Stein



    “The most pleasure any manager can get is seeing everyday boys joining the Club as youngsters and growing into men and giving themselves a better social standing than they could ever have dreamed of previously.”


    Jock Stein



    “You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have.”


    Jock Stein on the miners



    (Before a European Cup game to Hunter Davies (an English Journalist) touring round Celtic and Rangers grounds who was commenting on Celtic’s unpretentious surroundings compared to Rangers more “cathedral-like stadium”)


    “Ach, Rangers are alright, but they still haven’t invented blue grass.”



    “25% of our [Celtic’s] managers have been Protestant!”


    Jock Stein on being appointed manager of Celtic, when pointed out with headlines in the papers and by people that he was the first Protestant manager of Celtic (he was only the 4th in the clubs history (retold by Hugh McIlvaney)



    “Is it alright if he’s very cheeky that ah can skelp ‘em?”


    Jock Stein jokingly to Billy McNeil’s family as he convinced them to let him sign for Celtic (as told by Billy McNeil)



    “We weren’t Orange but we were staunch!”


    Jock Stein on his family background to Hugh McIlvaney


    (from BBC life story program on Jock Stein 2007)



    “If they were interested in what I had to say they would get here in time. The door stays shut!”


    Jock Stein on barring late coming journos to his press talks



    “I think we could win everything in front of us. I think this could be a season to remember.”


    Jock Stein to various players at the start of the 1966/67 season, quoted by Archie MacPherson



    “Jock, if there were two players, one Catholic and one Protestant. Who would you sign?”


    “The Protestant”




    “Because I know that Rangers would never sign the Catholic.”


    (winding up Rangers FC over their bigoted signing policies)



    “Predicting scores is a mug’s game – I’ll leave that to Alec Cameron!”


    Jock Stein chides about Alec Cameron, a journalist who was very biased to the Huns



    “Surely there are enough Celtic songs without introducing religion or politics or anything else?”


    After 1972 game against Stirling when he jumped into the Celtic crowd to stand up to individuals singing sectarian songs



    “I lost some friends when I made the move, but if that’s what matters to them, then they’re not really friends at all.”


    On his move to Celtic which led to him being shunned and dismissed by his old ‘friends’



    “This terrible tragedy must help to curb the bigotry and bitterness of Old Firm matches. When human life is at stake this kind of hatred seems sordid and little. Fans of both sides will never forget this disaster.”


    Jock Stein from the Celtic View on the Ibrox Disaster of 1971



    “It is up to us, to everyone at Celtic Park, to build up our own legends. We don’t want to live with history, to be compared with legends from the past. We must make new legends.”


    Jock Stein (After winning his first league title as Celtic manager in 1966)



    “We all end up yesterday’s men in this business. Your’re very quickly forgotten.”


    Jock Stein in Archie MacPherson’s book “The Great Derbies: Blue and Green” (1989)



    “The best place to defend is in the opposition penalty box.”


    Jock Stein



    “There is no excuse for a professional footballer not to be 100% fit.”


    Jock Stein



    “Football is not like that. If form was the only factor we would all win the pools every week.”


    Jock Stein



    “I feel we have the players fit to wear the mantle of champions of Europe. I have told them so. Now it’s up to them.”


    Jock Stein after beating Vojvodina Novi in the QF of the European Cup, 1967



    “We send Murdoch down to the health farm at Tring to lose some weight and the main result is that we are polluted with bad tips from the wee jockeys he meets there.”


    Jock Stein joking to Hugh McIlvaney about Bobby Murdoch’s weight control



    “If you’re good enough, the referee doesn’t matter.”


    Jock Stein



    “It’s not religion that’s the problem – it’s the lack of religion!”


    Jock Stein



    “You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have.”


    Jock Stein



    “I’m happy where I am, I like the people I work with, I like the players and the directors of this club but most of all I like the fans and to see them happy makes me happy,so I’m very happy here.”


    When asked about Man Utd showing interest in getting him to manage at Old Trafford in early 70’s



    “There’s nothing wrong with losing your temper for the right reasons.”


    Jock Stein’s advice to Alex Ferguson, as re-told by Alex Ferguson in an interview in Jun 08 who was speaking about his own infamous temper



    “Never fall in love with them, because they’ll two-time you.”


    Alex Ferguson recalling advice from the late Celtic and Scotland manager Jock Stein about relations with players



    “I’m sorry to leave but I just could not be a salesman.”


    Newspaper headline on Jock leaving Celtic after being asked by the board to “move up” to the board level to become in charge of the club pools









    On Lisbon 1967 and Winning the European Cup


    “My time will come!”


    Jock Stein to John Mackenzie of the Scottish Daily Express, prior to European Cup final 1967 after enduring snubs and mind games from opposite number Herrera (Inter Milan Manager)



    Stein’s inspiring pre-match battle cry was:


    “If you’re ever going to win the European Cup, then this is the day and this is the place. But we don’t just want to win this cup, we want to do it playing good football – to make neutrals glad we’ve won it, glad to remember how we did it.”


    Jock Stein before the game 25th May 1967



    “Tell me, the 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock mass are all ticket?”


    Jock Stein joking to Hugh McIlvaney on the surge of Celtic fans coming to Lisbon to see the team play in the European Cup Final (retold by Hugh McIlvaney)



    “I am now going to tell him (Herrera) how Celtic will be the first team to bring the European Cup back to Britain. But it will not help him in any manner, shape or form: we are going to attack as we have never attacked before. Cups are not won by individuals, but by men in a team who put their club before personal prestige. I am lucky – I have the players who do just that for Celtic.”


    Jock Stein 23rd May 1967



    “We must play as if there are no more games, no more tomorrows…”


    Jock Stein, shortly before kick off in Lisbon



    “We don’t just want to win the European Cup. We want to do it playing good football, to make neutrals glad we won it, pleased to remember how we did it.”


    Jock Stein before the European Cup win in 1967



    “Coming here you’ve made history, go out and play to your capability and enjoy yourself.”


    Jock Stein to the players as they were to go out to play in the European Cup Final (1967)




    After wining the European Cup


    “We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football.”


    Jock Stein



    “There is always a time to move on.”


    Jock Stein



    “This team will never be beaten!”


    Jock Stein to Bill Shankly on bus back, overheard by Bertie Auld



    “There is not a prouder man on God’s Earth than me at this moment. Winning was important, aye, but it was the way that we have won that has filled me with satisfaction. We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football. There was not a negative thought in our heads. Inter played right into our hands; it’s so sad to see such gifted players shackled by a system that restricts their freedom to think and to act. Our fans would never accept that sort of sterile approach. Our objective is always to try to win with style.”


    Jock Stein, 1967



    Interviewer : “What a wonderful season!”


    Jock Stein: “Aye, but what do I do next year?”



    “We hope that the next hands on the European Cup are yours.”


    Prophetic words from Jock Stein to Matt Busby in 1967, as he received the BBC Sports team of the year award form him in 1967 (Man U under Matt Busby ended up winning the European Cup in 1968)









    On Scotland


    “‘Old Firm supporters went to internationals to cheer three players, boo two, and ignore the rest!”


    Jock Stein on the Scotland fans in the 1950’s



    “After all, we’re a small country. The Finns and Norwegians, you don’t get them saying ‘We’re going to win the World Cup’.“


    World Cup in Spain 1982 about Scotland fans



    “We do have the greatest fans in the world but I’ve never seen a fan score a goal.”


    Jock Stein



    On others


    “There should be a law against him. He knows what’s happening 20 minutes before anyone else.”


    on Booby Moore, West Ham and England Defender from 1960s, (quote from 1969))



    “I don’t believe everything Bill tells me about his players. If they were that good, they’d not only have won the European Cup but the Ryder Cup, the Boat Race and even the Grand National!”


    on Bill Shankly the then Liverpool Manager











    Quotes about Jock Stein


    “I am proud to say that I knew Jock Stein as a manager, as a colleague and as a friend… he was the greatest manager in British football… men like Jock will live forever in the memory.”


    Alex Ferguson



    “I always thought Jock Stein was the perfect international manager. But you (England) don’t have anyone like that. You don’t have Jock Steins, you’ll never have a Jock Stein.”


    Alex Ferguson



    “He would have been well within his rights to glorify himself in some way but that simply wasn’t Jock’s style. He was also a very intelligent man who played the press brilliantly. I remember one day down at Turnberry, he invited me to join him at the press conference to which he turns up about 10 minutes early and plonks himself down on a chair outside the room. Along come the hacks and Jock starts, just loud enough for them to hear. ‘Here’s such and such coming, big gambler . . . this one’s having it off with so-and-so’. He knew everything about them and they all knew that he knew.”


    Alex Ferguson story about Jock Stein (from RedIssue Man U fanzine)



    “For people like myself, he was the precursor of all the deeds and challenges we needed to aim at and be like Jock Stein. He would never take the praise himself. It was always about the players and how great the team were. That magnanimity tells you everything about him. He always used to say to me to keep your dignity at the end of games. He kept his humility and his feet were always firmly planted on the ground.”


    Alex Ferguson (2008)



    “When I worked as a toolmaker in the middle of winter,” Ferguson, who was a shop steward at the Remington Rand typewriter factory, adds, “I remember touching the steel first thing in the morning. It’s absolutely freezing. You can burn yourself it’s so bloody cold. And yet these people built the best ships in the world. You can over-romanticise these things, but they do have a real part to play in forging a person’s character.”


    Giving them what? “Determination. Then you think of the miners; men such as Stein and Shankly. I remember Stein saying something I think was fantastic. We were driving to Glasgow during the miners’ strike [in the mid1980s] and they were shipping coal in from Belgium, these scab drivers. Big Jock stopped them. He looked at them, and said: ‘I hope you’re proud of yourselves. You’re doing people out of a living.’ None of them said a word. Then he said to me: ‘This is an absolute bloody disgrace. You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have.’ ” Ferguson pauses for a moment. “All of these things congeal in your character. And they never leave you.”


    Alex Ferguson (2008), Interview with The Times



    “It was as if the king had died. In football terms, the king had died.”


    Alex Ferguson on Jock Stein’s death in 1985



    “He came to Celtic not just to manage them, but to battle for them.”


    Archie MacPherson on Jock Stein



    Jock, do you want your share of the gate money or shall we just return the empties?”


    Bill Shankly to Jock Stein after the 1966 CWC tie with Celtic at Anfield



    “John, you’re immortal now!”


    Bill Shankly to Jock Stein in the Dressing room just after they won the European Cup, Jock Stein in turn just laughed… (1967)



    “Stein’s a remarkable man. One of the most remarkable man ever in the game.”


    Bill Shankly on Jock Stein



    “If he has useful players he trains them the right way, and he encourages them to do what they are best at, not to mention the other wee things you need in your game. Jock would then merge these things together. It’s a form of socialism – without the politics of course.”


    Bill Shankly on Jock Stein



    “A great manager, my pal for years. a great man as well,with a heart of gold who’d give his last shilling. Aye, Stein he’s the best!”


    Bill Shankly on Jock Stein



    “The greatest manager in the history of the game. You tell me a manager anywhere in the world who did something comparable, winning the European Cup with a Glasgow District XI.”


    Hugh McIlvaney (journalist) in his documentary “Busby, Stein and Shankly: The Football Men 1997”



    “I adored the man!”


    “There was a tendency to think that Jock would be around forever.”


    “The simple truth that he could bring such intellect to the game.”


    Hugh McIlvanney on Jock Stein (2012, Radio 5 Live Special)



    “John, you’re a Celtic man, you’ll regret it if you don’t go.”


    Gordon Batters (Hibs Doctor) who convinced Jock to go to Celtic as manager (we owe him such a debt) (link)



    “As I head into the Stadio Olimpico three-and-a-half weeks from now, it will be with the hope that the contenders soon to take the field can inhabit the creed expressed by the mighty Jock Stein shortly before he led Celtic to British football’s first victory in the European Cup 42 years ago. “We can be as hard and professional as anybody,” Jock told me, “but I mean it when I say we don’t just want to win this cup. We want to win it playing good football, to make neutrals glad we’ve done it, glad to remember how we did it.””Hugh McIlvaney, on Sunday’s Times on-line.


    “The problem for us is that Big Jock and his players spoiled it for everyone who came after them…”


    Lou Macari, on becoming Celtic Manager (1994)



    ‘I’ve got a vivid memory from 1965, when it was announced he was coming back from Hibs, of Billy McNeill saying, ”Oh thats fantastic! Wait and see how things change now!”.’


    John Divers, 1995 on the return of Jock Stein to the club as manager.



    “Mr Stein was an imposing figure. I was in awe when I first met Mr Stein, and I thought I was all through my playing career. He meant something to every player. Whether or not they liked him as a person he was loved for what he did for their careers. How big an influence was he? How long is a piece of string? He was a nice man. A nice, nice man. You don’t remember the things your dad did to you that were bad. You remember the nice things like Christmas or your birthday. Maybe Mr Stein could give you stick, but it was forgotten outside the dressing room. He taught me so much. He hurried things up for me.”


    Danny McGrain on Jock Stein



    “He had the knowledge; he had that nasty bit that managers must have; and he could communicate. On top of that he was six feet tall, and at times he seemed to get bigger when he was talking to you. He had everything that a great manager needs. Nothing ever went by him. He was the best.”


    Graeme Souness



    “Jock Stein was the greatest manager ever to draw breath. There was no one who came anywhere close to him.”


    Jock Wallace (ex-Rangers manager)



    “I’ll tell you this, a hundred years from today all of us will be forgotten, no matter who we are and how important we think we are. No one will remember us. But Jock Stein will be remembered. He made Celtic, and he was the greatest manager Scotland ever produced. I’m just glad I have such great memories of the man.”


    Pat Crerand



    “Quite often I would go home from training at Barrowfield with bumps and bruises. Training under Big Jock was competitive.”


    Bobby Murdoch



    “Jock Stein put us on the park afraid of no one.”


    Bobby Murdoch



    “Jock had a deep and genuine hatred of drink. He loathed it with real and severe feeling.”


    Bobby Lennox on Jock Stein (2007)



    “I admit to being hyper-sensitive about deliberate agendas as, when Ijoined the BBC more than four decades ago, I found myself in a departmental anti-Catholic, anti-Celtic ethos which I had to fight against; successfully, I have to claim, as Jock Stein became a regular associate of mine as an analyst when previously he would not have been seen dead inside Queen Margaret Drive. This was not done to curry favour at Celtic Park, although the other side of the city thought it was. It was just the right battle to take on for the sake of integrity.”


    Archie MacPherson, The Herald (Nov 2012) (link)



    “I played wi’ people who played for Stein. He knew all his players wife’s & kids names. 1st person to send flowers to family in hospital.”


    John Lambie (Partick Thistle manager and great character)



    “Jock opened the dressing room windows so our opponents could hear us singing Celtic songs”


    Bertie Auld









    Other anecdotes




    I remember during the school holidays me and some of my pals used to walk from the gorbals to celtic park to see the players and get some autograghs i must have been about 9 at the time ,Big Jock gets out his car coming back from barrowfiield,as where the player i asked big jock for his autogragh and he said to me: “hey son wit day yi want ma autogragh fur its they guys there you want to sign yer book.” He gave me a wee pat on the head and a smile ,so away i went to the players for autographs happy as can be.


    (Geezerbhoy of the KStreet forum Apr 2006, source)





    Me and my mate went down to CP on the afternoon of the Dynamo Kiev game ( season 67/68 ), Jock Stein was standing at the front door, I approached him and said that my mate had never seen the EC up close, so was there any chance of a look. The big man looked at my mate and said ” We cannie be hivin that, come wi me the baith ae ye.” He took both of us into the trophy room and showed us the big cup. He spotted someone walking past the room and went after him. He came back a few minutes later with a photographer from the Evening Citizen and told him to take a photo of us with the trophy. He also told the snapper to get our names and addresses and to send us a photo each, (the rotten barsteward never did send them) and added that he would have to go as he was quite busy. We both thanked him and left with a sense of awe.



    To me that was a sign of the mans greatness, on the afternoon of the most important game of the season he could take time out for some fans.


    (From “Ally Les Verts” of the KStreet forum May 2007 Source)





    Another wee story about the big man.



    As I was born and raised just across from Barrowfield training ground a few of us used to go and watch the training sessions. The players played a game whereby they could only touch the ball twice, one to trap/control and then pass.



    This day Tommy Gemmil and Big Yogi had started to argue and Big Jock Stein came over to find out what had happened, it went like this.



    BJS ” Whits gone on here.”


    T.G. ” Yogi’s cheatin, boss , he’s touched the ba’ three times.” (which he did)


    Y. ” Naw ah didnae, boss, he’s makin it up tae get a free kick.”


    BJS ” Carry on Yogi, nae free kick.”


    T.G. ” Ats no fair boss he did touch it mair than he’s sayin.”


    BJS ” Ach everybody knows catholics don’t tell lies.”


    (From “Ally Les Verts” of the KStreet forum May 2007 Source)





    Jim Black told a nice story on Radio Scotland.



    One day after a game, Archie Gemmill, as captain, asked manager Jock Stein “Would it be ok to ask the hotel manager to open the bar?”


    Big Jock looked at him. “Well, you’re the captain. Tell me, do YOU think it would be ok?”


    Gemmill, sensing there was something wrong said nothing.


    He was never selected by Stein again.





    Rangers had just won the league cup one nil the day, and later Jock Stein was walking down Sauchiehall St with esteemed journalist Hugh McIlvaney. Rangers fans passing by goaded the pair. Jock Stein turned to Hugh McIlvaney and highlighted this as what differentiated Celtic fans from Rangers fans. With them it was “We’ve won, you’ve all lost!”. With Celtic fans all are invited to the party! A beautiful story and a wonderful example of the Celtic ethos and culture to contrast against the Huns.


    Story retold by Ian McGarry on Radio 5 Live on 9 July 2012

  12. ElDiegoBhoy on 10th September 2015 2:45 pm











    Do you remember a guy called Tommy Walsh maybe from Levenvale? He was asking my brother about you recently.



    *absolutely, he’s my big Carolina. He just e-mailed me there, hudnae heard fae him for a while. He goes over tae Connemara at least twice a year, just received a t-shirt and ball cap fae him. His grampa was the first Galway man tae settle in Dumbarton.

  13. corkcelt


    Sorry , after I posted that I thought of all those poor guys with their apple phones trying to refresh.


    I suppose a link to the wiki page woulld have sufficed ?




  14. Had a lump in my throat reading those words today Paul.


    Was precisely 1 month and 3 days old when we did it so didnt have a clue about what had just happened.


    Nothing ever cheered my old man up more than talking about the game such was the fondness of his memory for not only winning the match but the manner in which we did it.


    He never failed to mention how fantastic Sarti was and the seemingly endless saves he made until he was so exhausted at 1 point he clung to a post.


    Hail Hail Jock and The Lions.

  15. And the deid team were liquidated all because they tried to emulate Mr. Stein’s achievements and failed miserably. Even allowing for the years of cheating in their favour.

  16. I am Not Lurking Anymore on

    Unfortunately for me big Jock’s last season 77/78 was my first experience of seeing the hoops not the best memory of the big man


    My older siblings were very lucky to see the great teams of the late 60s & early 70s


    Hail Hail big Jock

  17. jimbob71 is praying with wee Oscar on

    God Bless Jock Stein.




    Guys, I know it is mentioned lots on here but I’m looking at Android boxes.



    Which ones do you use and what is the best at a decent price.


    Been offered a MX8 or a MXQ?



    Any help much appreciated.

  18. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on




    Never apologise for a post like that


    Even though I’m using my iPhone. 8))

  19. Tontime Tim @2:21



    Thanks for fleshing out our recollections of that amazing end to a great league race that year. Another great last-minute moment of Celtic ecstasy in that Morton game when we looked like we’d blown 3-in-row, never mind 9!

  20. GuyFawkesaforeverhero on

    A fitting day to remember a Celtic giant. JockSteinaforeverhero.



    I like Simunovic claiming his first team shirt today. Now it’s time to walk the walk, Jozo. Play well and win on Saturday Celts.



    Celtic forever.

  21. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Paul67, smashing piece about the big man and so many great posts thereafter about what Jock as a Celtic man and our greatest ever legend means to each and every one of us.



    For me one word epitomises his acheivements and where he put Celtic in world club football.



    That word is:






    Thank you Jock

  22. Other great last-minute moments of Celtic ecstasy include Sutty v Deidco, Naka v Manure, JVOH v Deidco, Naka v Killie, Macca v Dundee Utd Centenary Year Cup final, Mark McGhee v Jambos semi-final of same year, Stubbsy v Deidco stopped the 10, Murdo 10 men won the league, McGarvey v Dundee Utd ’85, and the runner-up is. . .



    Caesar v Vojvodina Novisad, EC cup QF



    And the winner is, though not really the last minute, but near enough. . . ,



    Stevie Chalmers, to make Big Jock immortal.

  23. The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) today announced that Sky Sports and BT Sport will continue to broadcast live Ladbrokes Premiership matches until the end of season 2019/20.



    The league’s two partner broadcasters already had the right to screen up to 30 live Ladbrokes Premiership matches each per campaign until the end of season 2016/17.



    That was improved upon at today’s SPFL meeting of all 12 Ladbrokes Premiership clubs, when agreement was reached with both Sky Sports and BT Sport to extend their deals by a further three years to the end of season 2019/20. In addition, BT Sport will show up to six Ladbrokes Play-Off matches live per season.



    Sky Sports Managing Director Barney Francis said: “We’re delighted to extend our partnership with the SPFL, taking our coverage of Scottish football to almost 30 years with this deal. The SPFL is a major part of our unrivalled football schedule, in addition to the Scottish Cup and Scotland’s UEFA Euro 2016 and FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers.”



    Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “Over the past two seasons BT Sport has established a fantastic connection to Scottish football, with growing audiences for our televised coverage. With the addition of the popular end of season Play-Offs, BT Sport looks forward to serving Scottish football fans for the next five years with regular league coverage.”



    SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are delighted to extend our relationship with both Sky Sports and BT Sport to the end of season 2019/20 on improved terms. We look forward to continuing to work with Sky Sports and BT Sport to broadcast action from the Ladbrokes Premiership and Ladbrokes Play-Offs for a further three years.”




    Read more at http://spfl.co.uk/news/article/spfl-agrees-new-deal-with-sky-amp-bt/#12IgZXdqdj9RFjS9.99

  24. Dharma Bam,



    I had a classmate in St Michael’s from Dunbar Street, Vincent McClymont. His great claim to fame to us was that his auntie (Sadie, I think) was in the year below him.

  25. 1971, Comodore Hotel in Stonehaven, Celtic had been playing in Aberdeen, and were staying overnight, I was at a wedding, during the afters in walks the Celtic team, Mr Stein instructed all the players to pose for pics and sign autographs, they would have anyways, but it was amazing to see him in action, they all did as instructed and as far as I can recall, they all called him Mr Stein, a few even called him Sir, which he should have been, but as ever, scotland and Celtic don’t mix.



  26. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    My first close up encounter with Big Jock was when he walked into our classroom at St.Columba’s, with two team mates, carrying the Coronation Cup, in 1953.



    My next and last, was in 1977, when I was taken into Celtic Park, with a friend who had access.



    It was the preseason after his accident and Sean Fallon was in charge.


    We were talking to Sean, when the Big Man passed by.



    He looked a shadow of the man that he once had been and I had a sense of never to return.



    Those two encounters, for me, bookended his Celtic career.



    Jock Stein of Celtic. Immortal.

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