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. glendalystonsils on

    I remember having a conversation with my late Dad at the time Jock was appointed. It went something along the lines of………….”I don’t see him being able to do much with that team”. It was probably an opinion many would have agreed with.


    We could not possibly have known that we were on the cusp of the greatest period in Celtic’s history.


    I had only followed the bhoys through the last few of those lean years but my dad had been with them all the way through.


    I feel privileged to have been a Celtic supporter during that golden age but I’m even more pleased, looking back, that my dad was repaid a million times over for his devotion to the team during those lean years.


    The lions were some team but they wouldn’t have been half the team without Jock Stein.

  2. P67



    I have never saw that picture, cheers, I know virtually nothing personally of Jock Stein, apart from my fathers stories, growing up the Jock Stein cup at Cliftonhill was the nearest I got, anyway, maybe my ignorance is bliss I am usually good with dates but didn’t realise it was on this date that night happened, I remember it vividly but as if it didn’t happen (if that makes sense)….


    but I had a wee chuckle at that picture, Keevins and co always said you when talking about Neil (going on the park at hampden) Jock was a “real” Celtic manager, you wouldnt catch him acting like that, a picture could tell a million stories but for me Jock, like Neil wore his heart on his sleeve, not comparing them as managers just good Celtic men !

  3. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    The old SPIN machine seems to be going into overdrive on sevco …… the pressure / realisation must be building ……duping the fans into giving them more and more of their money to keep the sinking ship from finally submerging altogether…. Hahahahahahaha

  4. Thanks BMCUW @ 7:52 PM,



    Are you going? Celtic U21 v Chelsea U21, Friday, December 4, Electrical Services Stadium, (Aldershot Town’s ground); KO: 7.05pm



    Of course, Chelsea in a squaddie town might be a bit of a gamble – but I’m advised it really is a nice town. And you could see a few of the young bhoys – Aiden Nesbitt?



    Hail Hail

  5. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on





    Sorry, I never noticed that gaff….. “fan of mine” should have read friend of mine!



    I have been in for a small operation today so must be the drugs — can’t see can’t read can’t type.



    Beatbhoy — I knew you were just joshing and was only saying that I happen to know a lot of Gers fans with interesting stories to tell and perspectives to give. I didn’t think there was anything sinister in it and sorry if it looked as though I was taking things too seriously.



    Still hadn’t noticed the typo though.






    I never knew what happened to Timmy Teague or where he ended up.



    There were quite a few in the school like Ronny Fraser whse entire experience of life was going to the school, getting a degree and coming back to the school to teach which should never have been allowed.



    Years later my mother told me a story about coming to a parents night and being met by one of the teachers at the school with whom she had taught years earlier at St Augustine’s in the Milton.



    All the teahcers were seated at tables in the gym hall but this guy met her in the corridor.



    I won’t reveal his name but he was a different generation to Ronny and his ilk.



    He greeted my mother with the following words:



    ” Hello Kathleen, lovely to see you. Now, which of these idiotic B@@@@@D’s would you like to speak to first?”

  6. Embramike posted this earlier



    Interesting paragraph frm STV’s blurb about our new No 5 …



    The 21-year old Croatian defender put pen to paper on a deal at Parkhead on transfer deadline day, just hours after Virgil van Dijk moved to Southampton.



    Croatian sources also claim the price tag could rise to €5.5 million if he proves to be an unqualified success in Glasgow.



    So it could rise to 5.5 million EUROS not £ , which is equivalent to £4m and then only if he is an unqualified success.



    So here is the thing CQN.



    Paul in his article when the transfer window was closing claimed this was the biggest spending window since BBJ joined. And a quote was going around about us spending £5.5m on our new defender.



    Now I knew it was guff but the article from the STV I believe proves it was guff.



    So cqn. And so Paul.



    Why are we being lied to? What motive would Paul have to do that? Or is the report wrong?



    I would think it would be a pretty serious thing that the incumbents of cqn were being misled?








    As for the glib and shameless liar well he is a tube. But what he is right about is that they will compete because Celtic are making sure they do. Sad isn’t it? Funny how cqn appears to be helping that process…….

  7. That contract negotiations timeline in full.





    Battle of the Boyne


    Dec 2014


    McOist leaves the tent to tend to his frozen garden


    May 2015


    GSL appointed Chairman


    Sept 10th, 2015


    “Agreement could have been reached earlier but it has been difficult for us to get an opportunity to sit together and talk everything through.”



    Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun Dave?


    What do they wash this nonsense down with? Really

  8. Mr Stein – thank you for everything you gave us Celtic fans



    Glad you’re keeping wee Oscar company up there :-)



    Nice to see ACGR and Delaneys Dunky back posting today, or is it ? :-)



    TET from earlier, the Commodore hotel in Stonehaven, I spent the 2nd night of my honeymoon Oct 1984 there, as I toured Scotland before heading to South Africa.


    You will remember Cowie caravan site and beach just across the road :-)



    Hail Hail

  9. Neg … 2 @ 9’ish



    Follow the money.


    €5.5 mill tops is one thing.


    €5mill in fees to the club.


    €0.5mill as a 10% signing on fee.



    Read somewhere that we paid £2.8mill for the player before add ons.


    Looking like that would equate to €4mill at the going exchange rate.


    Only issue then did this include the signing on fee?



    At least this deal seems more credible than the AV farrago.


    What was the price widely quoted on here?



    £1.5mill is my memory of this sorry tale.


    Not sure the milestones that had to be attained to generate that figure.



    Some of the wags on here suggested that AV had to win the Ayr Gold Cup for the final £375K to be due. Not sure if poor AV would be the jockey or the …

  10. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on




    I passed through your fair village today on the way to yon big hospital in Larbert – the one the satnav can never find without taking me to Helensburgh via Panama, Partick , Pamplona and Plean!



    I can always find my way back easy enough but getting there is a nightmare though I think I have it sussed.



    Hope yer well.

  11. brth



    See you’re on. See also that, under cover of the night, Sky and BT have continued, or exercised some kind of an option on, sponsoring/broadcasting the SPFL through to 2019-20. I’m guessing Celtic had some kind of a vote. Puts paid to any kind of innovation for five years. Be interested in your’s and anyone else’s thoughts on this. My own are unprintable.

  12. Neganon



    No one will ever call you a hypocrite, no chance! Haha.


    Drumchapel disnae breed that type. :)

  13. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Jamie Murray in the final of the US Open Doubles.



    Well done son!

  14. Celticrollercoaster supporting Shay,our bhoy wonder along the way on

    Thanks to all those that have helped Shay along the way so far, but we still have work to do.



    CQN badges and cufflinks now on pre-order. First 2 pictures are badges, third pic will be cufflinks







    Badges £5ea and cufflinks £8 a pair.



    Order at cqnbadges@gmail.com



    Last Man Standing 5 also starting soon, so watch this space. A competition that is dead easy! Pick 1 team each week to win at footie and scoop the jackpot when everybody around you has failed. Cost to enter £10, with a 50% payout jackpot to that last (wo)man standing!



    Register at cqnlastmanstanding@gmail.com



    And something very, very, very, special and unique coming soon. Never been done before and unlikely every to be done again.



    …… All to help a special wee bhoy and his young family get a chance of a decent life. How could you resist?











    ps Big thanks to Doc, Bundoran Bhoy, Jobo, GL2.AndyF and Paul67-you all know why!

  15. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Celtic Mac



    Yes I saw that but don’t know the details of the deal although it is reportedly on improved terms!



    I will look into it though.



    What I do know is that Ralph Topping, Peter Lawwell, Mike Mulrainy and others were all shouting for a better deal with all the broadcasters and had been tryng to explore a deal with Netflix and others.



    However, as at May/June time Sky and BT were the only bidders.



    I see some on twitter tonight saying that they are cancelling the Sky subscription until such times as that company invests properly in Scottish Football in proportion to the number of Sky customers in Scotland.

  16. Madmitch the key question that the inhabitants of cqn need to ask is whether it is okay for CQN to mislead us?



    Genuinely? Is it?

  17. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Brogan, about a year after Timmy was expelled , i was leaving Cenral and bumped into him



    He was relieved not to be at school any longer and was still as daft . After I said cheerio to him, he shouted out, something I can’t post on here, much too my embarrassment and to the amusement of passers by.



    As far as I am aware , he still lives in the ML postal area.



    The former teacher at St Augustine’s was very honest haha.



    My physics teacher in fourth year was one those teachers you mentioned. He was the super Sally of the teaching world.

  18. Cowiebhoy


    The Commodore would have been getting to the end of it’s life by then, it was a short lived adventure.


    The first job I had was as a commie chef there when it first opened in 1969, always wanted to be a chef, hated every minute of it, lasted nine months, decided that being a spark was the better option.


    I well remember the caravan park :-)



  19. Bankie Moone



    On TV there.



    Is he one of the kilbowie moones , or the duntocher wans.



    Was anyone in school with him ?



    With timothy teague






    peter sharpsoot

  20. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Sipsini, the summer of 1976 was the best , weather wise, I can remember.



    The day after the pre season friendly against Penarol that year, my family went to Santa Ponsa on holiday.



    A sign of how hot it was here, my dad told me it was hotter in Glasgow by a few degrees than it was when we arrived in Santa Ponsa.



    The eggs baked onto the windscreen incident happened around 1978. The alleged perpetrator is now a priest.

  21. It was a dreich February Monday morning as I made my way to Balloch Station with my da; this was unusual as our relationship at the time was a bit strained. If the truth be told I was acting like an eejit at the time, growing my hair long, drinking cheap wine and running with the wrong crowd.



    He normally got a lift from an acquaintance but that morning he opted to take the train as he wanted a wee word with me outwith the maternal protection I would have got at home.



    He stopped into the Tourist House and picked up the Express, his main passion being horse racing he pulled the supplement out as we were passing St Kessogs.



    Just as we were crossing Balloch Bridge he held the front page open and said “look at this”, the headlines were of the return of Big Jock to Celtic, unfortunately the sub title commented on him being Celtic’s first protestant manager, “I hate that stuff son” he said, “I don’t care if he’s a heathen Chinese as long as he brings us a winning team”.



    I at that time was working with the nation’s top house builder on a site called Wester Duntiglennan up in the holy village of Duntocher. The majority of apprentices were Jungle Jims and we were bouncing with the news that morning. At last a light at the end of the tunnel.



    Jock arrived for business on Monday’ March 8 two days after we had eliminated Killie 3-2 in the Scottish Cup ¼ Finals (the last time we would wear the Shamrock strip) while he managed Hibs to a 2-1 victory over the now deid team.



    Now let’s be perfectly honest here after the first blush of a 5-0 victory against Airdrie other than the Cup results his record was pretty dismal including heavy defeats at Brockville and East End Park as he tinkered with the side. But we didn’t care as we knew this was going to be the start of something big.



    Out went fan favourites like Jim Kennedy and Johnny Divers, a young red heided temperamental winger was also left out on occasion and was replaced by Charlie Gallagher for the Final.



    That glorious April day I saw grown mhen greetin including my da who I met outside the stadium after the game, still no happy with me but the joy of a Celtic win allowed us the opportunity to hug each other.



    That summer we revelled in the green hills of Duntocher as we looked forward to the coming season with Joe McBride added to the side.



    There was a crusty oul hun working there who couldn’t hide his hatred of us, “Ah don’t care what you all say, this is the same team that’s done nothing for years and a fluky cup win isnae going tae change that” he said. Oh how I wish I had been there 2 years later.



    Season 65/66 didnae get off to a good start as we lost 2 of the first 3 League Cup games to both Dundee sides, the 2nd one a home loss.



    However, in between the Cup games the League opener always occurred and back up to Tannadice we went this time winning 4-0 with the recalled John Divers scoring the 1st goal in our 9-in-a-row run.



    Except for a 1-2 loss at ayebroke where Jock for some unexplainable reason left Joe McBride out of the side we never looked back.



    Some Celtic supporters claim the Scottish Cup win in 1965 was the catalyst for the Big Cup and NIAR, not this wee mhan; I believe the 2-1 League Cup win over the zombies to be that. This was our first cup final win over them since October 19th 1957 and our 1st cup win since February 28th 1959.



    Jock set our stall early when Ian Young dumped arch hun and hay fever medication aficionado wullie johnson on the running track early doors to show we were no longer going to be intimidated by the likes of greig, mckinnon and provan, the latter 2 conceding the penalties that would win us the cup. A recalled Jinky tore big provan a proverbial new one that afternoon.



    This was also the day the huns rioted at the end, we didnae care as “the Bhoys were back in town”.



    The Big Mhan gave us our pride back and left us with countless memories.



    Now this may upset the PC brigade but a ditty at that time based on the Heinz baked bean commercial went like this:



    “A million Catholics every day


    Pick up their rosary beads and say


    Stein, Stein, Stein”.



    30 year ago today I was over on holiday and although not being a fan of the national side I wandered up tae a local pub, which fronts the same road we had walked down 20 year before, tae watch the game; my da who also had little time for the country’s side came with me.



    We had come full cycle, he now retired and me with 3 weans and the 1st of 6 grandweans.

  22. Just 2 things, neither related to Celtic.



    1. Well done James McClean for sponsoring a new set of jerseys for his local GAA Club in the Creggan..



    2. Throw mud and it sticks. 3 well known Republicans were picked up in North Belfast and questioned about a recent murder. I happen to know one of them. A Celtic Supporter who I have been to Glasgow for games with. Their arrests were totally unjustified and politically motivated. They have now been released and are going to sue for unlawful arrest. A lot has changed in the North but a lot remains the same.

  23. BRTH



    A misunderstanding, but I’ve asked Paul to delete your post at 7:58, because, read in isolation, as it might be by people who look out for your usually excellent posts, it might, unintentionally of course, give the impression that I object to people having friends/acquaintances who are Sevco fans, which would misrepresent me completely.



    Hail! Hail!

  24. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    The Celtic Charity Foundation has just won an award at the Inspiring the City awards.



    Best Corporate Social Responsibility Award winners – well done to Tony and the team.

  25. It was around this time (9.30pm) 30 years ago today I learned of the tragic passing of Big Jock. I was 15 and it was dreadful news to have to come to terms with. I watched the highlights of the 2-1 win over Inter earlier as I do from time to time. It should have been 8-1 for Celtic. Decent goalie was Sarti of Inter… Jock. Thank you for making my club the first in the uk to become the champions of Europe and all the records you gave Celtic in all the domestic success you delivered to Paradise. The front facade at Parkhead runs from the south-East to the north-west. At the top of The Celtic Way stands the eternal statue of Big Jock holding The European Champions Cup. He holds it sternly facing west in the direction of Ibrox. A permanent reminder to every sevconian of our historical status in Europe and one that they will NEVER come even close to. Big Jock- “Gu Brath Na Chriadhe Le Goal” (forever in our hearts with love) -x-

  26. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    Beatbhoy on 10th September 2015 10:20 pm



    Well I would sincerely hope that no oe would take that inference as clearly that was not what was intended and it certainly wasn’t what I drew from it.



    Happy for anything that potentially causes an issue to be deleted.






    BRTH (Jim)

  27. Dallas



    Remember that Penarol game well. East Fife with South American style.


    First time I saw Tommy Burns.

  28. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Delaney’s ,welcome back from one of your sycophants (anyone who likes you is one according to a post a week or so ago).



    Hope you are well and you must have had some hangover from your daughter’s wedding celebrations to have a break from posting.

  29. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan supports Oscar Knox, MacKenzie Furniss and anyone else who fights Neuroblastoma on

    oe is one – really can’t type so should go to bed.

  30. Ooops just had a senior moment there, 1st grandwean was born 8 years later, her mother was still in high school then.