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. Dallas



    Have been very busy with loads of wee jobs in Julie’s new house in Knightswood. Unfortunately a huge garden to tend. :)

  2. BRTH (Jim)



    I made it clear to Paul that it was a misunderstanding, with no malice intended, but I appreciate your acceptance of my concern and my reason for bothering him.


    Hope you’re feeling better tomorrow.



    Hail Hail!

  3. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Delaney’s ,that Penarol game was one of the last games my dad took me to.



    I’m sure I only went to about four games with him after that. He had arthritis in both hips and was finding it difficult to stand at games. He refused to go to the stand as his preference was to stand and for some reason, didn’t like those who went to the stand.



    We won three nil or three one with George McCluskey on the score sheet.

  4. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Delaney’s, I hope your were getting paid as much as that gardening leave chancer in the news today.

  5. Absolutely quintessential CQN tonight.



    Real life people remembering and sharing brilliant Celtic and family moments.



    All of you.



    Keep it lit.

  6. NegAnon2 – hope you are well.



    Why would Paul mislead us on the transfer fees or anything else?



    That view is paranoia verging on the stuff available to read on the zombie forums, for those with a strong enough constitution to delve in there.



    Let’s just say an eye is kept on these by us – for various reasons, one being to watch out for insanity aimed in Paul’s direction. While doing this you get to see just how mad their notions are.



    The other day they were reflecting that Rangers (sic) would definitely beat Scotland and would probably have got the better of Germany the other night. They were also suggesting that their English based manager could be brought in to give Gordon Strachan coaching tips ahead of the next two games.



    Don’t be scared of them. They are not in our league.



    CQN maybe has a certain degree of influence at the club and if this is ever exercised by Paul to the support’s advantage then surely all is good. It can also be exercised by others like BRTH, Auldheid, Hamiltontim and many others, not just Paul. All are good Celtic men, just like you, me and the vast majority on this fine place.



    I have never known Paul to be less than 100% straight, fair and honest in conducting his business around the blog. You may disagree with him but surely to question his integrity is unfair? I can also tell you with some certainty that 99% of the time what you read in the MSM is seldom based on facts, and this giving ‘facts’ to the media are usually agenda driven. Celtic don’t do it.



    On other matters, been out tonight and just back. On checking emails, there’s one from Paul who reckons he’s got to the bottom of our recent server hassles. Hopefully the problems will be resolved shortly or I’ll not be able to show my face at the CQN Corner next week. Cowiebhoy is going to get me!

  7. Dallas



    Funnily, my son’s two mates are doing work in the gardeners house just now. They are both Tims and are being treated very well and paid well by Mr sleekit. :)

  8. Neg2 @ 10.11



    CQN is astro turf.


    P67 is a fully paid up element of PL’s social media strategy.


    In fact P67 is so heavily involved he probably had the original idea.



    However it offers a great platform to discuss the club, celebrate its successes and commiserate its losses. The crowd is in the lead with the board friendly articles widely derided.



    I only have to mention one word — Amortisation — to explain CQN’s strengths and weaknesses.



    Currently waiting for the 14/15 accounts to come out to see how bad things are going forward. Club is currently treading water. Not sure how this is all going to end up — the half filled stadium milestone might already be behind us.



    However bring on the Sheep.


    We will know a lot more come Sunday.

  9. WC @ 10.39



    P67 is part of the establishment.


    CQN is a semi official conduit for PL’s propaganda and misinformation.

  10. So he was mortal.


    Lot of folk in my seventy plus age group would contest that.


    He took us places we never dreamt possible.

  11. BRTH



    Apologies for delay in responding, that Auldheid supplied me with some serious reading there :-)


    Heartfelt sympathy on having to travel through Plean :-) ( mind you I do believe we have poster who lives there – sadly)


    Winning Captains – I’ll just send big J round to your hoose :-)


    Where is that big J incidentally


    TET, last time I passed through Stonehaven, the land where the hotel stood was still vacant – so clear view of Cowie :-) prefer the one in Stirling mind



    Hail Hail and Nytol

  12. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Delaney’s, those two tims getting paid ,indirectly, courtesy of sevco. That’s put a smile on my coupon.



    Its been enjoyable no seeing sleekit on the telly for a good while but all good things come to an end if he is getting a job with BT sport.



    His post match match discussion will be naff in relation to any given by Gordon.



    It sums up the media turning to a rubbish and failed football manager , thanks for the laughs Sally, as he is a personality.



    Good night all and sleep well.

  13. ha ha ha ….





    IBROX chief King says he plans to take Rangers Oldco out of liquidation and put an end to the bating of the fans by their rivals.



    Dave King wants to rescue the Rangers Oldco


    DAVE KING has lifted the lid on his plan to rescue Rangers Oldco from liquidation and return the club to the condition it was in before the financial meltdown of 2012.



    King – who has returned to Glasgow from South Africa to head up the club’s next board meeting – dropped the bombshell during a round of interviews at Ibrox yesterday and insists there is a legal mechanism in place which could unwind all the damage done to the club since its collapse under Craig Whyte.



    With liquidators BDO continuing to pursue millions of pounds worth of damages on behalf of the creditors who were left around £50m out of pocket, there is now at least an outside possibility that enough cash could be recouped to pay that sum back in full.





    And while the process of reversing the liquidation of any distressed company – let alone one which is currently at the centre of a cluster of high profile legal cases – would be extraordinarily complex, King insists it can be done.



    He said: “We have a vision going forward where I would like to see us taking Oldco out of liquidation and putting assets back into Oldco – putting Rangers back into the old company. We can’t do it while all this stuff is being sorted out.



    “It would be a good thing to do. It would be back to the traditional Rangers. I think the supporters would like it. It is not economically important but it is something I would like to do. It would provide a sense of closure.




    “You can never rewind what has happened but in 100 years’ time you might look back and say there was a blip of four or five years in Rangers’ history when this all happened and it was resolved to the norm again.



    “It is practically feasible and legally feasible. We just have to get in the position where the liquidators have done everything they can. The club can then be rehabilitated.”



    Liquidators BDO have already clawed back more than £25m in an out of court settlement with lawyers Collier Bristow and are expected to make even more big money litigation claims in the future.



    SNS GroupDave King wants to put an end to the Rangers fans being tauntedDave King wants to put an end to the Rangers fans being taunted


    And while King – himself a creditor of oldco to the tune of £1.4m – insists he wants everyone to be repaid in full he also admits to being motivated by a desire to bring to an end three years of merciless bating of the Rangers support by their rivals.



    He added: “ It’s an emotional thing as well with the supporters. They hear all this, ‘you’re not Rangers any more’. And ‘You are a new club.’



    “We just want to put all that behind us and say we had this unwanted period and now we are back to where we were. I think it would be a good thing.”

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

    MadMitch on 10th September 2015 10:46 pm



    I predict an amortisation write down to supress profits . £4m done last year.



    It will be interesting if they try to play with the cash at bank balance at year end, like they did last year.



    Numbers never lie, but they can certainly be manipulated :-)







  15. Good evening winnings. i am well. Hope you are too.



    Couple of things. I am not afraid of the Huns. However I think it would be folly to believe that Celtic are getting stronger. Quite the reverse we are getting weaker. The lies we have been told about strengthening each window blah blah blah are lies. The club is repeatedly lying to its support. Do you dispute that?



    On the transfer cost for our new defender. Do you believe he cost Celtic £5.5m? I do not believe that to be remotely believable. So how is it okay for cqn to tell is this is our biggest spending window etc.



    It should be a good thing that cqn has some influence. Buts it’s surely a bad thing if all cqn does is the bidding of the board and I have to say it increasingly feels like that.



    I think those who run Celtic genuinely believe they are doing an absolutely fab job.mbut I think that just goes to show how completely out of touch they are.



    I think my question about why cqn appear to be misleading the support is a fair one.



    I know the msm talk nonsense and I laughed my head of last week at daily record telling us that we paid £5.5m and how Celtic really really tried so hard not to sell VVD. It’s just nonsense and it just goes to show that Celtic are not beyond using the msm themselves.



    I would be delighted to be proven wrong on the £5.5m but I won’t be holding my breath.



    Now I know this is pretty challenging but hey it’s a public forum and I am not being abusive. I’m just asking some questions.

  16. Dad…



    Did Sally not learn his lesson the last time he had workmen in…did his ex missus not end up in gardening duties with the gardener?



    Funny how things work out.

  17. Dallas



    Even better, they are both Knightswood protestant Bhoys. Being well fed every break. Dream job. :)

  18. Sounds like Dave King has been on the sauce.



    “reviving oldco”



    “putting club back into oldco”



    “stop all them slaggin us off”.



    He’s even crazier than Our Hero.

  19. Winnings I have just read that article by jingle jangle. You honestly can’t even dream up the nonsense they come away with. Now they are genuinely saying that they can raise the dead. It’s such nonsense but in Scotland history is being rewritten already.

  20. Celticrollercoaster Celtic have done the old amortisation trick or created special reserves or magical exceptional costs every year since I remember. I have been telling people on cqn that for over a decade.



    We are simply being shafted.

  21. WC…



    If that is the case re: bringing oldco back and rejuvenate their old name…who is this team that call themselves the Rangers?



    I would like to thank king for more ammo to nail the huns :)

  22. Neg Anon/ crc/ MadMitch



    re: “Celtic have done the old amortisation trick or created special reserves or magical exceptional costs every year since I remember”



    What happens to the actual money (as opposed to the book valuation) which is hidden away in sections called special reserves or magical expectational costs?



    Is it being stolen from us, hidden from us or just kept in reserve until needed?



    Or is it paying for all our secret EBTs? :-)

  23. Just one night of sharing Celtic stories and jocks glories would have been good.



    Just once.



    But they couldn’t let it lie.

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




    Lets sort that beer out with the paperwork and I will show you how,



    Take care







  25. DD



    I am no body language expert but, I am sure I read when someone is glib, shameless,



    They go skelly when telling lies.



    Which seems to be all the time for the king.

  26. Hey Rye, hows it goin ?


    Hows the mighty pool doin ?


    Are your Villa mates Ok ?


    Is the golf treating you well ?


    Why are you anti Irish ?




    Me, am off to bed, things to do early doors, so sleep well Timland.


    Take care and god bless



  27. BRTH…



    I have many friends that are rangers fans, they know where I come from as I do them.



    Just ask George what nickname they have for me in work, some that I have no time for obviously add on expletives when referring to me.



    It’s water off a ducks back to me, I’ll chose who I’m friends with no matter the religion, colour or creed.



    An arsehole will be one no matter what!



    Keep the long posts coming, Thomas chucks them halfway through. :) HH



    Beat bhoy….



    I read the posts, yours was just banter, one of the reasons I come on here. HH

  28. SFTB the idea is to depress profits and I suspect that’s to make sure us pesky supporters don’t get too demanding. It’s also why the tee, net bank debt was introduced. To allow us to stockpile cash but make it look like we aren’t.



    Quite why we are doing it is a bit of a mystery. It could be because they think this is what they need to do to protect the company until the Hun get up. Or it could be to create an, ahem, war chest for when the Hun get up (though I doubt it) or it could be that PL has been given the task to,create a reserve by DD and that’s why he is getting super duper bonuses over and above his contractual entitlement (which was pretty extrodinary and a sign of very poor corporate governance at CP).



    Your guess is as good as mine. I am not suggesting anything illegal but it’s certainly not the behaviour of an ambitious football club or even just a normal football club.