CHARLIE GALLAGHER, who played in two games en route to Celtic’s historic European Cup triumph in Lisbon on May 25 1967, has passed away at the age of 80.
It was the cultured midfielder who curled over a perfect right-wing corner-kick for skipper Billy McNeill to climb high to net the winner against Yugoslav cracks Vojvodina in the quarter-final of the glorious campaign.
A nerve-shredding encounter was stalemated at 1-1 on aggregate with a third game scheduled to take place in Rotterdam when Gallagher raced over to take the award. He thought about taking a short one, thankfully changed his mind and then swirled in a pinpoint delivery for his captain to head into the net.
The rest, as they say, is history.
It was Charlie who also delivered the accurate left-wing corner-kick that enabled McNeill to thump in the Scottish Cup Final clincher against Dunfermline in April 1965. The match was heading for a replay – there was no extra-time back then – when the skiful playmaker sent another exquisite set-piece into the mix to pick out his centre-half. Once again, the club legend made no mistake as he directed a header into the Fife net to make it 3-2 to claim the Parkhead club’s first piece of silverware in eight years.
It was the start of something good.
PROUD BHOYS…Celtic players with the 1965 Scottish Cup. Back row (left to right): Ian Young, Tommy Gemmell, John Fallon, Bobby Murdoch, John Hughes and John Clark. Front row: Stevie Chalmers, Charlie Gallagher, Billy McNeill, Bobby Lennox and Bertie Auld.
Author Alex Gordon told CQN: “The last time I spoke to Charlie he was struggling to remember some details.
“However, he could well remember both those moments as though they were yesterday. Actually, I told him his last kick of the ball on the way to conquering Europe was that corner-kick against Vojvodina.
“He smiled and said: ‘Tell me about it!’ I’ll always fondly remember him as a superb team player and a genuinely nice bloke off the pitch.
“Although he was born in the Gorbals district of Glasgow, my birthplace, too, he played twice for the Republic of Ireland which really pleased him. He was also a cousin of Pat Crerand and they were at Celtic at the same stage before the latter moved to Manchester United in 1963.
“Rest in peace, Charlie. My thoughts are with his family.”
MOMENTS FROM GLORY…Charlie Gallagher (No.8) watches as Billy McNeill heads in the Scottish Cup winner in 1965.
JOY BHOYS…Celtic players celebrate their 1965 Scotish Cup Final triumph with Charlie Gallagher (second right) sandwiched in between Bobby Lennox and John Fallon.
A statement from Celtic read: Everyone at Celtic Football Club is extremely sad to hear of the death of Charlie Gallagher, who has passed away at the age of 80, and the thoughts and prayers of the whole Celtic Family are with Charlie’s wife, Mary, his children and grandchildren, and all his family and friends.
Charlie’s contribution to his beloved Celtic over 12 years was immense, and having joined the club in 1958, he would become an integral part of the squad which achieved great things both in Scotland and in Europe under the stewardship of Jock Stein.
He made his debut on August 22, 1958 in a League Cup tie against Raith Rovers, a match that Celtic won 1-0, and it would be the first of 171 appearances he would make for the Hoops, scoring 32 goals in the process before he left in 1970.
During that time, Charlie made a massive contribution to the club’s achievements, and also made international football history as the first Scottish-born player to represent the Republic of Ireland.
He played a key part in two pivotal moments for Celtic – delivering the corner which Billy McNeill headed home to win the 1965 Scottish Cup, a triumph which set Jock Stein’s Celtic on the road to unprecedented success.
HEADS I WIN…Billy McNeill powers in the 1965 Scottish Cup clincher against Dunfermline – courtesy of a left-wing corner-kick from Charlie Gallagher.
ACTION REPLAY…Billy McNeill watches his header soar into the Vojvodina net in March 1967 – with Charlie Gallagher again the provider from an inch-perfect se-piece.
Two years later, the same duo combined to see off Vojvodina in the quarter-final of the European Cup and take the Hoops a closer to European glory, and Charlie was one of those who narrowly missed out on a place in the starting XI for the final in Lisbon. Yet, he celebrated that triumph with his team-mates and has always been rightly acknowledged as part of the Lisbon Lions squad.
That Vojvodina game was just one of many European nights that Charlie experienced, going all the way back to Celtic’s first ever European tie against Valencia in 1962.
Domestically, he won the clean sweep of Scottish honours – league, Scottish Cup and League Cup while, in February 1967, Jock Stein made him captain for a Scottish Cup tie against Elgin City in recognition of his achievement in playing for the Republic of Ireland.
Charlie was a great Celt who was also a great Celtic supporter, willing the team on to further success and always humble about his achievements.
Charlie Gallagher was a hugely popular figure amongst the Celtic support, who always recognised him as one of their own. His many achievements for Celtic Football Club will always be remembered.
The Celtic players will wear black armbands on Wednesday night when they play Bristol City as a mark of respect for the Celtic great.