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‘CELTIC IN EUROPE? LESSONS FROM A LION.’ by Birthday Bhoy, BOBBY LENNOX

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BOBBY LENNOX is a Birthday Bhoy today as he celebrates being 72 years young. Everyone on CQN would like to wish this genuine Celtic legend all the best on his big day.
To mark the occasion, Celtic Quick News has been given permission to reproduce Bobby’s chapter from the Lisbon Lions 40th Anniversary book written and edited by Alex Gordon and published in 2007. This book is out of print so if you have a copy cherish it!
By BOBBY LENNOX, LISBON LION…

I RECKON Stevie Chalmers did Inter Milan’s players a massive favour when he stuck that winning goal in their net with only five minutes remaining in Lisbon. Really, the Italians should have overtaken any Celtic player in the race to congratulate Stevie.

If that game had gone to an extra 30 minutes we would have hammered them, believe me. I am utterly convinced we would have notched up a scoreline that would have embarrassed the Italians. They were out on their feet nearing the end of that wonderful game. They were shattered after chasing shadows for 85 minutes and they didn’t look as though they were up for some of the same in a bout of extra-time. It would only have been a matter of time before we scored again and the way we were playing that day I don’t think we would have known how to take our foot off the gas. We wouldn’t have had the inclination, either. We would just have kept on going, no matter what the score might have been.OvSKd3xYVqwIhdzPudi_1QXDdUadWCGMExPIaNLmaBw

Their goal had led a somewhat charmed life although, to be fair, their keeper, Giuliano Sarti, should have got some sort of individual medal for his bravery as he kept the scoreline respectable. But even he would have capitulated in the event of another half-hour. He simply couldn’t have replicated his efforts in the regulation time. So, when Stevie sidefooted that one in from six yards, it put Inter Milan out of their misery. That is not meant to sound big-headed or arrogant. Anyone who knows me will tell you that is certainly not my style. I’m just stating a fact. The Italians were on the verge of collapse. Meltdown was minutes away. I think the stretcher-bearers might have been working overtime during any extra-time period. Thankfully, we didn’t need it.

Our fitness levels in Lisbon were awesome. We were primed and ready to go. The hard work, the preparation, the dedication and the resilience all came together at the right time and we were unstoppable. Jock Stein always demanded a lot from his players. He never asked anyone to do something he didn’t believe was in their locker, but when he did order you to do something, he expected you to give it your undivided attention and 100 per cent commitment. Our tactics in Lisbon were basically quite simple. He looked at Willie Wallace, Stevie Chalmers and myself and said: “Keep on moving, make runs for the midfielders coming through. Take defenders with you, continue to make space for others.” He might have added: “If you want to chuck in a goal or two, then fine!”

We were a very mobile team. There was a lot of pace about the place and another thing that was very important and must have worried Inter Milan manager Helenio Herrera when he watched us or had his spies looking at us was the fact that the goals were spread throughout the team. The side did not rely on me to score. Or Stevie. Or Wispy. With the exception of Ronnie Simpson in goal, of course, and John Clark, as our defensive rock, everyone else was capable of getting a goal or two. Tommy Gemmell, to my mind, was an exceptional left-back. He revolutionised that position in our team. Funnily enough, for a guy who was principally a defender, he used to admit he couldn’t tackle too well. He didn’t have to, other teams used to fear him as he bombed forward, threatening to use that mighty right peg of his.

I could go through the team. Jim Craig might not have claimed many goals, but he certainly set up his fair share. Bobby Murdoch could score goals from distance. Billy McNeill was known to get the odd headed goal or two. Bertie Auld knew where the opposition’s net was. Jimmy Johnstone, Willie Wallace, Stevie Chalmers and myself were always good for double figures during the season. If I had been Herrera I would have wondered how to stop this side. The Italians were big fans of man-marking, of course, but how on earth do you man-mark an entire team? Running through that line-up it is still fairly difficult to believe we had played so defensively against Dukla Prague in the Czechoslovakian capital to get to Lisbon in the first place.

I think, after four decades, I am about to become the first man to give Dukla huge credit for how they performed against us. Yes, Big Jock had come up with a strategy that was foreign to all of us and we were going to make sure the backdoor was bolted firmly shut. My pal, the Wee Man, just about played the entire game standing beside Cairney at right-back. I spent an awful lot of my 90 minutes keeping Big Tommy company over on the left. That’s not exactly how it was planned. Dukla, a fine team, pinned us back for lengthy periods of that game. They took control in front of their own fans and they made a real contest of it. They made it hectic for all of us and we were forced to defend to the very end. The only guy who wasn’t given any defensive duties that day was Stevie Chalmers. I remember Big Jock telling him: “Chase everything.” And, you know, he did. From start to finish, Stevie put himself about all over the place. The Czech defenders must have hated the sight of him. He never gave them a moment’s rest. He was a one-man forward line. Somehow, it seemed so fitting that Stevie should get the winning goal against Inter. He earned it with his exhausting stint in Prague.JS37445971

People often ask me what was my favourite goal in that European Cup run. Well, it wasn’t one of mine! As it happens, I only scored two, in both legs of our 6-2 aggregate win over Nantes in the Second Round. Neither, I have to say, was particularly spectacular. However, Big Billy’s winner against Vojvodina Novi Sad was something special altogether. What a thrilling climax to a truly eventful evening. Naturally, I was overjoyed for all the obvious reasons, but I was also doubly pleased because we had stuck two past their goalkeeper, Ilija Pantelic. I would like to believe I am a fairly easy-going type of bloke, but I really hated that guy. I know making a comment like that is way out of character for me, so please let me explain why I disliked the Vojvodina No.1 so much. In the first leg of our quarter-final in Yugoslavia, I made a challenge for a 50/50 ball as I was quite entitled to do. I did it every week in Scottish football and no-one complained. Pantelic didn’t like being disturbed, though. I slid in, my momentum took me forward and the goalkeeper collapsed on top of me as he collected the ball. It certainly wasn’t a foul, but Pantelic wasn’t too happy. He got to his feet and motioned to help me get up, too. It was all very sporting, but if anyone had bothered to take a closer look they would have seen the Slav had a handful of my hair as he ‘helped’ me back up off the ground. I’ve got a sense of humour, but that was no laughing matter. Mind you, I should get in touch with him just in case he still possesses clumps of my hair – I could do with it now!

I know all the other Lions rated Vojvodina and I did, too. I wasn’t a huge fan of the town of Novi Sad, though, that’s for sure. It’s pretty well-named, if you dropped the Novi. The game was played on March 1 and I’ve got to say that particular part of Yugoslavia isn’t heaven on earth at that time of the year. It was a dreich, dreary place and we were all happy to escape after the match and get home. It certainly made me appreciate Saltcoats a lot more!

We were also fairly satisfied with the result although, of course, it’s never ideal to lose by any margin in Europe against first-rate opposition. However, as we travelled back, we were all convinced we would overturn their one-goal advantage. Me? I just wanted to stick one or two behind a certain Mr.Pantelic to welcome him to Glasgow in no uncertain fashion. Alas, I didn’t get my wish, but we still beat them and that was the main objective all along. However, if you see footage of our first goal by Stevie Chalmers have a look at what I’m getting up to. I’m right in the goalkeeper’s face and giving it ‘Yahoo!’. Normally, I would run to the goalscorer to offer my congrats and give him a pat on the head, but I just couldn’t help myself for making a beeline to their crestfallen keeper and letting him know exactly how I felt. I’m sorry, I had to do it. If I was happy then, you can imagine my feeling of sheer elation a minute from time when Big Billy sauntered forward in that manner of his and got his head to Charlie Gallagher’s beautifully-flighted right-wing corner-kick. My friend Pantelic was caught in no-man’s land as the ball soared high into the net. I kept away from him that time, I didn’t want to push my luck! He was a big guy, after all, and his side had just been sent reeling out of Europe. I must say in his favour, though, we shook hands at the end of the game and he wished me all the best for the rest of the competition. I appreciated that.

Another good sportsman I met on my travels through the 1966/67 season was Bobby Charlton who seemed to rate yours truly quite highly. I don’t know why! I remember a piece in a football magazine back then where the Manchester United legend was asked to name his ideal team from the current crop of players in Europe. You could say I was just a tad surprised to see the name of Bobby Lennox in there. Does Bobby Charlton know quality or what? I must have impressed Bobby when he arrived at Celtic Park with his United team, consisting of Denis Law, George Best, Pat Crerand and Co, for a pre-season friendly. Bobby and his Old Trafford colleague Nobby Stiles were fresh off the back of England’s World Cup triumph a couple of months beforehand. They were certain to get a rousing reception in Scotland. And they did – Celtic hammered them 4-1. That more or less put down our marker for the rest of that campaign, I suppose. It’s strange when you look at it, but we kicked off that season with a victory over the team that would win the European Cup the year after us and we finished it with a triumph over the team, Real Madrid, who won it the year before us. And somewhere in there we overcame Inter Milan who had triumphed in the competition, of course, in 1964 and 1965. We were mixing in good company.

Talking of Bobby Charlton, we came up against each other again, of course, at Wembley in April 1967 and I got the chance to show him how good I was again when I scored in Scotland’s 3-2 win. I must say I have always found him very pleasant company. I’ve met him a few times now and we have a wee chat about all sorts of things. By the way, Bobby, back then, thought England’s three-goal World Cup Final hero Geoff Hurst and I would make a great strike-force. Sorry, Geoff, Stevie Chalmers got there first.

Stevie, like Big Billy, had endured some pretty grim times before Jock Stein came back. Take a look at Stevie’s goalscoring record and you will see a player who would be in the muliti-million pound transfer bracket these days. Stevie notched 228 goals in 405 appearances and you don’t have to be a mathematical genius to work out that is a fantastic scoring rate. He was a totally unselfish guy to play alongside. He would make lung-bursting runs all day long, chasing balls into corners and continually putting pressure on defences. If you look back then, you will see we scored an awful lot of goals after the hour mark. That was testimony to our stamina as well as our hunger for success and never-say-die spirit. No defender got an easy ride against us. Some may have tried to mete out a little bit of ‘extras’ to try to keep us quiet, but all they found is that we could give as good as we got. 7dy_MJu4SEeY16BQDbJXiGb7XzB8HT97HfwI9WFWse4

There was a surprise or two along the road, of course, and I was on the receiving end of one very early in my career. I turned up for the reserves at Celtic Park to be told I was playing – at outside-right. I thought there must be some mistake as I had never, even at school, played in that position in my life. Not once. I was an old-fashioned inside-right, playing beside the centre-forward, and I thought someone was pulling my leg. I checked the calendar, it wasn’t April Fool’s Day and I was handed the No.7 shorts. Baffled? You bet. But I was happy to play anywhere for Celtic although I admit I might have struggled in goal!

I did, in fact, make my first team debut in my original position in a league game against Dundee at Dens Park on March 3, 1962 and we won 2-1 with goals from Big Billy and Frank Brogan, brother of Jim who would later play in the 1970 European Cup Final against Feyenoord when we lost 2-1 in extra-time. We don’t want to dwell on that one, do we? Actually, looking back on our line-up against Dundee that day, it is interesting to note that only Big Billy and myself were involved in Lisbon. John Hughes, who played in five out of the eight games en route to the European Cup Final, was at centre-forward that day. The others, Frank Haffey, Dunky Mackay, Jim Kennedy, Pat Crerand, Billy Price, Johnny Divers, Bobby Carroll and Brogan had all moved on by the time we made history.

I was hardly a regular back then, but I wasn’t complaining. I would get, maybe, six games and then go back into the reserves. I would get called up again, have a few games and then go back to the second team. This went on for about four years and you could say I served a proper apprenticeship at Celtic. I was getting a fair run in the side before we received the news that Jock Stein was about to become our manager. I played in six successive league games from the end of January into March and I was lucky enough to score in a 3-2 Scottish Cup Third Round victory over Kilmarnock at Celtic Park on March 6. Big Jock’s first game in charge was four days later when we beat Airdrie 6-0 at Broomfield with Bertie Auld scoring five. But you can’t help wondering if the new manager rates you or likes your style. He may have other players in mind for your position and suddenly you are heading out the door. To be fair to Big Jock, he sat down with all the players shortly after he arrived and told us we were all starting on equal footing. “You’ll get your chance,” he told us, individually and collectively. “Do the business and you will be in.” That sounded okay to me.

Before he arrived I had played a few games wide on the left, but he brought me in from the wing and I could never thank him enough for that. I much preferred to play alongside the centre-forward in an effort to try to poach a goal or two. A lot was made of my pace and Big Jock realised I could utilise it more through the middle. I have to admit I did work on my speed levels and I was a regular visit to the beach at Saltcoats where I would run up and down the sand. Bertie Auld once told me: “See you, Lennox, you would chase paper on a windy day!” I’m not sure if that was a compliment or a complaint. Anyway, I worked on the theory if you could handle running on sand, you could certainly cope with performing on grass. Have you ever tried to race in sand? It’s not easy, believe me. So, when you were asked to go out and play on a lush, level playing surface it was heaven. Getting out there and getting into your stride on that thoroughly superior pitch of the Estadio Nacional in perfect conditions in Lisbon was just a wee bit different from the sand dunes of the Ayrshire coast.Gm820OV_wDpWV4PFigMjI5gT8feLMUY6CIVGh3wr9fc

I scored a few good goals in my career, 273 in in 571 games, in fact, and naturally enough, one of the questions I am often asked is which is my favourite. That’s a difficult one. They were all welcome in their own way, but, searching my memory banks, there are a few that come to mind as being that little bit extra-special. I recall a goal against Aberdeen where I hit my shot with such force that the ball stuck up in the stanchion in the roof of the net. Another that means something to me came against Rangers in a Glasgow Cup-tie at Ibrox in 1966. The tournament might not have been the most prestigious in world football, but that didn’t matter and we were all aching to get at our old rivals to make up for our Scottish Cup Final defeat against them two months earlier. That loss was a massive disappointment, to say the least. I played in the 2-0 semi-final triumph over Dunfermline, but was injured when the final came round on April 23. With or without me, Celtic were the bookies’ favourites to clinch a league and Cup double. I watched from the stand as we outplayed Rangers in the first game, but they held out for a goalless draw. It was a replay the following Wednesday and, once again, not too many people gave Rangers a chance. Our name just wasn’t on the trophy that year, however, and a second-half goal from their right-back Kai Johansen took the Cup to Ibrox.

That was one of those games that come along every now and again where you just know fate it is against you. I could never be called a defeatist, but I have to admit there are occasions when you instinctively know things will not run your way. I remember Celtic storming straight back at Rangers in that replay after Johansen’s goal. If I recall correctly, Big John Hughes ran down the left wing and pitched over a peach of a cross. Joe McBride was first to react in a busy penalty area to thump in a ferocious header and their goalkeeper, Billy Ritchie, hadn’t a clue where the ball was. As it happens, it struck him on the shoulder, flew upwards, came down, gently nudged the top of the crossbar, and with what looked like half Celtic team queueing up on the goal-line to knock it in, came back down again to settle on the top of the net and, as far as Rangers were concerned, out of harm’s way.

So, when the Glasgow Cup First Round tie came around, we were well up for it. Big Billy scored the opening goal with a low shot from an angle after Rangers failed to clear a corner-kick. That set the tone for the evening and I was fortunate enough to score three in an emphatic, one-sided 4-0 triumph. The one I recall was our second goal, my first-ever against the Ibrox side. That was memorable enough, but I am glad to say it was a real belter. I got the ball about 35 yards out inside on the right. I just took off, got away from John Greig and hit a left foot effort from the edge of the box. Billy Ritchie had the good grace not to bother even going for it as it rattled high into the roof of the net. That was a sweet goal. Another counter that will live with me forever wasn’t quite in the classic category, but it was much, much more important as it virtually guaranteed us the League Championship for the third successive year. We were drawing 1-1 with Morton at Celtic Park in the second last game of the league season and it looked as though we were about to hand the initiative to Rangers. As everyone had come to expect from this Celtic team, it was never over until the referee blew for full-time. We had left ourselves in a bit of a predicament after Willie Wallace had put us ahead. Tony Taylor, who had been on Celtic’s books as a youngster, equalised completely against the run of play and that was the way it was deadlocked with about 30 seconds to go. Suddenly there was a chance. A ball was floated in, the Morton defence didn’t clear it properly and it dropped perfectly right at my feet. I didn’t hesitate as I lunged forward to stab the ball beyond Andy Crawford from about six yards. Game over. Job complete. Title No.3 in the bag. Happy days.

Winning became a good habit back then. I was really enjoying my football and Wee Bertie and I struck up quite a good partnership. With Bertie and Bobby Murdoch feeding me with defence-splitting passes, it would have been criminal not to score so many goals. Both those guys were quality. I liked to run onto the ball and Bertie and Bobby realised that. I always wanted to use my pace. Danny McGrain once said I was born quick. I think I know what he meant. Anyway, there was little point of dropping a pass short to me that would have had me coming out to accept it and then about-turn and head back for goal. Put the ball in front of me and I was off. I knew that the first couple of yards were crucial. If I could get away from a defender there was little chance of him catching me. So, I suppose, I got my fair share of the goals, but, like I said, an awful lot of that was down to the quality service I got from Bertie and Bobby. It was an absolute pleasure to be in the same side as these guys. Bertie was super confident. I know he meant it when he declared he didn’t care at all about who he was facing in any game. “Let them worry about me,” was Bertie’s message and I don’t suppose that is a bad outlook. Bertie was deceptively fast, you know. He had started his career as an outside-left and speed was a prerequisite to play in that position back then. You might not have noticed how fast Bertie was moving until you realised the defender was going at full pelt beside him and getting left behind.pa-5906501_1

As all the players who played in the 3-2 Scottish Cup Final success over Dunfermline in 1965 would emphasis, that really was the turning point for Celtic and Bertie, of course, played a major role in that triumph. The Fifers led twice that afternoon only for Bertie to net two equalisers; the second of which combined his quickness and alertness. He made up something like 30 yards in double-quick time after passing the ball out to me on the left. I headed for the bye-line before putting in a low cross and there was Bertie, not being picked up by the Dunfermline defence, racing in to thump the ball behind goalkeeper Jim Herriot. That was a right foot effort, by the way, which would have been fairly enjoyable for a player who used to take a lot of stick about being all left-sided. Bertie had a great footballing brain and always wanted to be in the hub of things. He never hid in a game. In fact, none of the Lions could ever be accused of that.

Bobby wasn’t blessed with natural pace, but he made sure the ball did all the work. “Who needs all that running about?” he would ask. “A 60-yard pass can do all the damage you want.” Bobby was another super player who went about his work  quietly and effectively. Every team would welcome a Bobby Murdoch in their engine room. For such a powerful guy, he possessed a lot of dainty touches. Big Jock deserves the utmost credit for changing Bobby’s role in the team. When Bobby first came into the side, he played at inside-right, often in front of guys such as Pat Crerand and John McNamee. His natural position, though, was at wing-half. It took Big Jock to spot that. It wasn’t long before Bobby was moved behind the frontline and his career soared after that.

I may have been scoring regularly for the champions, but someone once pointed out that I was “scandalously misused and underused by the Scotland international team”. I only won 10 Scotland caps in a career that spanned almost two decades, so you might wonder about that statistic. Why the lack of appearances from Scotland? I haven’t a clue. I suppose you would have to ask the Scotland managers back then, but I wasn’t grumbling. As long as Jock Stein thought I was good enough to play in his Celtic first team that was fair enough by me. I backed his judgement above others.

My mate Jimmy Johnstone was selected only 23 times to play for his country and that, too, will always remain a mystery. He would have walked into any other nation’s line-up, that’s for sure. Do you know I never once called Jimmy by his popular nickname of Jinky? To me, he was simply Wee Man. Well, I towered a good two inches above him, didn’t I? What can I say about the Greatest-Ever Celtic player? Just that – he was the best. No-one who witnessed his display against Real Madrid at a sell-out Bernabeu Stadium a fortnight or so after Lisbon will forget it. It was Jimmy Johnstone at his wonderful peak. He ran the show that evening and the Real Madrid support, who had turned out in their thousands to say farewell to Alfredo di Stefano, ended by applauding every move made by the Wee Man. Those fans certainly knew a good thing when they saw it. I got the only goal of the game against Real and you won’t be surprised to hear that it came via another bit of mesmerising play from Jimmy. He picked up a ball from Tommy Gemmell on the left wing deep in our own half. He looked up, controlling the pass instantly as usual, and scampered off in the general direction of our opponent’s goal. He skipped nonchalantly past three tackles before rolling it in front of me, coming in at the inside-right angle. I hit it first time with my right foot and the ball went in at the far post. What an eerie feeling, though, when hardly a voice greeted my effort. I held my hands aloft in normal fashion and, of course, was used to the din that used to follow from our great support. There was silence in the Bernabeu and then, out of nowhere, in an unmistakeable Glaswegian accent, came the shout: “Goal!” Just one word, but it was enough.ZrhwB56wG8MR9w5qqY7crcqPrNx6rUrgCax9Na7CLuY

I loved playing alongside the Wee Man. Really, he had it all. He was first-class company off the pitch, too. I’m sure people used to think we were joined at the hip. We always roomed together and that was unusual because Big Jock liked to chop and change to freshen up things, but he never once separated the Wee Man or myself. We were seen as a double-act and we were both happy with that. I miss him. Of course, Jimmy put in a thoroughly professional 90 minutes in Lisbon, as we all did. As I said right at the start, the Inter Milan players must have been happy to see the back of us that evening. How did I spend my bonus? Very quickly! I came home to get married to Catherine, so by the time we had a honeymoon and bought some bits and bobs for the new Lennox household, that was that. Money well spent, I think you’ll agree.

I have often stated that Celtic really gelled and came together months before we even thought about playing in Lisbon. I am talking about our American tour in 1966 and it was a masterstroke by someone at Celtic to take us away for about five weeks. The players got to know one another even better than is possible when you are just turning up for training and, of course, playing on matchday. We all enjoyed the experience, but we also knew we were there to work. This was no holiday and Jock Stein was still getting to know the squad of players he had inherited. We all wanted to impress him and I think I did well enough – I managed to score 19 goals in 11 games! Okay, we did play a few select teams from Bermuda, New Jersey and St.Louis, but we also took on Spurs three times. The London side were a really top outfit at the time and they went on to win the FA Cup in 1967, beating Chelsea 2-1 in the final. Of course, they had also won the Euroean Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1963 when they walloped Atletico Madrid 5-1 in Rotterdam. But I think they were a bit annoyed that they couldn’t put one over on us. We beat them 1-0 and then 2-1 before we played them for a third time and they managed to get a 1-1 draw. These were important games for us. They were taking us to another level and it didn’t do our confidence any harm, either. Big Tommy Gemmell pestered Big Jock into letting him play at centre-forward in one of our games – I think it was against the Hamilton Select – and The Boss eventually let him lead the attack. As I recall, Big Tommy did well enough, netting a hat-trick in an 11-0 triumph. Thankfully, though, he accepted that left-back was his best position and the ‘experiment’ was never tried again!51dVM-OuoCL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

I scored four goals in our first game, a 10-1 success against the Bermuda Select. I followed that up with a hat-trick in a 7-0 win over the wonderfully-named Young Men of Bermuda. We beat New Jersey All-Stars 6-0 and I claimed another treble. Next up, it was Spurs in Toronto and we won again and I scored the only goal of the game. We travelled on to Ontario and cantered past the Hamilton Select 11-0 and I netted four. John Clark got all the plaudits after that game, though, because he, too, scored with the help of a penalty-kick. John didn’t score an awful lot, so the players made a fuss of him afterwards! We were back to New York for the next thrilling encounter on our tour and we were held 0-0 by Bologna. The Italians played in much the same manner as Inter Milan would 10 months later. They were so defensively-minded, even in a friendly, but it was great experience. We moved base camp to St.Louis where we won 6-1 against the All-Stars and I had to settle for one. San Francisco was next and again Spurs were the opposition. They were determined to get revenge for losing in Toronto, but we triumphed again, this time 2-1 and I got the winner. Actually, I was beginning to feel a wee bit sorry for the Spurs lads by this time. Whenever we were in town the Scottish and Irish exiles would abandon the London team and start following us everywhere. Dave Mackay and the White Hart Lane outfit were the opposition again in Vancouver and this time they at least got a 1-1 draw. We returned to San Francisco and this time Bayern Munich were waiting for us. They had just won the German Cup and had just arrived in America. They were fit and fresh and ready to go. They also had some brilliant performers such as Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller. They were beating us 2-0 with 20 minutes to go, but, displaying the fighting qualities that would stand us in good stead throughout the following season, we came back to get a 2-2 draw with Joe McBride and yours truly scoring. Our last game was in Los Angeles against Mexican champions Atlas. The heat was almost unbearable and obviously our opponents were a bit more used to those sort of temperatures. I recall they were a good side, but we eventually wore them down and Charlie Gallagher got the only goal of the game late on. We were so happy to return home undefeated.

It’s hard to believe that American trip was so long ago. When the Lions meet up nowadays we talk about events like they were yesterday. Do you remember that game? Do you remember that goal? Do you remember that player? Honestly, it is all so special. The memories just come flooding back. But the pre-season tour of The States should never be underestimated in what it meant to the club. There was a real sense of camaraderie among the players and I still believe that’s what made 1967 such a memorable year. I used to look around our dressing room at the time and see Big Billy preparing for a game. Then I would look at the Wee Man. Then Big Tommy. Then Bobby Murdoch. Then Wee Bertie. I just looked around the entire dressing room and thought: “Who can beat us?” We only lost three games that entire season – two, amazingly enough, to Dundee United in the league – but we were afraid of no-one. We went out onto that pitch expecting to win. It was a great attitude. We really were a good team.

We deserved to win in Lisbon. After I scored against Motherwell to make sure we won the 1966 league title, our first in 12 years, I recall Big Jock saying: “We mustn’t look to the past at the legends who have gone before us – we must build our own legends.” How prophetic were those words?

Yes, it was great to make history in Lisbon. Nothing will ever top that feeling. I will always remember the referee blowing that final whistle and I just turned round to see who was the nearest team-mate. It was John Clark and we just threw ourselves at each other. Honestly, we were like a couple of schoolkids. “We’ve won! We’ve won!” We yelled our heads off as Inter Milan players walked disconsolately past us, heads bowed in defeat. Then I remembered my false teeth were in Ronnie Simpson’s cap in the back of his net. I saw all those supporters racing onto the pitch and I suddenly thought: “I better get my teeth!” I ran to Ronnie, picked up my gnashers and the Lennox smile was ready for the cameras.

I do like a happy ending.

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