FORMER Celtic defender Pat McCluskey has passed away at the age of 68.

The powerhouse performer played at full-back or the middle of the rearguard for Jock Stein’s side from 1969 to 1977.

McCluskey was solid and dependable and he was on the scoresheet with an impeccable penalty-kick in the Parkhead side’s 3-1 Scottish Cup Final victory over Airdrie at Hampden in 1975 – Lisbon Lion Billy McNeill’s last game for the Hoops.

A statement from Parkhead read:

“Everyone at Celtic Football Club is saddened to hear of the death of former player, Pat McCluskey, who has passed away at the age of 68.

“Pat played for Celtic between 1969/77, making 191 appearances for the club and scoring 13 goals. A versatile player, who could be deployed in a number of positions, and who always gave his all for the Hoops, his competitive debut came in a Scottish Cup-tie against Albion Rovers in February 1972, when he replaced Dixie Deans in a 5-0 win for Celtic.

“In that 1971/72 season, Pat made a total of eight appearances, which included playing both legs of Celtic’s European Cup semi-final clash against Inter Milan.

“During his time with the club, he won three league titles – including the season when Jock Stein’s side clinched their ninth league title in a row – two Scottish Cups and the League Cup, while he also played in the 1974 European Cup semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

“Pat later had spells with Dumbarton, Airdrie and Queen of the South, as well as a season in the United States, and would later be a popular matchday host at Celtic Park alongside some of his former team-mates.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Celtic are with Pat’s family and friends at this very sad time.”

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