JOHN ‘YOGI’ HUGHES, Celtic’s legendary goalscorer, has told today’s players they are fortunate Jock Stein is not in charge these days.
The Hoops icon, now 77, has been looking at Celtic in what could be a historic season to give his EXCLUSIVE verdicts to CQN.
Hughes said: “I realise it is changed days from my time at the club and what it is all about today. Night and day, really. Players in this century have a platoon of advisers, lawyers and agents to handle their affairs. Back in the late fifties and sixties you were on your own.
“So, if Big Jock meted out some punishment for whatever reason, there was no way back. It was the manager’s way or the highway, as simple as that.
“Neil Lennon has his way of dealing with these things and there are guidelines and protocol he will have to adhere to. Big Jock was the sole decision-maker in my day, judge and jury.
“I won’t name names, but I’ve got a reasonable idea you will know who I am talking about, but some things have happened in recent times that would have seen Big Jock blow a fuse.
“No-one was above Celtic Football Club in his eyes. No-one got preferential treatment.
“If you stepped out of line, you were hammered. I had a few run-ins with the manager and I thought some things were harsh, but there was little point in complaining.
“Look, Wee Jimmy Johnstone was one of the major names in football at the height of his fame. He could have walked into any team in the world, absolutely no doubt about it. Real Madrid? They would have found a space for the wee chap.
“But if he did something that irked Big Jock he was quickly put in his place. Wee Jimmy’s timing on the pitch was fairly impeccable. Off the field, alas, that wasn’t always the case.
“If he was late too often for training he would be taken aside by Big Jock and told to go home and come in the afternoon and train on his own. This happened more than once, I can tell you.
“So, today’s players can thank their lucky stars Big Jock is not around at the moment!”
* TOMORROW: Big Yogi continues his look at Celtic 2020/21.