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Guest blog by Tommy Gemmell

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Today, we have the small matter of a guest blog by Lisbon Lion, right back, left back, dominator of play, years ahead of his time, scorer of two of our three most important goals, a truly modern player and one of Europe’s finest…….. Tommy Gemmell.

Tommy has spent the last few years ‘getting it all down on paper’, and this year CQN is publishing the definitive autobiography of a remarkable football player, icon and man.  It’s not his first book (which predicted we would win the European Cup in 1969), and it’s not his second, but it is a book with enormous sincerity and insight on the days when Scotland produced giants of the world game.

Inspirational people can inspire with little effort.  I described a goal to Tommy as “a great goal”, he gave me a half smile and said, “Every goal is a great goal”.  Tommy knows what it means to score goals so valuable they will live in legend as long as the game is played, but he was able to convince me that knocking the ball over the line for Celtic in a relatively meaningless game against vastly inferior opposition was, for him, indescribable, although he did a good job of describing it in the book.

Legends are made quickly these days but 40 years on, his contribution still towers.  He has really enjoyed working on the book and is looking forward to getting the final copy in his hands, and most of all, the interactions it will bring with the Celtic support.

He has put some words down for us in today’s blog, including an opportunity to ask him some questions – for inclusion in a special section of the book.  Hope you enjoy it………..

By TOMMY GEMMELL:

I am absolutely delighted Celtic Quick News is publishing my book ‘All The Best’ in the near future. The title is a bit of a giveaway as to what to expect within the pages of what I hope is an entertaining and insightful read.

I’ve gone through all the Celtic teams I’ve played in to come up with my eleven from heaven. Obviously, the Lisbon Lions are in a class of their own, so I haven’t touched them. Simpson, Craig and Yours Truly; Murdoch, McNeill and Clark; Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld and Lennox. That’s about as close to perfection you’ll ever see in a football team.

We all had different strengths, but we really gelled as a formation. If that lot could keep Jock Stein satisfied, then who am I to change that line-up?

But there will be a few surprises along the way with my many selections. I’ve dipped into the international scene, too, and there are some great tales about Denis Law, Alan Gilzean and others. And, of course, I could never ignore the one and only Jinky,.I still miss that little rascal, but what a player!

I hope the book is interesting and enjoyable for many reasons because I really reveled in looking through the past. I relished ‘Heart Of A Lion: The Willie Wallace Story’ by my old pal. If my own memoirs are as appreciated as those of Willie, I’ll be well satisfied.

I have never before spoken at length about my friendship with George Best, for instance. Bestie and I had a good relationship and I would often look him up when I was in London on business. Well, what would you prefer? A boring old seminar about the world of finance or a couple of beers with Bestie? Thought so!

And there were also meetings with Brian Clough when I was at Nottingham Forest and he was manager at Derby County. Our paths crossed several times and I have to say he was a completely one-off individual. Not sure if I could have played for him, though!

And, of course, I could never ignore what Jock Stein did for me as a Celtic player. We may not always have seen eye-to-eye, but you can’t take away what he achieved at Celtic. He completely turned the club upside down. Mind you, he could be ruthless and I know what I’m talking about because I was on the receiving end a few times.

Without warning, he dropped me from the line-up for the League Cup Final against St.Johnstone in 1969. I was so livid that I asked for a transfer the following day. And yet Jock knew I never wanted to leave Celtic. Who in their right mind would? I was heart broken at the time, but I’ll tell you more in ‘All The Best’. All will be revealed, as they say.

I am going to try something different for the book.  Today, Celtic Quick News is open for you to send me questions on the blog.  I will take the questions and answer them in a hardback small run of the book, all of which will be signed.  So, don’t hesitate – get writing and I’ll be only too delighted to reply. If you have anything you’d like to ask me about my career in football, or anything else for that matter, please post on CQN today and the guys will forward me on the questions. I’ll do the rest!

I have always loved the interaction with the Celtic support. Even today I’ll get stopped in the street and fans will ask me about my European Cup Final goal. Mischievously, I’ll always respond with, ‘Which one?’ People seem to have forgotten that I scored in TWO European Cup Finals – against Inter Milan and Feyenoord. Most folk, though, don’t want to talk about the latter. Understandable, I suppose.

So, please send in your questions and I promise to answer every single one. And I will give it to you straight. I have also been promised my own account on CQN so when I am signing your books I am going to log in to CQN and have a chat with everyone. Paul will let you know when this is happening.

That’s the great part of ‘All The Best’. I’ve been able to tell it like it is and I hope the supporters appreciate the sentiments.

I am delighted Celtic Quick News guys are publishing the book, it’s an exciting adventure for us all, and I do hope you get as much enjoyment reading the book as I did putting it together.

All the best!

Tommy Gemmell

We’re so lucky to have these guys. They have been a gift beyond all recognition.

If you would like to read the new CQN Magazine, GO HERE to read properly, and for FREE, the graphic below is just a taster.
[calameo code=0003901710a55b5798f06 lang=en page=1 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]

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637 Comments

  1. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Turkeybhoy

     

    if you have questions for Tam then go ahead and ask them – no need to belittle other bloggers efforts

     

     

    time for outnumbered

  2. BIG-CUP-WINNERS on

    Big Tam

     

     

    You are very welcome to answer the questions in Friday’s quiz too of course.

  3. Praecepta

     

     

    Had 25 ready and waiting on the pool, 6/4 and drifting, waiting, then they score, Oh for a crystal ball, when will the guillotine come down >}

     

     

    HH

  4. The Honest Mistake loves being first

     

     

    There’s only one man that you get to determine who is or isn’t a Celtic fan….

     

     

    pettycoatcsc

  5. The Results for the Round of 16, and they are not without controversy.

     

     

    Last 16 Home Versus Away Winner

     

    Game1 Gohome Yahuns 22 29 Koln Hoops

     

    Koln Hoops 37 28 Gohome Yahuns Koln Hoops

     

    66 50

     

    Game2 Setting Free the Bears 28 35 Nitrams 11

     

    Nitrams 11 25 30 Setting Free the Bears Nitrams11

     

    60 58

     

    Game3 Bayern Bru 27 23 Jessica Rabbit

     

    Jessica Rabbit 27 23 Bayern Bru Reply

     

    60 60

     

    Game4 Hopeful Hoops 35 25 McDowells Bhoys

     

    McDowells Bhoys 30 28 Hopeful Hoops Hopeful Hoops

     

    63 55

     

    Game5 Lennys Lions 30 28 Dougies Donkeys

     

    Dougies Donkeys 27 25 Lennys Lions Dougies Donkeys

     

    55 55

     

    Game6 Thom’s Sellick 27 30 lubosleftpeg

     

    lubosleftpeg 27 32 Thom’s Sellick Thom’s Sellick

     

    59 57

     

    Game7 Donny Gaels 28 28 Del Monte Shamrock

     

    Del Monte Shamrock 29 25 Donny Gaels Del Monte Shamrock

     

    53 57

     

    Game8 Acacia Milan 31 30 Set Phasers to Malky

     

    Set Phasers to Malky 31 31 Acacia Milan Acacia Milan

     

    62 61

     

     

    Bayern Bru and Jessica Rabbit cannot be split, same away points, so it goes to a reply, points scored this current Game Week will decide it.

     

     

    Well done to all, the draw for the next round it simple, Game 1 v Game 2. Odd games at home first leg.

     

     

    HH

     

     

    Doc

  6. TET

     

     

    Got a cracking treble running – B. Munich -3 @12/5! :-)

     

     

    Got them with Everton and Man City – void! :-(

  7. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Tontine Tim

     

     

    18:26 on

     

     

    Didn’t know about the plaque or the connection to Celtic

     

     

    Dontbrattbakkinanger

     

    18:37 on

     

     

    You are correct about The Bruce dying in Cardross but the exact location isn’t known and as TT points out the early parish of Cardross was extensive and spread into what is now the Vale of Leven and Renton.

     

     

    quonno

     

     

    19:36 on

     

     

    I have tried to find out where The Bruce died and it appears that the only thing that is certain is it was in the Parish of Cardross.

     

     

    Tontine Tim

     

     

    20:42 on

     

     

    Wasn’t his heart taken to the Holy Land and thrown at the enemy in some battle or other? Sure I read about that somewhere. I am usually wrong though.

  8. So shockingly funny this piece from TalkCeltic

     

     

    Racing Club 1 Celtic FC 0

     

     

     

     

    Date: 5 November 1967 | Attendance: 75,000 | Referee: R. P. Osorio (PARAGUAY)

     

     

     

     

     

    RACING- Cejas,Perfumo, Chabay, Martin, Rulli, Basile, Cardoso, Maschio, Cardenas, Rodriguez, Raffo

     

    CELTIC – Fallon, Craig, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeil, Clark, Johnstone, Lennox, Wallace, Auld, Hughes

     

     

     

    A few days later followed by their small band of faithful fans Celtic took the short flight across the River Plate to Montevideo for the neutral playoff winner takes all battle. With it being a holiday weekend in Buenos Aires very few transport links or services were available for the Argentines. Determined not to be denied thousands of Racing Club fans also made the short journey across the River Plate to Montevideo. Homemade rafts & rowing boats of every description somehow made the perilous journey across the river & over the border. Such a sight was reminiscent of the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.

     

     

     

    This time the police adopted a no nonsense approach and the travelling Racing supporters would be vastly outnumbered by local Uruguayans who had adopted Celtic as their team. Argentina and Uruguay were historic enemies. An intense rivalry that could be likened to that of Celtic and Rangers but on an International level.

     

     

     

    The Uruguayan team Penarol who had visited Celtic earlier in the season, even turned up at Celtic’s training session and passed on the tricks they used against Argentine sides and warned Celtic of what to expect.

     

     

     

    The match started with so many brutal cynical fouls, many not even noticed by the referee that he spoke to both Captains and stated that the next foul committed by Racing would see Basile sent off, and the next foul by Celtic would see Lennox shown the red card. Within two minutes of that warning Basile was off and Racing were a man down.

     

     

     

    Celtic were resolutely taking everything the Racing players were throwing at them and bizarrely it was the referee who was to lose all control and credibility. Following Johnstone being coldly and calculatingly chopped down in the center circle a melee started and John Clarke took revenge on one of the Racing players. Yet the referee kept to his word and sent off Bobby Lennox who had been a full 40 yards away from the incident.

     

     

     

    Big Jock Stein was furious and told Lennox to stay on the park as he’d done nothing wrong. The ref, Osario then sent Lennox off several times and each time Stein sent Lennox back on. Eventually a policeman with his sword drawn entered the field of play and Lennox wisely decided he’d best quietly be escorted off the field of play.

     

     

     

    This match no longer had any resemblance to a football match, nor was it a plain old fashioned battle- it was all out WAR!

     

     

     

    Bertie Auld later recalled “At one stage I was jogging back towards goal after an attacking move when I got a vicious punch on the back of the head. I turned round and one of their players was just 2 feet away from me grinning in my face, no-one had seen it as the ball was at the other end of the field he was hoping I would hit him back and get caught by the ref. That is what we were up against.”

     

     

     

    Rulli of Racing was sent off for an elbow to the face by Celtic’s John Hughes. Johnstone was also to see red 4 minutes before half time after having his shirt almost pulled from his back and using his elbows to try and break free. It was now 9 versus 9. Yet that wasn’t to be the end of this Battle of Montevideo.

     

     

     

    John Hughes received his red for not once punching the keeper, Cejas but also deliberately kicking him. Hughes told Stein when asked why he did it, “So much was going on I thought if I hit this guy nobody will see me.”

     

     

     

    The referee’s match report also stated that he’d sent off Bertie Auld. Auld though refused to leave the pitch and the ref simply allowed him to play on and he stayed on for the full 90 minutes.

     

     

     

    The most publicised incident caught on camera though involved Tommy Gemmell who in 2005 said, “You don’t mind someone kicking you but for someone to spit in your face that’s not allowed. I said I’m going to have you. So I hit him with one almighty kick in the goolies. What a scream he let out.” The officials never saw the incident and Gemmell went unpunished.

     

     

     

    Racing’s Cardenas did manage in the second half to beat John Fallon with a 30 yard strike which was to prove to be the winner. By which time though nobody from Celtic really cared about the result. In the end 6 players had been sent off in this brutal match and the police had to intervene twice to restore some sort of order. Racing Club had achieved what they set out to do and robbed Celtic of something which no other club in their history had managed to do – their self-respect.

     

     

    In the face of such provocation it is hard to condone the Celtic players for their actions. Indeed Celtic received a great deal of sympathy from the football magazine,’Miroir du Football’ who proclaimed, “Racing of BuenosAires, Champions of the world of violence, treachery and theatricals’ they reported ‘the Johnstone sending off was disgraceful and that he was the victim of the man who was supposed to protect footballers from butchers and actors.’

     

     

     

    The Racing players wanted to do a lap of honour around the stadium, but Uruguayan (Celtic) supporters pelted them with everything they could throw at them. The Racing players had to wait in the center of the field, until the police had cleared the way to their dressing room.

     

     

     

     

    The Consequences

     

     

    There’s no doubt as a result of this ill-fated competition Jock Stein was removed from the New Year Honours list. Stein had been expected to receive an honour for leading Celtic to a famous European Cup win in Lisbon over Internazionale in May 1967. But a letter sent by the Scottish Office to Prime Minister Harold Wilson in 1970 revealed how Stein’s name was removed from the list. This only became known in 2007 under the freedom of information act.

     

     

    It read, ‘When Glasgow Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup in 1967, we failed to recognise this with an honour for Stein to whom, as manager, a great deal of the credit was due. His name was I understand removed from the New Year’s Honours list because of the unfortunate events in South America. The next year when Manchester United won the European Cup an immediate knighthood went to Matt Busby in the birthday list. Had we been able to move as quickly the previous year, Stein would have had his honour before the troubles in Argentina.’

     

     

    On their return to Glasgow Celtic’s board desperately wanted to try and restore the club’s prestige and strangely announced to the press that every player including John Fallon was to be fined £250, approximately two months wages. The fines were to be deducted from that season’s bonus money and the players only learnt about the unprecedented fine from reading the story in the press. Auld and Hughes were in addition fined by the SFA £50 each for their part in the Battle of Montevideo.

     

     

    An interesting quote exists from one of the Celtic Director’s at the time when speaking about the fines imposed, “We sympathise with them but they had let the club down and let themselves down. We have to constantly remind our players about discipline because a Celtic player going for justice usually faces a different set of rules than others. It is a point that has been proved over and over through the years. Celtic players can never afford to relax their discipline.”

     

     

    Few people realise thatJimmy Johnstone had created a little bit of history by having his Scottish FA suspension lifted allowing him to play in South America. The procedure at that time was that suspension in domestic competition also ruled a player out of European and International matches Taking the stance that it was a world championship the SFA allowed him to travel and play with their blessing. He must have been the first player ever to be sent off while under suspension! The lifted suspension though was a heavily guarded secret for many years. Bobby Lennox whose case was of mistaken identity was exonerated.

     

     

     

    The suitcase full of money

     

     

    An amusing story goes that Celtic Treasurer Desmond White was seen carrying a huge old battered suitcase through customs at Prestwick airport on the return home. Only the directors knew it contained some 12 million Uruguayan Pesos in cash.- Celtics share of the 3rd games gate money.

     

    Due to inflation the Uruguayan FA could not give Celtic a cheque so instead the UFA Treasurer asked Desmond to meet him at a bank in town later and to bring a large suitcase. When he reached the bank it was out of hours but had opened especially. To White’s horror the bank staff then began loading money into the case. Both he and the UFA’S treasurer had to sit on the case to get it shut. He was then advised to get a taxi which he hastily agreed fearing for his life back to the hotel. Mr White then sneaked into the hotel and headed straight to the room containing the clubs kit hamper. Quickly removing strips and training gear then put the suitcase in before covering it again, locked the hamper and the outside door and went off for a well earned meal.

     

     

     

     

    During dinner he and his fellow directors discussed ways to get the money into Scotland, purchasing precious stones was one wild suggestion. Mr White decided to take the bold gamble and just go for it, clutching the case, he approached customs and firmly said he had nothing to declare, before boarding the plane and making the 7,000 mile journey back home.

  9. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    What about one of those quick-fire thingies for Tommy? (CQN-themed of course):

     

    Kojo or The Singing Detective

     

    Black Pudding or Square Sausage

     

    Mineshafters or Happy Clappers

     

    Finnbogason or Projects

     

    MON or WGS

     

    Amortisation or Stick to the fitba

     

    Podium chasing or Reading the article

     

    Off oot or Still Laughin’

  10. eddieinkirkmichael on

    BIG-CUP-WINNERS

     

     

    21:04 on

     

     

    It would be my only ever chance of beating a Lion at anything. BTW after last weeks performance I’m buying a 3ltr box this friday.

  11. And now for the results of the Europa League Round of 16 matches.

     

     

    Last 16 Home Versus Away Winner

     

    Game1 Green and Whiteley 23 0 Maybe Next Year……………

     

    Maybe Next Year…………… 0 30 Green and Whiteley Green and Whiteley

     

    53 0

     

    Game2 MARCELONACELTIC F C 33 22 Googys Globetrotters

     

    Googys Globetrotters 36 28 MARCELONACELTIC F C MARCELONACELTIC F C

     

    61 58

     

    Game3 Imran’s Maw 38 42 Hillend Rockies

     

    Hillend Rockies 35 33 Imran’s Maw Hillend Rockies

     

    71 77

     

    Game4 Dim Sam’s Tims 36 35 Roughrigg Brushers

     

    Roughrigg Brushers 25 22 Dim Sam’s Tims Roughrigg Brushers

     

    58 60

     

    Game5 Meiklehill Rovers 38 27 Celtic Under Ninety Team

     

    Celtic Under Ninety Team 17 30 Meiklehill Rovers Mieklehill Rovers

     

    68 44

     

    Game6 Dan City 29 29 Kayal33

     

    Kayal33 32 22 Dan City Kayal33

     

    51 61

     

    Game7 Lennys Bhoys 16 20 EK Green & White Army

     

    EK Green & White Army 0 32 Lennys Bhoys LennysBhoys

     

    48 20

     

    Game8 Minx 1888 31 34 Norfolk Enchants

     

    Norfolk Enchants 30 21 Minx 1888 Norfolk Enchants

     

    52 64

     

     

    Well done to all who have made it to the quarter finals, you are in sight of the prize!

     

     

    HH

     

     

    Doc

  12. Slabhoy - Duntocher is Green and White on

    Tamtim

     

     

    Ars 0 utd 0

     

    New 0 tot 4

     

    Ful 2 liv 2 so far

     

    Other games postponed

  13. Turkeybhoy

     

     

    For what its worth I am with you on this one. No doubt TG is a legend and he now has enough questions to keep him going. Time to get back to the real issues facing us……dramatic decrease in attendances, lack of progress on res 12, future of the GB ETC

  14. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    If as looks probable manure will be in the europa league next season then it will be interesting on how the media treat the competition. Also with sky losing the cl rights perhaps they will promote the europa league.

  15. The draw for the CQN Predictors Champions League Quarter Final

     

     

    Game1 Koln Hoops v Nitrams11

     

     

    Game2 Jessica Rabbit or Bayern Bru v Hopeful Hoops

     

     

    Game3 Dougies Donkeys v Thom’s Sellick

     

     

    Game4 Del Monte Shamrock v Acacia Milan

  16. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Arsenal 0 – 0 Man Utd FT

     

    Everton P – P Crystal Palace

     

     

    Postponed

     

    Man City P – P Sunderland

     

     

    Postponed

     

    Newcastle 0 – 4 Tottenham FT

     

    Stoke 1 – 1 Swansea L

     

    Fulham 2 – 3 Liverpool L

     

     

    View Live Scores All times UK

  17. Boring game at Arsenal. Stalemate predictable when both sides flooded the midfield, something like a 4 -6 -0. Hope NFL was watching….no passengers hanging out wide.

     

    Three Cheers for Tommy Gemmell

     

    You put the Celtic level

     

    When we were one goal down

     

    In far off Lisbon town.

     

    HH

  18. The Honest Mistake loves being first on

    Hashadenough.

     

    One chance to ask a celtic legend any question you want and you’d rather waste that chance to whinge about topics that have been exhausted over the past few months.

     

    It’s pleasing to see that you’re in the minority.

  19. The draw for the CQN Predictors Europa League Quarter Final

     

     

    Game1 Green and Whiteley v MARCELONACELTIC F C

     

     

    Game2 Hillend Rockies v Roughrigg Brushers

     

     

    Game3 Meiklehill Rovers v Kayal33

     

     

    Game4 LennysBhoys v Norfolk Enchants

  20. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Can’t believe no one has asked TG the most important question yet. Tommy your whole credibility as a Celtic ledgend depends on your answer to this question.

     

    Which is the best?

     

     

     

     

    1/Stornoway Black Pudding means only one thing: W.J.MacDonald Family Butcher

     

     

    2/Stornoway Black Pudding means only one thing: Charles MacLeod home of the Stornoway Black Pudding.

  21. The arsenal man utd match was dire. One of the poorest games I’ve seen in terms of a ‘big’ EPL fixture. Arsenal’s season will be over before the end of this month.