Guest blog by Tommy Gemmell


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………..


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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  1. traditionalist88 on

    John O’Neil


    13:17 on


    12 February, 2014


    One last question,



    Tommy, do you think that the Lisbon achievement helped the wider Scottish public to accept Celtic and its supporters more than was previously the case?







    …And if so why can our manager not attend a match as a neutral to perform scouting duties without being attacked?




  2. Tommy,



    In his biography Bertie Auld said he loved playing with you.



    Was he any good?!




  3. Re big Tam



    I was at the 3-0 Benfica game as an 11yr old when you scored that belter.




    My question is what was the feeling after that game, was it that we were comfortably through or did you expect a tough return leg?



    Hail Hail

  4. Hi Tommy!



    Will chance my arm and ask two!



    Q1. You are one of the most successful Celts of all time but of course the start of your career was a time of failure for Celtic. Even as late as 1964 Celtic seemed destined for continued mediocrity. As a professional in the early early part of your career what were your thoughts AT THE TIME about the club, the management and your own and Celtics future?



    Q2. You often played behind John Hughes in your career. Big Yogi was another of my all time favourites but he struggled for consistency. At his best one of the most exciting players I’ve ever seen, when off form though…



    Anyway, can you recall any specific occasion when John made you go WOW? (In a good way lol).

  5. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    2 Questions for Mr Gemmell-



    1/will Celtic ever appear in another ECFinal?



    2/ even mediocre modern day players make far more money than you did in your prime, do you resent this?

  6. Glen Daly


    13:12 on


    12 February, 2014


    Neustadt-Braw, Traditionalist 88



    If we are to copy the German model, what do you think the chances are of us having people wandering up and down the stairs selling beer & wine?!?




    making a fast buck …..seewhatIdidtherecfc braw!

  7. Your goal v Feyenoord was that aove you had worked on in training?


    Was it knocked back to you to give you more room to score?


    I am surprised more teams do not use this as a way of getting more room to get the ball up and over a wall or through it as your shot did?


    Or were you just aiming for the refs arse?

  8. Afternoon all



    Can’t be bothered reporting my post from last blog.



    Wow! Willie Wallace and now Tommy Gemmell. Anybody who saw him play must smile at the memory.



    Q. Why has left back been such a weak position since you left us. Jimmy Quinn , Andy Lynch and especially Tom Boyd were fine and Izzy can be great but other than that there have been some real disappointments.



    Oh and big Man thanks for scoring the first goal I ever saw Celtic – a penalty at Brockville in 1968. Do you remember it?




    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox





    Just off the phone to someone who has been known to frequent The Horseshoe with Tam and Bertie. He posts on here,but is a bit busy today.



    To say the least….



    I love The Horseshoe,as you know,but I doubt I could afford to drink in there if those two were there too.



    A drink for every medal,BHOYS? That’s the gemme!



    “Hello,Mum? I’ve missed the last train. Sorry. See ya later”

  10. excathedra44



    Jim still works for Celtic as Performance Consultant (bet he had a lot to say this week!)

  11. the long wait is over on

    Just great to see a true legend on here.



    I had the pleasure of TG’s company at a corporate table at a Scottish cup final a number of years ago (we lost but I don’t blame Tommy !).



    What brilliant company and a true gent , giving unlimited time to anyone who approached him , which was pretty much constantly.



    Can any football club owe as much of a debt or identify so uniquely with one manager and team of players as Celtic does with Jock Stein and the Lisbon lions?



    Football , even to the most fanatical of us, is not more than life or death but in a sporting context truly never was so much owed by so many to so few.



    All the best , Tommy.

  12. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on

    Question (s) for Tommy Gemmell



    After a rant I had on the Scottish Cup earlier.



    What importance did Jock Stein put on trophies? Did he set out to win them all or was there a slide rule of trophies that Celtic would play for.


    Outwith European success which trophy win or match gave you the most satisfaction as a player?



    Many thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. It’s a pleasure to have a Lisbon Lion even reading our comments.


    My auld man met you once at a POTY dance in Newcastle he had somehow blagged his way into and was giving you stick about yer nose and you said to him I might have a big nose but you have a big mouth. Still tells that story to this day. I think he took great pleasure in a Lisbon Lion having the banter with him. The Lisbon Lions are not heroes to him they are gods!




  13. Tommy



    Just come across a ‘photo taken shortly after Celtic had beaten Hibs 6-2 in the 1969 League Cup final.



    You are holding a bottle of beer and sporting a moustache!




  14. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for Oscar the wee legend on

    Tommy Gemmell WOW just WOW !!!!!!!



    I wish I could think of a question worthy of the man !!!!!!!

  15. cliftonville celt from belfast praying for Oscar the wee legend


    13:25 on


    12 February, 2014



    Thanks for that…further conclusive evidence that KevJ’s input was total mince….there was never any doubt in my mind.



    Hail Hail tae yae sir…




    12:28 on 12 February, 2014



    “Question for the big fella.



    When you chased that German to boot him up the bahoochie,was it the fastest you had ever run,and the hardest you had ever kicked?”






    …and was it the fastest Haller had ever run?

  17. williebhoy supporting Wee Oscar on

    1) We hear much moaning about honest mistakes these days. But I am sure there were plenty of the same in your era – Any specific incidents stick in your mind ?



    2) Who was the best Goalkeeper you faced ?



    Thanks for the many great memories Tam….even forgiven you for leading Dundee to League cup glory against us….well almost :)

  18. the long wait is over on

    Question for Tommy



    If , instead of scoring with that thunderbolt , your shot had bounced off the post and Inter had broken away and scored a second , what would Jock have thought ?



    Ps remember children may be reading this…

  19. cavansam \o/


    13:36 on


    12 February, 2014





    Jim still works for Celtic as Performance Consultant (bet he had a lot to say this week!)





    Thank you for replying.



    It was a genuine concern as I had read earlier that he had submitted a report which posed a few questions and was not readily accepted by The Board.



    I hope it was a ruse as I considered his involvement as an important element in our future direction.



    So he is still there your info is current? Thats good.

  20. glendalystonsils on

    Q for TG



    Do you remember smashing a clearance out of play in 1968 and almost decapitating a young bhoy in the old enclosure in front of the stand?


    I’m still dizzy by the way!

  21. Tommy



    Welcome to the blog.



    I won’t ask the usual question that is asked to most newcomers here :-)





    If that shot had bounced off the post,Faither would have saved the rebound-just-and set up another attack!


    question for TOMMY.



    did you ever hunt wasps.


    did you ever write stories about wasps.


    did you ever steal a bowler hat from a parader .

  24. Whitedoghunch



    Anton had his moments especially on the Centenary season but was always prone to the bad mistake. We have had a lot worse than he in that position though I’d concede.




    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox

  25. BMCUW



    I think I know who you are referring to.



    The Horseshoe is very handy for Central Station.



    Well, sometimes!




  26. Granny Macs Bhoy on

    A big welcome to Tommy.



    My question for Tommy is if you had been born in another time and unable to play in the Lions era which other Celtic era/team would you now choose to play in and why.



    HH GMB





    Goes without saying,mate. Every word meant.



    My relationships were lucky to last fortyfive days.



    And on every occasion,we would part thinking not of what might have been,but,phew,lucky escape!



    You now have less than five years to plan for the big one!

  28. the long wait is over on




    Fair point but I still would like an answer from the big fella…




  29. Bom dia, Tommy.



    You played in (arguably) two of the Greatest ever Scottish teams in 67 – the Lions and Wembley “Wizards”.



    Had the two been able to face each other, who’d have won and would you have managed to crack one past Faither in the Scotland goal?

  30. eddieinkirkmichael on

    Question for TG



    If you hadn’t converted to being a full back, what kind of winger would you have made and do you think you would still have had a career as a pro footballer?

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