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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    We had some terribly inconsistent left-backs once Tommy left.



    And that is being kind.



    We also had many playing there because we frankly didnae have a left-back!



    Possibly the best since was Tosh McKinlay. And he was nearing the end of his career and mostly played on the wing.



    Honourable mention to Stephane Mahe,of course.



    And Izzy. But I was really referring to former custodians of the role.

  2. Tommy-thanks for the memories and the history,MON made a big effort to get the Lions back involved at CP on Matchdays,how was this appreciated by the bhoys ? And do you think previous custodians could and should have done more to honour the Lions remarkable achievement?HH

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




    How do you make cheese on toast ?




    Tosh and Stephane – hell even Lee Naylor – played well for short periods of their career with us I agree but there have been some stinkers there whom I won’t name. Arguably the best since Tommy were Danny McGrain ( who had a couple of spells there) and Tom Boyd. Both of them were right footed for the most part.




    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox

  5. jimbo67



    there was a dash of tounge in cheek with Anton we all know what he offered as a player and his limitations but I know many like me loved the big fella

  6. TG



    In the 60,s and 70,s most teams in the league had a nippy wee forward like Ford at Hearts , Adamson at St Mirren or Aird at St Johnstone . Was there anyone in particular you found gave you a harder time than most .




  7. Tommy



    Seein’ as how you’re a bit of a Ghod, any chance you can let us know the winner of the 5:15 tonight at Kempton … ?




  8. Q for Tommy.



    Back in the 1990s I used to play 5-a-sides regularly at the Pitz at Townhead. Saw you playing on the neighbouring pitch a few times but you were usually in goal. Was this because (a) You were an exceptional goalkeeper with cat-like reactions, or (b) You were the last to get picked? ;)

  9. Wonderful to have you on CQN Tommy!! A hero from my early days of following Celtic as well as a Legend. Look forward to reading your book.


    My question is, who were your football heroes through your career?

  10. Welcome Big Tommy….absolute legend.


    The first time I saw the hoops, I was five years old…..and have never forgot that experience, will stay with me forever.


    My auld maw tells me I was struck dumb for hours afterwards, when I eventually spoke, the first words I said….Bobby Lennox…


    The Lisbon Lions…..true genius in abundance.


    Tommy, Love you big man….Hail Hail

  11. I wouldnt say the Wembly wizards of 67 were one of the greatest scottish teams.


    They got a famous victory and rubbed it in with show-boating but there were better scottish international sides. I seem to remember that it was not a first choice selection due to injuries.


    Of course they will always be remembered for being the first to beat the 66 world cup holders. The sequence of backheels from Baxter Bremner and Law in think was a classic moment.

  12. Whitedoghunch



    I gave a straight bat reply to your question. Anton was , like John Doyle, an inconsistent player but like JD gave everything he had in every game. That counts for a lot with people like me. In the same way that with Doyle and his goal against Real and his wonderful double at Love Street a fortnight earlier so it is that with Anton I’ll always remember his runs up the left during the cup final of 1988 and his cross which led to the equaliser on what was an unforgettably happy day



    Jimbo67 supporting Oscar Knox

  13. Mr Gemmell



    Yet to meet you and ye wurny my favourite player….Henrik was and still is






    If Joe McBride had been fit would you or anyone else associated with the team at that time gave him a place in the starting line up in Lisbon and if so who would have been left out

  14. Moonbeams WD. Kano 2000 \o/ Supporting Neil Lennon 29.9%. Champions. C’mon Wee Oscar.



    Its roasted cheese….




  15. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    The SFA/SPFL have issued an Immortality Charter to clubs who face Administration or Liquidation, all at the discretion of the SFA Board.



    Last October, the clubs were Veering towards relegation for clubs in Admin.



    What could have happened in the meantime, eh?




    Tommy G,



    Early in your career, Celtic played Thistle at Firhill one night.



    You had a howler! Later that evening, I saw you crossing the concourse of the Central Station,with a young lady.



    Your head was stuck in the early edition paper, presumably reading the match report.



    I thought to myself, ” you really don’t want to be reading that, me lad!”



    However, the rest as they day is legend. Thanks for the memories.

  16. Mr Gemmell,



    As you and the Lions lifted the big cup did it ever dawn you that you had started the downfall of our rivals – The huns?



    All I can say is – fantastic work and very much appreciated.

  17. Paul 67



    The good humour and awe on display is brilliant to read. Nothing like a Lisbon Lion to bring us all together.


    Hail, hail, Tommy Gemmell.

  18. Tommy



    Often saw you down in Troon during the late 60s/early 70s when CFC would come down and train, and stay in the Marine Hotel.



    Got your autograph a few times.



    I was one of the spotty youths who were always there. You must have been sick of the sight of us!




  19. Lennon n Mc....Mjallby on




    Did you or any of the other Lions get to meet any of the big musical groups of the time like The Beatles?

  20. When the referee blew for half time at Tynecastle, Big Tam kicked the ball up into the “shed”. As the stewards and the Polis tried to retrieve it, the Celtic support sang “We’ve got the ba’ E-I-Adio we’ve got the Ba’.


    Throughout the second half the Ba’ would make regular appearances, held high, much to the frustration or the stewards and the delight of the supporters.


    “Yer no gettin’ it back E-I Adio Yer no gettin’ it back”.


    Another great memory…..Anyone remember?


    Question for Big Tam


    How come yer brother Davie is better lookin’ than you :-)


    Winchburgh CSC


    Teuchter ar La

  21. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on

    Our vocal support (GB) were disbanded for displaying 2 banners. Yet we tolerate 3000 + numpties abuse our manager? Time to show our teeth Peter!!

  22. Picked up the tickets today for CQTEN – they have been printed by the Ticket Office at Celtic Park and are in the style of matchday tickets. A real collectors item!



    Anyone who has any special dietary requirements re the Dinner could they let us know?



    There are still a limited number of places available – email if you want to come along to what is going to be a very special occasion.

  23. Question for Tommy.



    When Billy had to go out alone at Lisbon to lift the Big Cup, were you all a bit sad that you couldn’t go with him, or just relieved to be in the safety of the dressing room?

  24. A Ceiler Gonof Rust Supporting Neil Lennon against brainless thugs and zombies on

    Right scratch my page 1 question to big TG as nobody cares where “off oot” is. It might as well be Middle Earth or Narnia.




    My Question to Tommy is:



    Given what’s happened in Scottish football over the past three years and particularly around the corruption of RFC and the Scottish football authorities with regard to their handling of RFC, if you were playing during this era for Celtic do you think you would feel cheated? If so, why?



    Ok that’s two questions.





  25. First book (not just football) I ever bought was the BIG SHOT I think it was early 70,s and in a bookshop in Smithfield. Anyway, what I do clearly remember is the excitement of hurrying home to read it.



    HAIL HAIL TO A LEGEND!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. LiviBhoy - God bless wee Oscar on




    As a friend of the late George Best. Would Jock Stein have got more playing years out of George than Man Utd did?




  27. jude2005 is Neil Lennon \o/ on




    Willie Henderson said you crossed a good winger. Did you enjoy that comment?

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