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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. Question for Tommy,

     

     

    What did Jock Stein have to say in the dressing room after the third match against Racing Club? Did they need to cheat to win the tie?

     

     

    HH

  2. Boa tarde,

     

     

    A wee bit late, but. Libertadores results from last night:-

     

     

    Universitario 0 Velez Sarsfield 1

     

     

    BOTAFOGO 2 San Lorenzo 0

     

     

    Zamora 0 ATLETICO-MG 1

     

     

    Santa Fe 3 Nacional 1

     

     

    Santos Laguna 1 Arsenal 0

     

     

    Flamengo and Cruzeiro are in action tonight. If I was pushed to predict, the outcome of the games tonight, I’d go:-

     

     

    Deportivo Cali v Cerro Porteño

     

    Cali have had a poor start this season. But then again so have Cerro.

     

    DRAW

     

     

    Real Garcilaso v Cruzeiro

     

    At sea level a no brainer this one. However, it’s being played at Cuzco, altitude approx 4,000m.

     

    HOME WIN

     

     

    León v Flamengo

     

    Turns out that León have had a shaky start to the season. Flamengo are not THAT hot, but probably the stronger side here – if they chase the game.

     

    AWAY WIN

     

     

    Deportivo Anzoategui v Peñarol

     

    Realtively unknowns against relatively well knowns here. Neither team setting the heather on fire.

     

    DRAW

     

     

    Boa sorte

  3. Palacio67 at 15.10

     

    Brilliant,not heard that in years,used to be the party piece of a member of a now defunct supporters bus I used to travel on,a great bus,you weren’t allowed on unless you had a kerry oot,happy days:-)

  4. BIG TAM G

     

    What a guy, only one word to describe him – – brilliant.

     

    Going back a few years now but following a Hibs game in Enbra I was invited to a party and when in full swing who turned up – you guessed Big TG.I’m sure but may be wrong but did TG not have a bash on the old piano!! Great night had by all.

     

    Memories, eh!! Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be

     

     

    KINGLuBO

  5. DBBIA and Bada Bing

     

     

    It is dry and calm in Capital, Foreign at the moment. However, I expect we will all get to show that Dunkirk spirit as the trains grind to a halt due to the wrong kind of calm

  6. Pogmathonyahun aka Laird of the Smiles on

    Q. For Tommy Gemmell

     

    Greetings Big Tam Gemmell from Germany from another Tam.

     

    A wee question you may answer or not and it concerns this iconic photograph

     

     

    The Lions

     

     

    Now, I know your fellow full back Mr Craig, pretty well as we worked together for a while. I believe you turned up for the photograph sporting a bit of a keeker. He says you refused to tell anybody how this came about and the last time I saw him, some time ago, this was still the case. So my question Thomas is: How did you get that black eye?

     

     

    Tommy, don’t feel compelled to answer that question ;-) I have met you a few times but wouldn’t expect to remember me but I once met you at your insurance company office and if I remember correctly you worked with a lad I went to school with big Jim Stewart.

     

    I have many great memories of you and the teams you played in but an abiding memory is getting into Celtic Park ( the then “Rangers” end) as this white blur hit the back of the net against Benfica.

     

    Take care and looking forward to reading the book.

  7. A question for Mr Gemmell;

     

     

    Mr Gemmell, I have a copy of Lion Heart (signed by yourself) and though I never ever saw you play I regard you as a hero, not just because of your role with our club but because you stand as an example about what a west coast lad can go on to achieve in the world. My question, in light of the wonderful shenanigans and carousing which the Lions got up to (and which helps make the legend), is do you think that the side would have won more European Cups if the modern footballing culture requirements of eating certain foods and avoiding the drink had been the practice then?

     

     

    Thank you.

  8. TBJ Praying for Oscar Knox on

    On the subject of scottish delicacies being transported afar

     

     

    I have just received info that a cqnr has once again persuaded his mother to smuggle sqwer slice . Pies and ..rolls .. into a middle eastern country .

     

     

    Im imagining the scene from midnight express .but with a wee woman from Blantyre standing in the airport in tears as the customs cops hold handfulls of buchanans of burnbank lorne while a colleague photographs them ( and probably posts on their facebook page )

  9. Halal halal we are the customs cops

     

    Halal halal you’ll know us by our tops

     

    We’re up to our knees in pies and rolls,

     

    and photographs we took

     

    and posted them all on Facebook

  10. Mountblow tim supporting wee oscar on

    Good evening CQN

     

    Welcome to CQN Tommy

     

     

    I remember being at Kilbowie Park

     

    Just after Clydebank built their new club house with the unbreakable windows

     

    And you rattled a shot right into the window

     

    The ones behind the glass all ducked and spilt their beer

     

    All over the place

     

     

    I never laughed so much in my life

     

     

    Hail Hail

  11. All Hail The Lions

     

    Welcome Tommy, I have had the pleasure of meeting you many times.

     

    Always the perfect ‘spokesman’ for the Lions!

     

    If i have to give credit to MON, for all the trophies he won for us, and i readily do,

     

    then, the greatest of these was the reinstatement of the fabled ‘LisbonLions’, to

     

    their rightful place at Celtic Park!

     

    Following MON’s first Treble, I was party to an ‘Evening With The Lions’ in my home

     

    town of Lurgan. It was left to me to negotiate a ‘fee’ with two of these giant’s, only to be told, well nobody have ever paid us a fee before!

     

    My God!, what’s wrong with you people!

     

    H.H.

  12. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Evening all and welcome to Tommy,

     

     

    Hope the book sells in the millions.

     

     

    The first football biography I ever read was “The Big Shot” written by our esteemed guest back in 1968 when he was a mere 24 years old.

     

     

    I must have read it (cover to cover) at least 10 times over the years – it never fails to bring a smile to my face and a lump to my throat.

     

     

    I hope this new book is half as good. If so, we are in for a treat.

     

     

    Hail Hail

  13. Never mind the kick at Haller what about the one on Frank Skinner,legend Mr gemmell and a gent to boot /no pun intended!

  14. Or : As the wee woman getsa through Customs , an eagle eyed customs officer shouts, ” Halal .Seize `er!

  15. • eddieinkirkmichael

     

    12:18 on 12 February, 2014

     

    Big Nan you have mail.

     

    After reading a wee story this morning I was reminded of an author that I was fond of in my teens. AJ Cronin, born in the parish of Cardross near Helensburgh. One of the most popular authors of his day and someone who dealt with issues that are still relevant today.

     

    If any of you guys are readers then I would highly recommend any of his novels but The Citadel and The Green Years along with Hatter’s Castle were my personal favourites.

     

     

    *my favourite author bar none. Angus Joseph Cronin was born of an Irish Catholic father and Scots Presbie mother, his father died and the family moved into Dumbarton (Round Riding Road) where his maternal grampa owned a hatter’s shop (Hatter’s Castle). His mother’s grampa a crusty oul Scot used tae walk him tae chapel on a Sunday and sit outside and wait for him, as his books tend to be a bit biographic events like this can be found in them.

     

     

    For oulder readers he is also the creator of Dr Finlay’s Casebook and Tannochbrae is allegedly Cardross.

     

     

    He was a lifelong time Dumbarton FC supporter as a result of the oul grampa taking him tae Boghead but his paternal uncle James Cronin, a publican in Bridge Street Alexandria, was an original shareholder with Celtic.

     

     

    There is also a plaque to commemorate AJ on a building in Alexandria (Main Street/King Edward Street) where he allegedly lived for a spell.

     

     

    As for the Parish of Cardross, it stretched from Cardross to the west of Dumbarton and out the Renton and Vale. Legend has it that Robert the Bruce passed away there in an area called Pillanflat which is on the banks of the Leven between Renton and Dalreoch. Also the housing schemes in that part of Dumbarton, Castlehill and Brucehill are also on Bruce’s Royal Estate

     

     

    I believe there’s a Robert the Bruce Heritage Centre at Renton Station….well worth a visit during this historical year.

     

     

    Oh aye and my maternal grampa was a distant cousin of AJ Cronin.

  16. Hail Hail Tommy and a big thanks to Paul67 for putting this together!

     

     

    Question for Tommy: Would Jock’s instructions change from game to game? If the opponents had a tricky winger would he ask you to mind that before you went bombing up the wing or was it just get forward, help the team and have a dig or a cross regardless of who you were playing?

     

     

    Also: did you feel you were a better outside left than a left back? If you had your own way would you have liked to have played in higher position? Or any other position?

  17. For Tommy

     

     

     

    The only poster I had on my wall as a youngster was the one of you taken and distributed by typhoo tea -an empty Celtic park and my hero shot as he lined up a volley -what a player what a shot

  18. I hope the cover’s not been decided upon.

     

     

    I want honesty – Tommy wearing the ’67 Hoops, lifting a pint in Baird’s, the European Cup sat on the bar beside him.

     

     

    Now THAT’S a cover, and a poster, the Huns will just love…

  19. Q for Tommy G.

     

     

    Am of the age where I had the pleasure of watching your entire career (and the Lions) at C.P. – unforgettable football – brilliant times!

     

     

    You were the Mhan for the penalties – am hard pressed to remember your thunderbolts missing the target. The only one that comes to mind was one where you hit the ball so hard and it rebounded somewhere close to the centre-circle – no moans from the crowd – we were all dumb-struck by the distance it traveled.

     

     

    Q: Did you ever take a penalty where you deliberately chipped it or put it away with a wee side-foot placement?

     

     

    H!H!

  20. I think our cqn Middle East correspondent has already munched his way through the evidence :>)

     

     

    About to settle down to watch a film while hurricane bawbag does it’s thing, anybody seen “Dallas buyers club”?

  21. Dontbrattbakkinanger on

    I think AJCronin went to St Joe’s in Dumfries.

     

     

    Robert the Bruce died in Cardross, of leprosy.

  22. Question for legend Tommy Gemmell.

     

     

    Tommy, if I was to meet you by chance and offerred you a drink would you buy me one back?

     

    The reason I ask is I’m a pal of your nephew Davie , we go to the games together on the Winchburgh CSC and I think that in the last 20 years I don’t think he’s as much as bought me a pint !!!

     

     

    Only joking BTW.

     

     

    Real question….. Did you ever score any tap-ins or were they all rip roaring efforts ?

     

    I’ve seen videos of your most famous goals and wondered how long were the games held up for to replace the nets ?

     

     

    Hail Hail Tommy, legend

  23. Good evening friends.

     

     

    Tommy – if a train leaves Boston at 1.15pm and heads east travelling at 85MPH and another leaves Washington, heading west……….

  24. time for change on

    Winning Captains

     

     

     

    I’m sorry but I don’t like black pudding .(hope this doesn’t make me a bad person)

  25. TOMMY G

     

     

    When you returned to Glasgow after Helmut Haller smacked your boot with his backside, did big Jock have anything to say?

  26. vmhan – ynwa wee oscar

     

    About to settle down to watch a film while hurricane bawbag does it’s thing, anybody seen “Dallas buyers club”?

     

    ………….

     

    Yes.

     

    Me.

     

     

     

     

    It is fairly good.

  27. Corkcelt

     

     

    Wherever you are. Cork airport shut flight to Edinburgh cancelled and rescheduled 24 hours. Is this wind typical of Cork, cannae even light ma fag