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. DBBIA



    I thought that AJ Cronin went, at least for a time, to St Aloysius. Open to correction though of course. I read the Green Years and the later The Northern Light 20 plus years ago. Old fashioned I suppose but I enjoyed both.




    Jimbo67supporting Oscar Knox

  2. Tommy G



    Would you swop places with Celtic’s other Tommy G(raveson)?







  3. time for change – wasn’t there a white pudding alternative on here?



    This was be a “bonus” item – a CQN special



    Incidentally today Tommy has been digging out his photographs for the book and for the first time has been sitting reading CQN, astonished and delighted that his post has had such a response. He can’t wait to get his own log in details!



    Keep the questions coming – we will compile them around 11pm tonight and send over so that Tommy can start on his answers in the morning. Some people have mentioned his first book from 1968 – The Big Shot. I have Tommy’s own copy here and as he has copyright of the book which is long out of print we may be able to add some content from the first book to the new book.

  4. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Son is on his way back to north staffs from stornaway, flew to glasgow ok but is now stuck at carlisle for the night. Told him to make sure the black pudding is ok.

  5. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Wind is howling here, stoke game must be in doubt -the forecast is it should drop around 8pm which is the rescheduled ko time.

  6. For Tommy



    I remember well and would look forward to your monday morning visits to The Twa Tams in Perth around 1976/77, i believe you were in town doing the banking for the Commercial hotel you owned in Errol but enjoyed coming in for a small libation with Martin Sweeney, my late father George and Mary my mother, i was the teenage scamp who invariably served the drinks, i loved hearing the craic and just being in your presence, great memories. I never quite forgave my parents though for not getting in touch with me when i was at Perth College, i came home one teatime to be told that Jinky had spent the afternoon in the Tams, i believe alongside your good self, holding court and on the lash! Looking forward to your book Tommy HH and all the best to you and yours, cyber glass raised……………….. Son of Tam :)

  7. The One Show Special now on the floods with Shane Richie…..have these people not suffered enough?

  8. Ps remember the one of their full back as well especially when scrunched up and volleyed into the bin ala mr gemmell

  9. mighty tim supporting wee Oscar on

    Mr Gemmell in all the games you played in have you ever seen a goalie as scared as the St.Etienne one when he faced you taking a penalty.


    You are a Legend.




  10. Hi Tommy,my fav Celtic player of all, what an honour that you may be reading this.



    In ’69 I had just got settled when Bertie nudged the ball back to you at a free kick. I was right behind the shot as it went straight into the Benfica net, first of 3 in a sublime performance on a beautiful floodlit evening,



    My simple question is ‘were you born with this gift of a thunderous shot or did you work at it for hours on end’?

  11. Dontbrattbakkinanger


    18:37 on


    12 February, 2014


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



    Robert the Bruce died in Cardross, of leprosy.




    could the good wee Dr Findlay do nothing for him? ……braw

  12. t n t



    An inevitable question methinks lol



    Let’s hope we get the anticipated answer!!!!

  13. Question for Tommy



    What did big Jock and the team hope to achieve , privately not stories to the SMSM, from 65/66 onwards? Both domestically and Europe




  14. Gene's a Bhoy's name on

    Question for Tom


    you won 18 caps, billy 29 and jinky 23 – was there a feeling in the dressing room that there was favouritism being shown elsewhere and that playing for Celtic was a disadvantage.

  15. Kilbowie Kelt will vote YES on

    Tontine Tim



    18:26 on 12 February,





    Thanks, TT.


    I have drifted away a wee bit from this erstwhile Celtic oasis because of the negativity & the hunlike sense of entitlement.


    No matter, I can not let your post go past without thanking you.


    Your post brought me great pleasure.


    Any area which can claim both A.J.Cronin & Robert de Brus has indeed been touched by the Gods.


    The only thing you missed was the ancient chapel of St. Mahew, where I believe that the Bruce performed his religious duties.




    God Bless YOU & all Jeely Eaters.

  16. Welcome to Cqn tommy- my question ” after an old firm game- how difficult was it to get undressed wae wee willie henderson in your back pocket? “

  17. Paul Telfer was on RS about half six. Apparently taking up a coaching position in USA. He nearly got the ICT job but JH pipped him.



    Anyway…he was fantastically complementary about his time at Celtic…the fans…the professionalism…the facilities…the back room team…etc. On a par with the top 4 of the EPL.



    “The happiest most fulfilling 2 years of my entire career”.



    This from a man often pilloried by a section of the support.



    Respect Paul.



    Needless to say RS quickly moved on.

  18. Three questions for Tommy.



    To pound up and down the flanks as you did must have required a certain level of fitness. How was that acheived and are modern day full backs as fit or fitter?



    Did you play in a game at CP v Dundee Utd when we Jimmy sold the Utd such a dummy he ran off the park and the game slowed to a halt as all players Utd and Celts laughed at him. If so how do you remember it.



    Finally who was it you booted in the haw maws in the World Champiinship final in Montevideo and a two part supplementary



    Was he chosen at random and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?




    Had you painted a target on said sore area (metaphorically speaking of course) beforehand and were delivering divine retribution as in “God that must have hurt”.?

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