I know we met them in a European Cup semi-final in 1972, but the forthcoming tie against Inter Milan is all about the wonderful heritage we were gifted in 1967. La Grande Inter, as Internazionale, then the greatest team Italy had known, had won two of the previous three European Cups and were controversially denied in the semi-final of the other. They won three of the previous four Italian titles, denied the fourth on a play-off, and topped the table with two weeks of the Italian season to go.
They were an awesome team with gifted strikers but it was the defence which marked them out; this was a team who didn’t concede goals, when they took the lead, they kept it.
Simpson, Craig, Gemmell; Murdoch, McNeill and Clark; Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld and Lennox, and Jock Stein, not only killed La Grande Inter, but did so, so comprehensively, they forced Inter, and the rest of the Italian game, to change their ways. Catenaccio, the suffocating, ultra-defensive system, was finished.
For Europe, the consequences were profound. Celtic, with their wave after wave of attack; 45 attempts on goal in a European final; were celebrated everywhere. The drift towards caution stopped, teams realised the very best defensive sides could be beaten into submission by sheer talent. In the two subsequent decades the dominant Latin countries of Italy, Spain and Portugal, who had won all previous European Cups, would win the trophy only once.
Football fans across the globe, not just Celtic fans, will want to be there when the teams meet in a game which represents History, not just our history, Europe’s History.
We’ll talk later today on moves being put on the SFA at the moment. ‘Here we go again…….’
Still time to order your 2015 CQN Annual for Christmas.
You can also order the CQN Annual and DVD bundle here. It’s a great offer, check it out – oh, and there’s tons of photos, fresh stories and comment on the first time Inter faced the green and white hoops.
The latest edition of the Magazine is out today, click on the download link on the graphic below to read for free.
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