Quantcast

Lions, first treble after 50 years of darkness

408

With the Lisbon Lions ‘acting in concert’, as is often the case in Glasgow football circles these days, I hope Celtic plan to mark the 50th anniversary of another of their achievements this Saturday. The St Johnstone game marks 50 years to the day the Lions won Celtic’s very first treble.

A Bobby Lennox goal won the League Cup against Rangers on 29 October 1966, before two Willie Wallace goals took the Scottish Cup on 29 April 1967. The treble was completed at Ibrox, when Jimmy Johnstone scored twice to secure the point Celtic required.

Given the 50 years that we have enjoyed since that season, it is unimaginable to believe that this was the first occasion Celtic retained the league title for exactly 50 years. Last doing so with a win at Dumbarton on 7 April 1917.

It has been said here often before, but it cannot be overestimated what Jock Stein and the Lions did for Celtic. The European Cup and nine-in-a-row are merely the headlines. The titles are trophies you have enjoyed since are the substance. The story would more resemble that dark half century without retaining a league, without them.  When the club and New Balance launch next season’s strips later today, they homage they will pay to the men of ’67 is fully merited.

Thank you to all who have sponsored me for the Celtic Foundation. I’m running the Stirling Marathon on 21 May. I know there are a million demands on you but all support is appreciated.

Season_DVDofferAULDWALLACE2

Click Here for Comments >
Share.

About Author

408 Comments

  1. BobbyM

     

    A bit of both me thinks :-)

     

    It’s sad tho, here we are seeing an institution going down the pan, many are wailing and blaming others for their misfortune, when the powers that be try their hardest to keep them afloat all the while swimming against the financial tide, thank feck for capatalism I say :-)

     

    HH

  2. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Spirit of 67 Lisbon 17 Sclaffbaw update. 12 Sclaffers: 26th May 2017. Times confirmed at Belas Club de Campo for 13.00, 13.10 and 13.20.

     

     

    https://www.belasclubedecampo.pt/golf/?lang=en

     

     

    Costs for golf and transport as previously communicated. Two pick ups will be the 7 Hotel (seven sclaffers) and the Martim Moniz 28 (two sclaffers). Mind yer sclaffbaw accoutrements, and bring a prize if you can. We have some great prize donations so far but need a few more.

     

     

    If any CQN’r has a spare fiver get yourself a ticket to BRTH’s big swally raffle and give yourself a chance to win a unique cask strength, single cask privately bottled Glenfarclas (bottle number 67 in a very nice case) that’s probably worth at least a grand, a top vodka and a vintage Port.

     

     

    We’re trying to raise funds to assist in the refurbishment of St Mary’s, primarily to help replace the stained glass windows, and for Mary’s Meals to help feed some very hungry children.

     

     

    Tickets can be bought here:

     

     

    https://www.ebid.net/uk/for-sale/premium-single-malt-whisky-5-x-distilled-gold-leaf-vodka-and-40-yr-vintage-port-156590570.htm

     

     

     

    HH Celtic men and wummin

  3. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    TET, heading your way 16th June. Limber up and don’t gee me yer excuses. Will mail you to organise a sclaffmeet.

     

     

    BTW, hope you enjoyed the oranges and lemons:_)

     

     

     

    HH

  4. Carnoustie G

     

    They were superb, the Lemons esp were bitter, proper bitter like.

     

    Nay excuses, on a given day and had I played as much as my oppos what do you think the outcome would be :-)

     

    HH

  5. Right need to retire now.

     

    Sleep well Timland

     

    Take care and God bless

     

    HH

     

    KTF

     

    …………………………………

     

    CG

     

    Have a few nice vino blancos for you

  6. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    TET, you’d still get pumped……………..:_)

     

     

    Enjoy the rest of the season and I’ll see you soon.

     

     

    HH

  7. WillieFernie,was there a pub called the Monaco in Dalmarnock Rd,near Brigton Cross,the woman who owned it ,had a colour TV , was always mobbed,when the High Chapperall was on,The New Monaco bar,in London Rd was a great boozer,for a guy I worked with in Gas Board,Ellis Patrick,did you know him.

  8. Cosy Corner Bhoy on

    As an interested political observer I find the observations of SNP philosophy intriguing .

     

    Presumably, they are for Scottish independence and that is their ‘ raison d’etre’. Similarly it could be said that UKIP were solely formed to ‘leave the EU’ . There has been a referendum and the objective has been achieved but I don’t see any dissolution of UKIP and they will be fielding candidates next month!

     

    Now, should SNP get a 2nd referendum and actually win it will all the SNP elected members including ‘ Hitler in knickers’ dissolve the party as MISSION ACCOMPLISHED and allow many of their supporters to look forward to a Socialist society as they foresee when independence is gained? Methinks not!

     

    My experience of ‘ Representatives of the people’ is their attitude is ‘I’m alight Jack’ so there will still be an SNP party like there is still a UKIP after Brexit!

     

    Maybe it is just old age comes with being always cynical !!!!!

     

    It’s not often I do the politics on the blog but polling day and all that!!!!!

  9. CELTIC are considering a £1.5million summer move for John McGinn.

     

     

    The Scottish cap is a player Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers rates highly.

     

     

    The midfielder, 22, has just come off a successful season where he has helped Hibs return to the Premiership as winners of the Championship.

     

     

    McGinn still has two years left on his contract but there is also strong interest from English clubs, including Sunderland. Rodgers is aware of potential English competition and is weighing up whether to make a quickfire bid.

     

     

    The Hoops will offload several fringe players like Kris Commons and Scott Allan in the summer.

     

     

    Hibs are keen to get McGinn to sign a new contract but have fallen short in their efforts so far.

  10. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    sean thornton, I wonder what was in that suit case?………………..hmmmmmm???

     

     

    A picture of a guy who spokily looked a little bit like Michael Fagan, a large vibrating banana and an oar from William Willet’s boat?

     

     

    He done ok for an inbred galloot.

     

     

     

    Your dad was right.

  11. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    CCB, I’m going to vote for “Hitler in knickers’ on June the 8th. Pity Annabel’s no on the go these days. Red meat red meat red meat.

     

     

    Bring a prize and yer sclaff shoes to Lisboa.

     

     

     

    See you in a few weeks.

     

     

     

    HH

  12. The greasy greek, the plook of edinburgh.

     

    A parasite who has lived a life of luxury at the expense of the taxpayer!

  13. A Ceiler Gonof Rust on

    Gary67, that could only have read better if it said:

     

     

    CELTIC are considering a £.5.1 million summer move for John McGinn with the addition of six loan players to Hibs. Brendan Rogers and Neil Lennon are good pals and want to ram it right up the hun bastards next season and agreed the deal over eggs benedict breakfast at Tiffany’s. We all know how the hun enjoy Tifanny’s, and Neil and Brendan couldn’t finish the meeting as they we both giggling into their crème de menthe.

     

     

    Pfft.

  14. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Leigh Griffiths hits back at claims Celtic’s players taunted Rangers fans with their Ibrox goal celebrations

     

     

    Matthew Lindsay, Chief Football Writer The Herald

     

     

    LEIGH Griffiths last night dismissed claims the Celtic players had deliberately provoked the Rangers supporters with their goal celebrations during their record-breaking 5-1 victory at Ibrox last weekend.

     

     

    Scott Sinclair was the victim of an alleged racist taunt – an offence which a man has since been arrested over – after opening the scoring from the penalty spot in the first half of the Ladbrokes Premiership match on Saturday.

     

     

    Elsewhere, a Rangers fan also invaded the pitch and tried to attack the Celtic captain Scott Brown before being led away by stewards and the visiting players were also pelted by coins and other missiles.

     

     

    A spokesman for Rangers supporters’ group Club 1872 afterwards condemned those responsible – but also called for the “proper authorities” to take action over “players taunting opposing fans during the majority of goal celebrations”.

     

     

    However, Griffiths, who had a battery hurled at him after running to the corner flag in front of the Sandy Jardine and Copland Road Stands after putting Celtic two in front, rejected that suggestion.

     

     

    He stressed the Celtic players would have been cautioned by match official John Beaton if they had broken any rules – and insisted they would have had no issues if their opponents had celebrated in the same manner after netting at Parkhead.

     

     

    “It was a normal celebration,” he said at the launch of the Scottish champions’ kit for the 2017/18 season. “There was no question of goading the fans. If you goad fans you will get booked, simple as that.

     

     

    “We were at the edge of the pitch, we didn’t go over the hoardings or anything like that. Not until the second half when we scored in front of the Celtic fans.

     

     

    “I think if the Rangers players did that at our place there wouldn’t be any qualms from us. If the shoe was on the other foot and the Rangers players did that at Celtic Park it wouldn’t be a problem.”

     

     

    Meanwhile, Griffiths, who has taken over from Moussa Dembele in the Celtic team, has admitted he is hoping to perform well enough up front in the next four league games to get selected to play in the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen later this month and the Scotland game against England next month.

     

     

    The 26-year-old striker has, despite netting 40 times in all competitions last season, had to play understudy to Dembele, who has scored 32 goals since moving to this country last summer, in recent months.

     

     

    However, the French forward suffered a hamstring strain during the Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Rangers last month and the Scot has taken his place in Brendan Rodgers’s side.

     

     

    “For my personal point of view I have five cup finals,” he said. “Last week I scored a good goal, played well and was involved in a lot of decent things but the main objective is to get minutes, play as well as I can and get into the cup final team. Then I’ve got another big game for Scotland in June and I want to be firing on all cylinders for that.

     

     

    “It’s unfortunate that Moussa got injured, but it happened to me earlier in the season and he stepped up to play. I’m fully fit and hopefully I can score goals. The cup final and England games are coming up fast.”

     

     

    Rodgers has expressed concerns about how little time there is between Scotland’s next Russia 2018 qualifier against England at Hampden on June 10 and Celtic’s opening Champions League qualifier on either July 11 or 12.

     

     

    No fewer than six of his first team regulars – Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, James Forrest, Craig Gordon, Griffiths and Kieran Tierney – started for Gordon Strachan’s side in their World Cup qualifier against Slovenia in March.

     

     

    The Celtic manager feels being involved in the meeting with Gareth Southgate’s team could adversely affect his players’ preparations for those important European matches. But Griffiths believes he will be fine due to his lack of game time this year.

     

     

    “We are only going to get five or six days off after the cup final and then we are back training with Scotland,” he said. “We are not going to get a lot of time off. The boys in England will get a few days off before they meet up with the squad. We’ll keep ticking over for a few days until we go back to training to be firing on all cylinders.

     

     

    “I don’t know how long we will get off and when we are back in. If it’s June 22 then 12 days is enough for a holiday and to keep yourself ticking over. Coming back, I’m sure the gaffer will take into consideration the fact we’ve not had that long off. Training will be worked around us. But the Champions League qualifiers make or break our season and the gaffer will want everybody fit and raring to go.”

     

     

    Griffiths has spent lengthy spells on the sidelines with injuries this season and admitted that Rodgers had given him a “kick up the backside” about how he was applying himself which he feels has made a significant difference to his fitness.

     

     

    “It’s never nice or easy being injured,” he said. “There’s no one more disappointed than me when you are injured. Since I’ve come back I’ve proved my fitness and Moussa being injured gives me a chance. That (the weekend win over Rangers) was my first 90 minutes since December 12. I hadn’t played too many minutes after that as well.

     

     

    “The manager wanted me to come back and not break down. I had problem with my calves and I rushed back. Had I taken another few weeks then I’d have been fine. I’ve worked on it now and the last time I injured my calf I took some extra time and it’s been fine.

     

     

    “The chat with the gaffer wasn’t heated. He thinks highly of me and knows what I can do, but I can’t help him from the treatment table. If Moussa gets injured then I’m the next striker he needs to turn to.”

     

     

    Scott Hennesey 12:03am Fri 5 May 17

     

    “Club 1872…also called for the “proper authorities” to take action over “players taunting opposing fans during the majority of goal celebrations”.

     

     

    Couldn’t agree more. The Celtic players were a disgrace at Ibrox on Saturday. Taunting Rangers fans by throwing batteries and coins at them. Taunting Rangers fans by running off the pitch to confront them. Taunting Rangers fans by making racist gestures towards them.

     

     

    The Rangers fans should be commended for the restraint they showed in the face of such provocation.

     

     

    stefan strzelecki 12:14am Fri 5 May 17

     

     

    I was seated in the upper tier of the sandy jardine stand at the corner flag. I witnessed what I can only describe as orchestrated gesticulations towards Rangers supporters from the Celtic captain of all people. He was eyeballing seated supporters as were the group of Celtic players. Just because the referee didn’t punish means nothing as has been proven recently officials get things wrong.

     

     

    These were not goal celebrations with their own supporters . This was done in a malevolent manner to mock or ridicule Rangers supporters. That is unbecoming of a club like Celtic even in the heat of rivalry like no other. Being an old firm captain requires dignity in winning and defeat in my eyes. Some may disagree but that is how I witnessed the events.

     

     

    To be fair to Griffiths he was thinking of deriding the fans after the second goal but showed common sense by doing a pirouette around the corner flag. It didn’t stop the captain’s aggressive celebrations in direct line from home supporters. Why can’t players run to their own supporters?

     

     

    Chic Harden > stefan strzelecki 12:44am Fri 5 May 17

     

     

    Stef, the first two goals were scored in a goalmouth which is hemmed in by the Main, Govan and Copeland Road stands respectively, or the three Rangers supporters seating areas to be more precise. Where should Celtic players have celebrated scoring, do you think?

     

     

    Scott Brown and his Merry Men – are they allowed to show their pleasure and satisfaction when scoring in front of 42,500 people who are raining vile abuse down upon them?

     

     

    Do you condone sectarian, racist and violent abuse as just another Saturday at ibrox? No complaints I assume with the three second half goals when our players could celebrate with our fans?

     

     

    Perhaps you might blame your own team for being so utterly p*sh at some point.

  15. Margaret McGill on

    Hi Macjay

     

    Just noticed your post from last night.

     

    thanks and I agree with you re sevco.

     

    Any chance you’ll be hauling your old right wing arse over anytime in the next 3 weeks?

  16. Margaret McGill on

    One good thing about the ongoing local elections in the UK is that our proud legacy of using paper and not investing in digital voting since democracy is more of a paper peasant thing is that no matter the outcome we cannot blame the Russians. Or the Chinese or Facebook.

  17. An Tearmann on

    SFTB

     

     

    ‘temporary’ snp supporter

     

    Incorrect there my friend in big paragraphs:-).never voted for them in ma puff.

     

    Independence yep I did vote for it.

     

    I just have a thing about betrayal and labour, have done since healey intro’d chicago school policies in 1976.the very opposite of what the party was bout.

     

    And Darling was never a labour man, a morgan stanley man yes,

     

    Anyway my timing was out found out bout his move last week

     

     

    CCB

     

     

    Hitler in knickers

     

    Hahahahaha

     

    Quality:-)

     

     

    HH

  18. macjay1 for Neil Lennon on

    MARGARET MCGILL on 5TH MAY 2017 3:06 AM

     

     

    Highly unlikely , mate.

     

    :-(

  19. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    MACJAY

     

     

    Good to see you dipping your toe back into these shark-infested waters. Hope you enjoyed yer wee rest.

     

     

    HH.

  20. BOBBY MURDOCH'S CURLED-UP WINKLEPICKERS on

    ASTORMHACHROI

     

     

    Unbelievable comments below that article. Especially the one from

     

     

    stefan strzelecki 12:14am Fri 5 May 17

     

     

    So bad,I thought it was sarcasm. Or irony,whatever…

  21. Bateen Bhoy on

    Good Morning CQN

     

    20 days to go

     

     

    Today in Lisbon it will be partly cloudy, with an expected high of 66 degrees, and a 10% chance of rain

  22. williefernie on

    Timbhoy1

     

    When my dad frequented the New Monaco late 60’s the owner was a Billy MacMillan who paid my dad’s trip to Milan in 1970.Can he no pay for me as well? I remember asking.I was 14 so wouldn’t know too many of my dad’s friends.HH.

  23. AURORABOREALIS79

     

     

    To answer your question about solicitor’s,

     

    Every union has solicitor firms that they use, and my educated guess is that your union will not bring in a solicitor at this stage as you haven’t been dismissed ?

     

     

    If or when your union appoint a firm of solicitors their fees are met by the union, although it is obviously union members subscriptions that pay for their fees.

     

    Is there an ACAS Office that you and/or your union can contact if need be ?

     

     

    Remember, if you were “suspended” during a “Back to Work Meeting” that may be viewed as unreasonable behaviour ( at the very least by your employer). It reads to me that your managers are incompetent or worse, and that’s being kind.

     

    A “Back to Work Meeting” is NOT a Disciplinary Hearing, and if in your case your employer has saw fit to “Discipline” you during that meeting, then you will have strong argument ?

     

    Finally for the moment ( cos I am still slightly confused about the events ), you stated that one of your colleagues is also a member of your union ( conflict of interest ?) and that you were “persuaded” to attend the last “Back to work Meeting”, I don’t understand how it is possible that this other colleague has any role to play in your Back to Work Meetings, unless of course this other colleague was somehow the reason for you being off work in the first instance, which then led to you walking out of the 1st meeting ?

     

     

    As others have posted,you MUST speak to someone at your union asap, it could be that your employer has allowed a “situation” between you and others to fester, instead of addressing any issues at the earliest point ?

     

    Again IF, you have taken time off due to stress issues in the workplace in the past, you should have written documentation of this, including any GP sick lines that you may have submitted to your employer, which could show that your employer was previously made aware of a possible situation, but did little or nothing to address it, thus affecting your health further ?

     

     

    HH

  24. Saint Stivs on

    Back in blighty.

     

    At Heathrow on a glorious zunny morning.

     

     

    Makes me proud to be British.

  25. The media coverage of this Duke of Embra ” retiring ? is nothing short of stomach churning for this particular anti royalist.

     

     

    This Parasite Clown is being lauded as some kind of ” Statesman/Hero” by the media. The BBC News this morn giving it ” The Nation Salutes You Sir” and all that pash !

     

     

    As I am alledgedly part of this “nation”….they do NOT speak for me, and I certainly don’t “Salute” this BIGOT/RACIST…..My God IF I had my way…..I would discard the Royals and their like quicker than a Hun supporter can throw away his scabby Hun scarf !

     

     

    Is there ANY political Party ( with REAL feckin Muscle) that I can vote for to get rid of these Parasites for EVER and EVER ?

     

    Maybe IF I get a few quid…I’ll just go to Lisbon.or anywhere…and no come back !

     

     

    HH

  26. Yet again as with BREXIT….our so called “CELTIC COUSINS” the Welsh have voted Tory in their local elections just like the English……..What time is the REVOLUTION at ?

     

     

    Maybe IF Scotland was independent, we could sell Edinburgh and open up the Royal Scottish Estates like Balmoral for the Homeless and Build Affordable Social Housing for ordinary folk ?

     

     

    Maybe Nicola has a “Cunning Plan” ?

     

    Win Independence, and then chuck the Royals back down south where they are loved and adored ?

     

     

    Now wouldn’t that be something ?

     

     

    Tommy Sheridan as the President of the Scottish Peoples ( not peepils) Republic ?

     

     

    Whit a day that would be…dancing and drinking in the streets of Glesga ( like most days ?).

     

     

    Paradise Found…nae feckin royals and their “hingers on”.

  27. Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan on

    Good Morning.

     

     

    Lisbon update.

     

     

    I posted yesterday that stadium access has been agreed between 3pm and 5pm on May 25th. This was a key agreement because much of what was planned on the 25th was governed by the timing of the stadium visit.

     

     

    We hope to have the commemorative mass in The Basilica of Our Lady and the Martyrs in Rua Garrett in Chiado at 11:00 am on the morning of the 25th and diocesan wheels are in motion to make the appropriate arrangements and observe the necessary protocols to make this happen.

     

     

    Malorbhoy has already offered to do a reading and others have suggested bidding prayers etc.

     

     

    The Basilica is a stone’s throw from the accommodation where some of the CQN group are staying and is right in the centre of town.

     

     

    Both BBC and STV are sending out film crews to cover the celebrations and they are particularly interested in speaking to those fans who were in Lisbon 50 years ago. Media interest in this, and not just Scottish media either, will steadily increase over the coming weeks.

     

     

    We are awaiting the result of a licence application in connection wth a large street party for the evening of the 25th of May. Hopefully, we will hear today or Monday re this.

     

     

    Lastly, all opportunity to come to the dinner will close on Saturday as after that we will have no opportunity to add to the numbers permitted into the venue.

     

     

    If anyone wants to go then please contact me urgently on jjoe88@hotmail.com.

     

     

    Do not presume that you are on the dinner guest list unless you have specifically been in touch with me about it, paid for your seat, and received confirmation and acknowledgement etc so please get in touch if you have not been in touch before.

     

     

    Lastly, I am now putting together some prizes for the charity raffle and a small number of auction items. All suggestions and offers of prizes welcome.

     

     

    jjoe88@hotmail.co.uk

     

     

    More later.

     

     

    Cheers

     

     

     

    BRTH

  28. Good morning

     

     

    Thanks to Portugese football analyst Tiago Estêvão, I have data on the top U21 goal scorers across the major European leagues. So how does Dembele compare – this is his peer group?

     

     

    http://celticbynumberscom.ipage.com/shooting-stars/

     

     

    A relevant reference point for Dembele is Tammy Abraham, the 19 year old Chelsea forward who has scored 23 goals on loan at Bristol City. Abraham is following a similar development path to Dembele who scored 15 for Fulham in the English Championship last season when also 19. How does their performances compare? All revealed!

     

     

    Enjoy!

     

     

    HH

  29. South Of Tunis on

    24 degrees at 9 AM -way down south .

     

     

    Today’s 3 from 67 ( a very good year ! )

     

     

    7″ –James Carr -I’m a Fool For You ( Stateside )

     

    7 ” -Slim Harpo -I’m Gonna Keep What I’ve Got – ( Excello )

     

    7″ -Five By Five –Hang Up (Paula ).

     

     

    The woman from Padova says — ” Hope you can do this for the year you met me “.

     

     

    Off oot !

  30. South Of Tunis on

    Wee delay in the offing oot .

     

     

    Deeply worrying film from Marseille on the 9 am news . -the level of hatred etc -wowee . . One early 20’s chap opined — ” Might be the last time we do it this way– next time it could be guns “

  31. South Of Tunis on

    FItba !

     

     

    Watched Celta Vigo v Manchester Utd last night . Long time since I’ve seen either of them . Dearie Me – I expected more from Celta Vigo.. . Top 6 in Serie A are streets ahead of both of these teams.

  32. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Borrowed from Don’t let it be forgot

     

     

    The Black Arrow

     

     

    Some years ago I watched the excellent American Documentary series ‘Eyes on the prize’ which told the story of the struggle of African Americans to exercise their civil rights. One episode told the story of 14 year old Emmet Till, an African American boy from Chicago who was visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was said to have whistled at a white woman in a store, an action which was to cost him his life. It seems incredible to us today that people were prepared to kill a teenage boy for nothing more than whistling at a woman but in the America of the 1950s such things went on. Despite admitting taking Emmet away on the night of his death, his killers were acquitted by an all-white Jury in under two hours. Emmet’s death was the third lynching in five months in Mississippi.

     

     

    It could be argued that the sort of racism which existed in America then is still around but what isn’t is the State framework of Laws which allowed it to thrive and offered it a veneer of legality. The ‘Jim Crow’ laws fostered segregation and the sort of second class citizenship which stunted the lives of many African Americans, particularly in the southern states of the union. Segregated washrooms, bus seats, cinemas and schools made a mockery of the Constitution which stated that ‘all men are created equal.’

     

     

    It was into this society that Gil Heron came to ply his trade as a footballer although as an all-round athlete he was adept at cricket and boxing too. The young Jamaican had shown considerable prowess in front of goal as he became the top scorer in the North American Professional Soccer League while playing for the Detroit Wolverines. He was no stranger to racism, obvious or subtle and was earning far less than he was worth in a league where it was taken for granted that the white stars would earn more. His success in Detroit saw him win a move to Sparta, a club playing in Chicago who, as their name suggests, had roots in the Czech community.

     

     

    It was while in Chicago he met and married a young woman called Bobbie Scott and they had a son who was to gain fame in his own field later in life. Gil Scott Heron heard the stories of his father’s footballing prowess and said in his biography…

     

     

    “His skills would offend the opposition, often leaving them feeling foolish and flailing, victims of Gil’s fancy footwork. There were scoundrels in places like Skokie, a suburb of Chicago then inhabited primarily by Europeans, who treated soccer like an ethnic heirloom. My mother talked about incidents when opposing players had felt forced to foul him, going for his legs instead of the ball, not trying to tackle him but to injure; these were red flags to his temper.”

     

     

    That temper saw Gil Heron sent off more than once as he retaliated for the rough treatment he was often receiving. It was while Gil was playing in Chicago that Celtic arrived in America for a tour. Bob Kelly the Celtic Chairman of the time was always on the lookout for new talent and word reached him of a powerful forward with an eye for goal was by then playing with Detroit Corinthians. Gil’s colour was never an issue for Celtic who offered him the chance to come to Scotland for a trial. Kelly said at the time…

     

     

    ‘We never saw him play but the word about him was so good that I invited him over for a test. He satisfied and thus was signed.’

     

     

    Gil’s decision to head for Scotland had powerful ramifications in his personal life. Bobbie and Gil Junior stayed in America and his move virtually ended their relationship. He would be moving to a league where there were no other black players playing and one American newspaper thought his move to Celtic was akin to the Brooklyn Dodgers signing of Jackie Robinson a few years earlier. Robinson was the first black player in the major baseball leagues of the USA and caused quite a stir. When some of his team mates grumbled about playing alongside an African American, Dodgers’ Manager, Leo Durocher, to his eternal credit said …

     

     

    “I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fuckin’ zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What’s more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.”

     

     

    As Gil was to find at Celtic Park there were no colour barriers, no racial slurs, and no contemptuous team mates. He excelled in the trial game scoring twice and earning a year-long contract. Of course Celtic signed Heron for footballing reasons, they wanted to see if the player could score as prolifically in Scotland as he has in the USA, but it was more than that. Gil was a pioneer who in the monochrome world of 1950s Britain was blazing a trail that others would follow. There had been a few other coloured players who had played in senior British football but in an age when Britain was still a very stuffy, conservative place, Heron’s arrival caused quite a stir. Even Scottish Newspapers used language which some would find offensive in the modern age but in less enlightened times passed without comment. One spoke of Celtic reaping a ‘black bonanza’ with Heron in the side.

     

     

    Gil Heron scored on his debut for Celtic against Morton in the League Cup in front of 40,000 delighted fans who soon dubbed him the ‘Black Arrow.’ He followed that up with a tremendous goal against Airdrie which was described in the press in the following manner…

     

     

    ‘’Heron took a pass from Baillie about midfield and side-stepping Dingwall on his run through released a tremendous shot from 25 yards which beat Fraser all ends up. The crowd applauded an effort which was as fine as has been seen on the ground for many a day.”

     

     

    However that early promise faded as the physical and climatic demands of Scottish football took their toll on him. He scored a lot of goals in the reserve side while he waited for a recall to the first team but while doing so reacted to a rash tackle and got involved in a fist fight with an opponent and that autocratic disciplinarian Bob Kelly would have none of that. Gil would see out his year’s contract but it wouldn’t be renewed. That being said Gil loved his time at Celtic Park and found friendship among the players who enjoyed his company. He wrote of those days…

     

     

    ‘’There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the greatest football country in the world. For as small a country as it is it produces more good footballers than any place on earth. My days at Parkhead have been wonderful and there are no greater a bunch of boys than those at the Paradise. I as a complete stranger was made at home the moment I arrived and the Manager, Mr McGrory, has been very understanding. The greatest ambition of my life was realised when I donned the green and white jersey.’

     

     

    Gil socialised with players like Charlie Tully who recalled the Jamaican’s colourful attire, most notably his ‘Zoot suit, trilby hat and a pair of yellow shoes.’

     

     

     

     

    The Jamaican’s legacy at Celtic far outweighs his contribution on the field. He played just 5 first team games for Celtic but in doing so demonstrated that barriers were there to be kicked down. Celtic have always had an open door policy and players of all ethnicities and faiths have been welcome at Paradise however other clubs were not as enlightened in those times as was society in general.

     

     

    The times Gil Heron lived in could be harsh and unforgiving to men of colour but he made a life for himself. He would admit that he made choices which were hard on his ex-wife Bobbie and his son Gil Scott-Heron which led to him seeing little of him until him was in his twenties. He eventually moved back to the USA and married his Scottish sweetheart once his divorce from Bobbie was settled. Inter-racial marriages were still illegal in half of the states of American then but not in Michigan where he settled. He worked in the Ford Motor plant in Detroit and refereed football matches, was a keen photographer and even found time to write poetry. One his poems remembered his year at Celtic and reflected on the fine players in the game then…

     

     

    The Great Ones

     

    I’ll remember all the great ones

     

    Those that I have seen,

     

    Those who I have played with

     

    Who wore the white and green.

     

     

    There was Tully and Bobby Evans

     

    No greater ones you’d see,

     

    And Celtic Park was our haven

     

    To win was our destiny.

     

     

    There was Sammy Cox and Thornton

     

    Woodburn was there too,

     

    Waddell and the great George Young

     

    Who wore the white and blue.

     

     

    There was Reilly and Turnbull for the Hibs

     

    Billy Steele the great Dundee,

     

    I’ll remember all the great ones

     

    Wherever I may be.

     

     

    So let there be a Hall of Fame

     

    The fans will all be there,

     

    The stars will all be remembered

     

    By loved ones everywhere.

     

     

    His son became a noted musician who’s album ‘The revolution will not be televised’ was critically acclaimed. Gil Scott Heron once said of his father’s time at Celtic that the Scots loved two things, music and football and it pleased him that the Heron family gave then a musician and a footballer to enjoy. He father followed Celtic’s fortunes all of his life and remembered fondly his time in the place he called ‘The Paradise.’

     

     

     

     

    That fine Dundee singer-songwriter Michael Marra was inspired by Gil Heron’s story and wrote a song for him called ‘Flight of the Heron.’ As luck would have it Scottish writer, Gerry Hassan, visited an ageing Gil in the USA and took the single along for him to hear. The old man was moved to tears that far across the sea in Scotland they still remembered him and still celebrated him. He promised he would record the song himself but time and age meant that this was not to be. Gil Heron, footballer, poet, photographer and in some ways pioneer died in November 2008.

     

     

     

     

    Men like him opened doors for others to follow and he was living proof that Celtic continued to live up to their founding philosophy, summed up in Maley’s famous adage; ‘It is not his creed or nationality which counts but the man himself.’ I’ll leave the last words of this article to the remarkable Gil Heron himself who said in one of his poems…

     

     

    ‘Beat the banners of the green

     

    The finest team I’ve ever seen

     

    Keep the cup and never yield

     

    Race them, chase them off the field’

     

     

     

     

    Gil Heron (1922-2008)

  33. VFR800 is now a Monster 821 on

    Word of The Day(Very much lacking in Ibrox …….)

     

     

    rectitude /ˈrɛktɪˌtjuːd/ 

     

     

    noun

     

    1. rightness of principle or conduct

     

    2. moral virtue: 

     

    3. moral or religious correctness 

     

    4. correctness of judgment 

     

     

    Word Origin and History for rectitude

     

    n.

     

    early 15c., “quality of being straight,” from Middle French rectitude (14c.), from Late Latin rectitudinem (nominative rectitudo) “straightness, uprightness,” from Latin rectus “straight” (see right (adj.1)). Sense of “upright in conduct or character” is from 1530s.

     

     

     

    KTF