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LISBON LIONS PAY TRIBUTE TO DUKLA LEGEND

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LISBON Lions John Hughes and John Fallon are delighted that the memory of Czech great Josef Masopust will be honoured in today’s friendly against Dukla Prague.

The Hoops double-act were huge admirers of the classy midfielder who won the World Player of the Year award in 1962 after leading his nation to the World Cup Final against Brazil.

Both teams will don black armbands at St Mirren Park – which kicks off at 12.30pm – in tribute to the player, who sadly passed away earlier this week at the age of 84.

Former keeper Fallon said: “Masopust was one of those world-class players at the time. If you can go back to the old Czechoslovakian team, he was the kingpin. Everyone played around him and he was the man you had to watch. He was like Jimmy Johnstone, you had to keep your eye on him.

“It’s great what the clubs are doing. John Clark and I were talking last week about it when we heard they were coming over and the first thing we said was Masopust. Of all the players, he was the one who came to mind.”

Hughes – the Original ‘Yogi’ – added: “He was such a talented player and he was regarded as one of the top players in the world at the time. He was just a very gifted player. The clubs have a little connection and that’s a nice touch they are doing that for him.”

Famously, the Hoops squared up to Masopust and Dukla in the 1967 European Cup semi-final. Jock Stein’s side swept to 3-1 victory at Celtic Park in the first leg before holding out for goalless draw in Prague to secure their place in the final against Inter Milan.

Hughes recalled: “It was important to the club to win the first leg, but I had a stinker as far as I was concerned and I felt it cost me my place in the second leg.
“The park was nothing like it is now. It was dry, had no grass and was bumpy. The wee right-back was lightning quick and I had a nightmare.

“In the second game, it was the first time we ever played tight like that so it was quite unusual, but we did it well and it achieved what it was set out to achieve and that was the main thing.”

 
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