LISBON LION Tommy Gemmell shared his club and country memories to friend and author Alex Gordon in his best-selling autobiography, ‘All The Best,’ published by CQN in 2014.
Yesterday, we published his hilarious recollection of scoring an own goal against his Celtic pal Ronnie Simpson during an international friendly against the USSR at Hampden in May 1967.
The Hoops legend, who sadly passed away at the age of 73 on March 2 2017, also recalled another game at the national stadium when he PREVENTED a Rangers player from scoring a goal for Scotland.
Coincidentally, the incident came against Cyprus, this afternoon’s Euro 24 opponents for Steve Clarke’s Scots.
Here is an edited extract from that chapter.
MY OTHER goal while representing my country was hardly memorable, but, at least, it was for Scotland! There is a good story about it, too.
We were strolling to a 7-0 World Cup qualifying rout over Cyprus when we were awarded a penalty-kick with only 14 minutes to go.
Colin Stein, the Rangers striker, was on fire at Hampden that May afternoon in 1969. He had rattled in four goals in the space of 39 minutes and was doing his utmost to beat Denis Law’s Scottish international record.
The Lawman had scored foursomes in games against Northern Ireland in 1962 and Norway a year later. The bold Colin wanted to go one better and grabbed the ball as soon as the referee pointed to the spot.
It was natural enough for an in-form hitman to want to take the award. In fact, the penalty was given at what was commonly known as the Rangers End of the national stadium and the fans in there behind that goal were chanting for their Ibrox hero to have a go.
ON THE SPOT…Tommy Gemmell slots away a penalty-kick past Leeds United keeper Gary Sprake at Hampden.
OFF TARGET…Colin Stein claimed four goals against Cyprus in the 8-0 win in 1969, but he failed with this header.
No chance! I was the designated penalty-taker for the team and the onus was on me. Colin could plead all he liked, I was taking that spot-kick.
A Celtic player allowing a Rangers player to overtake a legend like The Lawman? Sorry, Colin, it was never going to happen. I put the ball on the spot and I did what I always did. I smashed it as hard as I could in the direction of the goal and hoped for the best.
It flew into the net and that completed the scoring.
Colin looked a bit miffed at the end. The Cypriot keeper’s name was Michalaikis Alkiviadis and someone should tell him he was in legendary company. He became only the second goalkeeper, along with the icon that was Ronnie Simpson, I scored against in an international.
That would have been something to tell his grandkids!
* TOMORROW: Don’t miss more EXCLUSIVE international revelations from a Celtic great.