Pat McCluskey, who died yesterday, was one of the 44 players who won nine-in-a-row first time around. He was from a generation of Celtic players who returned to the club when their careers ended, as fans and in other capacities.
Pat was a popular figure on for Supporters’ Nights, where he would share tales of how it was in those other glory years and give his take on current events. Celtic players are different today. For a start, few come from the neighbourhood and many live elsewhere after leaving football. The loss of Pat’s generation will not be easily filled by those able and prepared to give up their evenings to meet fans.
My earliest memories of Celtic are patchy; mostly of big crowds and travelling to and from games, without specific memories of the games themselves. The Scottish Cup Final in 1975 was different. Hampden in the sun, Paul Wilson (twice) and Pat with the goals, now both sadly lost. I know for sure that Pat’s penalty and Paul’s headers are the earliest goals I remember. That was the first team I knew well and could recall effortlessly (I got it wrong when I tried this morning: Steve Murray!!).
Celtic pivoted that season, nine years of unfettered success ended. Billy McNeill retired and Jock released Jimmy Johnstone, but Pat, Paul, Billy and the others made sure there were no mistakes against Oldco Airdrieoneans in the final.
Pat is a part of our rich history. Our sympathies to his family and friends.