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RANGERS LEGEND JOINS LIONS FOR PAL TOMMY GEMMELL

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RANGERS legend Willie Henderson will mix with the Lisbon Lions as football today says farewell to Tommy Gemmell who died last week at the age of 73.

The Ibrox icon and the Celtic legend were the best of friends thoughout their careers and later on in their personal lives.

That fact will be underlined today when Henderson lines up alongside Jim Craig, John Clark, Bertie Auld and Bobby Lennox as a pallbearer at Celtic Park where the funeral procession will begin at 11.30am before travelling onto Daldowie Crematorium for the midday service.

Gemmell and Henderson were ferocious competitors on the field during Old Firm confrontations – but, off it it, they were massive pals.

The former Ibrox outside-right said: “He was three months older than me.

“The thing is that our friendship went on all these years after we finished playing.

“In our careers, we were in different parts of the world, but after that we were friends for a long, long time.

”We had all those battles back in the 60s and 70s and I would say he was a great overlapping full-back – except when he was playing against me!

“In fact, he always played me well and, contrary to what people think he always played me fairly. Tommy didn’t need to kick, he was such a skilful player.

“How do I view him? There are players, there are good players, there are great players and then there are world-class players. Tommy was in the world-class bracket.

“At his best Tommy Gemmell could have played in any team in the world, that’s how I view him.”

Henderson visited Gemmell in the care home on the south side of Glasgow that had been home to the Celtic great for almost three months.

He said: “I had been in to see him on the Thursday of the week before he died.

“We had a nice chat and he still had a smile on his face as always, but you could see that he was slipping away.”

Henderson added: “He was a humble guy, but he knew how good a player he was. You have to have that in you to carry it off.

“We were big rivals, make no mistake about that, because Celtic and Rangers was always a huge game – you wanted to win them all.

“There was no nonsense on the park, we went hard at it, so yes we were big rivals, but that ended when we came off the park.

“If I am asked to sum him up, I would say we was a good guy and a great player.

“I will miss him very much, there is no question of that.”

 
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