SIR BOBBY CHARLTON was never slow to applaud the efforts of a particular Celtic player when the discussions got around to goalscorers.

The Manchester United and England legend was a massive fan of Lisbon Lion Bobby Lennox.

Charlton sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 86 after fighting a brave battle against dementia, the same dreaded disease which had afflicted his brother Jack who died in 2020, aged 85.

HOOPY DAYS…Bobby Charlton guests for Celtic in the Ron Yeats Testimonial Game at Anfield on May 13 1974.

In his playing days, the Old Trafford maestro, who formed part of the United Trinity along with Scot Denis Law and Northern Irishman George Best, was a sight to behold as he gracefully skimmed across playing surfaces, spraying passes with uncanny accuracy often punctuated with explosive shooting to claim spectacular goals.

Lennox, who celebrated his 80th birthday in August, told Celtic book author Alex Gordon of his astonishment when he discovered Charlton’s admiration of his skills.

The man known as Buzzbomb as an acknowledgement of his blistering pace was interviewed by Alex for his tribute book ‘The Lisbon Lions: The 40th Anniversary Celebration‘, which was published in 2007.

Here’s what the iconic Celt had to say:

“Another good sportsman I met on my travels through the 1966/67 season was Bobby Charlton who seemed to rate yours truly quite highly. I don’t know why!

“I remember a piece in a football magazine back then where the Manchester United legend was asked to name his ideal team from the current crop of players in Europe. You could say I was just a tad surprised to see the name of Bobby Lennox in there.

“Does Bobby Charlton know quality or what? I must have impressed Bobby when he arrived at Celtic Park with his United team, consisting of Denis Law, George Best, Pat Crerand and Co, for a pre-season friendly.

“Bobby and his Old Trafford colleague Nobby Stiles were fresh off the back of England’s World Cup triumph a couple of months beforehand.

“They were certain to get a rousing reception in Scotland. And they did – Celtic hammered them 4-1.

ON THE RUN…Bobby Lennox in a typical action pose during his heyday at Celtic.

“That more or less put down our marker for the rest of that campaign, I suppose. It’s strange when you look at it, but we kicked off that season with a victory over the team that would win the European Cup the year after us and we finished it with a triumph over the team, Real Madrid, who won it the year before us.

“And somewhere in there we overcame Inter Milan who had triumphed in the competition, of course, in 1964 and 1965. We were mixing in good company.”

Lennox and Charlton, at the age of 36 and now at Preston as player/manager, got the chance to perform alongside each other when the English great guested for Jock Stein’s side in a Testimonial Match for Liverpool’s Scotland international centre-half Ron Yeats at Anfield on May 13 1974.

The Hoops won 4-1 and, as you may have expected, Charlton and Lennox were among the goalscorers. Vic Davidson and Harry Hood claimed the others.

LEGENDS TOGETHER…Billy McNeill and Bobby Charlton before the Manchester United great’s Testimonial Game at Old Trafford on September 18 1972. 

On September 18 1972, Celtic attracted a British record attendance of 60,538 for a Benefit Game when they played in Charlton’s big night at Old Trafford.

On this occasion, Lennox and the English World Cup winner were in opposition, but neither got on the scoresheet in an entertaining spectacle that amazingly ended in a scoreless stalemate.

CQN and the Celtic family extend our condolences to Sir Bobby’s family and friends worldwide.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Hearts v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN. 

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