After writing a piece on our European season for the forthcoming CQN Magazine I read the excellent contribution from SFTB this morning. It is only natural that we live in the moment but for the last 70 years of the 20th century Celtic fans, more than anyone else, viewed each day in its historical context.
Older generations would have had little choice but to keep their history alive during the lost decades between the mid-20s and mid-60s. 7-1 and the Coronation Cup, each magnificent and modest in their own way, were the highlights, while the legend of Jimmy McGrory more than anyone established what was known as the Celtic Way.
Then came Lisbon. In an instant, all that history was eclipsed. New heroes, one of whom recalled to me he was told Celtic would amount to nothing with him in the team by a ‘fan’ a few years earlier, changed everything, but for this most historical of clubs, the inheritance was not all positive.
If Jimmy McGrory established Celtic as a remarkable goal-scoring team, the incessant attacking that afternoon in Lisbon cast an unattainable shadow. It proved Celtic could win the European Cup by playing fabulous football but set a template we were cursed to attempt to follow.
The rules of the off-field game have changed often since those days, no more so than this season, when Celtic grew from a team who were penned into their own penalty box by HJK Helsinki, who needed a goal to knock us out of Europe in August, from a team the Turin media were joyous when Juventus beat home and away. Thoughts of ‘Maybe we could win this” have since emerged in Turin.
I’ve loved every minute of this season, from the last minute header in Moscow to the last minute header in Dingwall. Adding context to it is a joy for one of our tomorrows.
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