LISBON LION Bertie Auld was simply outstanding as he turned in a spellbinding performance on the biggest day in Celtic’s history.

CQN are celebrating the life and incredible times of the club legend in an EXCLUSIVE series with extracts from his best-selling autobiography, ‘A Bhoy Called Bertie‘, co-authored by his friend and writer Alex Gordon.

The remarkable life story continues with Bertie reminiscing about the evening in Lisbon on May 25 1967 when Celtic conquered Europe.

IT WOULD have been nice to have been able to parade our newly-won trophy around the Estadio Nacional, but that wouldn’t have been too reasonable since it had become a sea of green-and-white with our supporters taking over the place.

We had been told beforehand by officials, in the event of a win, not to worry about a pitch invasion because there was a moat around the pitch.

Listen, you could have filled that moat with sharks, crocodiles and alligators and you still wouldn’t have kept our fans off that pitch.

Who could blame them for their exuberance? Yes, a lap of honour would have been great, especially with Europe tuning in to watch the spectacle. It wasn’t to be and I’m not complaining. The main thing was to win that trophy and we achieved our goal with a bit of splendour, too.

GRANDE FINALE…the Celtic players whoop with delight at the full-time whistle.

We went to the banquet afterwards and, surprise, surprise, Inter Milan didn’t turn up until about a good hour later. Their players still looked shell-shocked.

We were sitting waiting for the event to begin when a UEFA official appeared with these two boxes and placed them at the top of the table. Then he simply walked off without saying a word. I looked at the boxes and shouted to Caesar, ‘Is that the biscuits?’

Our captain opened one of them and exclaimed, ‘They are our medals! These are our European Cup medals!’

As award ceremonies go, it was a bit of a non-starter.

The players ambled forward, helped themselves, looked at these coveted little badges, stuffed them somewhere safe and awaited for the evening’s festivities. It wasn’t quite what we had anticipated, but I think we were all just so pleased and satisfied to at last claim the European Cup – etching our name forever in history as the first British club to do so.

No-one will ever be able to take that honour or distinction away from Celtic Football Club.

CORNERED…Bertie Auld swings in a corner-kick with his trusty left foot in front of the fans in the old Jungle.

Manchester United equalled the feat the following season, of course, when they defeated Benfica 4-1 in extra-time at Wembley. I bet you they would dearly have loved to have been the first – my pal Paddy Crerand has already admitted as much to me although, naturally enough, being a Celtic man he wasn’t too distraught when we beat them to it.

George Best caught up with Celtic a few times when we were in Ireland doing the rounds as part of our twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of the Lisbon success.

He surprised me one evening when he said, ‘Celtic’s feat was better than ours. You broke the barrier – you showed it could be done. Celtic opened the door for other British teams.’

I hasten to add George was stone-cold sober at the time. His words were well appreciated.

READ ALL ABOUT IT…Bertie Auld with his best-selling autobiography, ‘A Bhoy Called Bertie’, and the glittering European Cup.

The Lions, it must be said, were a close-knit bunch of guys during our playing days and the same could be said today. We enjoy each other’s company and there is a closeness among us I have never experienced with any other team. There is never a problem when someone gets in touch to say there is another Lions reunion coming up. It’s no chore to spend time in their company, that’s for sure.

I hope Celtic played a part in putting a smile back on the face of football that day in Lisbon. It was a triumph for football laced with flamboyance, flair and no little fire. It obliterated the negativity that teams such as Inter Milan had been relying upon to gain success.

We demolished the notion you could only be triumphant if you concentrated mainly on defence.

It was a victory for the good guys.


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