Why this is the finest Celtic team in 47 years


You and I have seen some special Celtic teams. For me, the double winning team in 1977, the Centenary team and, of course, the Martin O’Neill team, were without doubt above anything we’ve had since the 60s.

I am in no way disparaging Gordon Strachan’s remarkable achievement of twice reaching the knock out stages of the Champions League. This was down to Gordon’s superior ability as a manager; the wee man didn’t have a squad to compare to the others on the list.

By contrast, this team, in its embryonic state, finished fourth in the Champions League group, but that was then. Now, they are within touching distance of winning an undefeated treble. This is the finest Celtic team I’ve seen.


The ’77 team wasn’t so much a team as a support act for Kenny Dalglish. A season later, without King Kenny, they finished fifth, without even a Uefa Cup spot as compensation.

It was sheer force of Billy McNeill’s personality which drove the Centenary team on, but they returned for preseason without their elixir.

It was like going to school watching Martin O’Neill’s team. We learned so much about the game that we’d never seen at Celtic. This was a guy who knew how to get results. But without another King, we discovered that team too was built on a single foundation.

There are no Kings in this Celtic team. They are a team in the true sense of the word. Last night, without Dembele, Armstrong, Tierney, Lustig, Simunovic and Sinclair they rolled around the Firhill surface like a machine from the 22nd century.

It was breathtaking. This is the greatest Celtic team since the one which walked off the Hampden pitch in front of 136,000 fans in 1970.

I saw a preview of the BBC documentary film, Glasgow 1967: The Lisbon Lions, which airs across the UK on Wednesday 24th May. It was heartfelt, entertaining and inspiring. I intended to review it today, but I was so annoyed at the coverage some in the media gave it, I thought I better step back to do the job justice.

They had some of the Lions, of course, and some wives too, but they sat a microphone in front of a few of our more experienced CQN’ers Some of the best things you have read on this site come to life on the screen. We’ll talk about it again next week.

Stunned and humbled at the support for the marathon, which takes place on Sunday morning, to benefit the Celtic Foundation. I just don’t know what to say. There are spectacular donations (here) there – a simple thank you does not seem appropriate, but I know every donation, large or small, means someone has taken the trouble to spend hard earned money.

It is appreciated, thank you.

If you’d like to get an historic week off to a unique start I hear there’s a projector screening of the original live broadcast and whole 90 minutes from Lisbon in a Govan warehouse tonight (Friday, 19th), it’ll run from around 6.30 till 9. If interested drop an email to cqnopen@gmail.com



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  1. Jerry Cornelius on

    Best Celtic team in 47 years- Jurys out for me. The CL has to be the benchmark next season . The standard of the rest of the teams in Scotland is poor very poor.We have a situation where not a single player playing in Scotland would get a game for us which is probably unprecedented. When we start beating Juve Real Milan etc then such a claim will have validity IMO

  2. Big Pierres 2 front teeth on

    Raymond Shannon61



    You and my old man should be ticking that wee box on your renewal then I wouldn’t be getting pestered to get him a final ticket! haha



    You go to all the cup games anyway!

  3. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Futile exercise trying to compare the qualities of teams or players from different eras.



    Too many influencing factors, like fitness levels, coaching, etc.



    All, I think, we can judge on is the amount of pleasure any team brings to the support, plus, perhaps, trophies won in their eras.



    The Lions, of course and although I didn’t see much of them , Tommy Burns’ teams gave football pleasure, with only one cup win.



    O’Neil’s team were formidable and consistent , plus Henrik.



    Rodgers’ team? Early days, but the signs are good.

  4. In 2002 we, the Celtic fans, were asked to cast our votes for ‘The greatest ever Celtic side.’



    ..and the winners were: Simpson, McGrain, Gemmell, Murdoch, McNeil, P.McStay, Johnstone, Larsson, Dalglish, Auld and Lennox.



    Personally I voted for George Connelly who is still in my top three of players I had the pleasure of seeing,but that’s another matter.



    How many of Brendan’s current squad would get into this side?



    How many of those who were voted into ‘The greatest Celtic side’ would command a place in the current side?



    Different eras I know, but worth considering.



    Old-timers like my late dad who was taken to his first Celtic game in 1937, used to wax lyrical about players like Malky Macdonald, Jimmy Delaney, Bobby Collins, Bobby Evans…



    I have not enjoyed a season like this since the MO’N days, and it will only get better.



    To all those going – enjoy Lisbon! I’m jealous!




  5. So, because we’ve just skelped yet another pub team…..


    the haverers would have us believe that……


    next season,…….we’ll eclipse,…….


    Mr Stein’s 9 in a row team…..




    Mr O’Neill’s Seville team ???


    dear, dear,…….


    no wonder the PLC board can put yeez….


    tae the back of the bus…….with ease…


    One Post Means More – CSC



  6. Thomthetim @ 3.36



    A futile exercise but an enjoyable one.



    In terms of individual players this team has not got anybody who is as good as say Dalglish, McGrain, McStay, Larsson and Moravcik who were the standout players in the best post 9-I-A-R teams ( Kieran T, Moussa D may turn out to be) but this team plays better football to watch than any post 72 team on a week to week basis. IMO obviously.




  7. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on



    For me that’s the best news of the day, no pumping LG will be like a new signing :)

  8. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay: “Murray gave away Rangers for a joke, a pound slid across a table”

  9. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “A central element to all this was that Rangers were in debt to the bank for £18m. The debt was cleared.”


    Betts “Yes”

  10. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay on debt repayment, “Was it not better to keep money in house rather than pay it in interest to the bank.”


    Betts “Yes”

  11. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Witness says he found out about the “small tax case” at the end of a conference call with Murray Group

  12. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “So someone said, by the way you owe HMRC £2.8m, have a nice weekend”


    Betts “Yes”

  13. Canamalar it looks like OCD obsession on

    I believe BR is a mhan of his word which is why I’m very happy with this statement :)


    Enjoying a rerun of last nights game in Dubai airport boozers :)

  14. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “Did David Grier know about the Ticketus deal”


    Betts “Yes”


    Findlay “Was he any use at all?”


    Betts “Not particularly”

  15. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Betts says he only found out about the “substantial increase” in the Rangers CEO’s contract after the takeover.



    (remind me – who was the CEO?)

  16. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “If was to spend £5m on players should I just wander about a public park saying ‘do you want to sign for Rangers son?”

  17. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “The bank was paid, the stadium was fixed, the tax case was appealed and players were signed.”

  18. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    Findlay “Did you obtain additional funding?”


    Betts says £2m was sourced from “Close Brothers” in mid 2011.



    Findlay “It’s up to people to decide if Mr Whyte’s business model was better than the one before”



    “Was not a club that was hale and hearty but struggling badly..in huge debt”



    Findlay notes Rangers price reduced from £5m to £1 due to health and safety issue (£1.7m) and tax case (£2.8m)



    “That adds up to £4.5m. They just threw 500k out of the window”



    Lady Stacey intervenes “Is there a question in there Mr Findlay?”

  19. A Stor Mha Chroi on

    The most obnoxious cheats in the history of sport in the UK are being paraded in court.



    And in Brisbane it is raining.



    Don’t think I will go to the gym tomorrow, it is a feckin 100 miles away



    Hope we qualify for the group stages of he CL next year.

  20. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    Jim Payne,



    Futile, yes.


    Enjoyable, certainly.



    Eleven star players doesn’t necessary add up to a successful team.



    A team has to be built on players who complement each other and fit into a plan.



    Every team needs it’s hod carriers,(Warbs had Senderos, literally).

  21. A Stor Mha Chroi on




    but he was a gorgeous looking CEO. Did he ever pass his 7 times table?

  22. saltires en sevilla on




    What’s with all the mititary jargon over Bears Den way?



    Constant round of challenges and ‘bet ye £100 you are wrong’ ( about winning the 55 next year..ha!) proceeds to Erskine or Chelski pensioners. We are all winners bollox…



    Then the (timposter) guy suggesting Sherman Tanks around the touchline for novelty vewing experience -pay extra to fire off a salvo to celebrate goals or just shoot any taig that looks like scoring ( empty the magazine..)



    Then the abseiling Commandos and Forces Day



    Now it seems their latest saviour is a Major Investment, probably some crusty ex-Sandhurst type fought all his battles from a different post code to the enlisted or conscripted…plus old Major’s comrade in arms is a certain General Lee Appalling has it on good authority that Captain Pugwash and Master Bates will be avaiable for selection in Pedro’s Front Line in the next campaigning season.



    I’m betting it will be left to non-commissioned grunts to go over the top and none better than good Old Sgt. Rock as the leader-aff!






    Andy Patridge in blistering form…




  23. Great team, definitely the best since Seville. But without seeing how we compete in the CL it’s difficult to say they’re better than that team… of course what you say about Larsson is true.



    We could, and probably will lose at least two of: Simunovic, Tierney, Roberts, Dembele in the summer though so I really hope plans are afoot to bring in players of real top drawer quality.



    Would love to see the present team in the CL proper as it stands. One of the few times when I’ve thought we need signings for x, y and z positions because we may loose players rather than to strengthen. You look at the team and there’s no huge weakness. At times I think at right back we could be more productive but it’s not like Lustig is a poor player.

  24. To be a truly great Celtic player, you have to have played at least ten years ago. Twenty to thirty would increase your ability even more but fifty is the real magic figure. EVERYONE who played fifty years ago was magnificent.


    The current team have the rest of their careers plus a few years of retirement before they will be considered Celtic greats.


    `These are the Good Old Days. Just you wait and see.`




  25. Coolmore Mafia on

    Funny thing is, 50 years ago, scottish footballers were magnificent. We had possibly 25 times more children playing football regularly. The talent pool was enormous compared to now

  26. CELTIC DAWN – I hope you were able to see the game last night in the Scots Bar or elsewhere. Best place for music is O’Neills Irish pub, Dave and Niamh the owners are great people, Friday and Saturday traditional Irish music.




  27. I think the greatness of any team can only be judged in retrospect. So for me it’s a bit too early to bestow the mantle of greatness . As some already have alluded to, we will have to wait & see how the European campaign goes.


    However there is little doubt they are on the cusp of greatness. They are on the verge of setting all kinds of records that may never be beaten, and they are doing it with style & panache.


    The entertainment this year has been absolutely fantastic, I can’t understand any Celt trying to rain on the Parade of this team. Live in the moment & treasure what we are witnessing, we may never see a season like this again.

  28. It’s Friday it’s five to five it’s



    Celtic flag day in Parkers on Sunday



    Lisbon on Wednesday



    Celtic in the cup final on Sunday



    It’s crackerjack CSC

  29. thomthethim for Oscar OK on




    Exactly. Events can really only be judged retrospectively.



    Although, I think we have the finest board of directors that we have ever had.



    To paraphrase Brendan; it is the Holy Trinity of management, staff and supporters that make the club great.



    For non believers, swap Holy Trinity for a three-legged miking stool!!

  30. BABASONICOS71 on

    I said it before and i’ll say it again (or repost it);


    ‘The true value of the season this team have gifted us will not be fully appreciated until years in the future.’


    If you have anything other than joyful satisfaction watching us this year you should try another sport.




  31. A good indicator of what watching Celtic has been like this season is how much we are looking forward to the match on Sunday. If we manage to play as well as we did last night, Celtic Park will be some place. Ole` s all around , I would think.


    Cheerio for now,




  32. Oh i do hope that this is factual.



    Celtic have made their first attempt to sign on-loan Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts on a permanent deal, according to Celtic fan, author and journalist, Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. Celtic have offered a £6.8 million fee that could rise to £8 million, with a 25% flat sell-on clause, entitling City to a quarter of his next transfer fee.

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