On the 50th Anniversary of Celtic’s European Cup win, Jim Devereux takes a look back to the night the Lions tamed the stars of Inter Milan.
Fifty years ago on 25th May 1967, in Portugal’s national stadium in Lisbon, Glasgow Celtic became the first British football team to win the European Cup, the pre-runner of the present day Champions League. This was an incredible achievement for a club originally founded by a Brother Walfrid from Sligo and built for and with the support of the Irish Catholic communities of Glasgow.
One of the most remarkable things about Celtic’s victory is that it was accomplished by a group of players who, with the exception of one player, were all born within a 10-mile radius of Celtic Park. The exception was Bobby Lennox born in Saltcoats, Ayrshire a mere 30 miles from the city.
The Lisbon Lions, as that group of players came to be known, had swept all before them that season winning all of the five competitions that they entered, the Scottish Championship, League Cup, Scottish Cup, Glasgow Cup and of course the European Cup.
They were managed by Jock Stein, a former Celtic player who had taken over at the club two years previously.
Stein’s Assistant Manager was another ex-Celtic player, Sean Fallon, who was born in Sligo and was also a Gaelic Football star, scoring twice for Sligo in a National Football League quarter final against Kerry. Fallon had played for Celtic in the famous ‘Hampden in the sun’ Scottish Cup Final when they thrashed their fierce rivals Rangers 7-1.