50 years ago today I was a five year old child as the men in this photograph took the field for Glasgow Celtic in the European Cup Final in the heat of the Lisbon sun.
They went in to the biggest game of their lives as underdogs against the mighty Inter Milan and it’s fair to say nobody gave them a chance of bringing the European Cup back to Glasgow.
To win this game according to many more than a dream, after all better teams that Celtic had tried and failed to break Inter’s impregnable defence and when Inter scored from a Mazzola penalty after only 7 minutes it looked to some at least that the doomsayers may have been right. But undaunted Celtic kept attacking in the hope that an equaliser would come. However, when the referee blew for half time Celtic were still a goal down. Lesser teams would have buckled when they saw the half time scoreboard reading
Celtic 0 Inter Milan 1
This however was not a lesser team this was Glasgow Celtic
The second half started as the first had ended with Celtic on top on everything but the scoreboard. As they relentlessly pushed for an equaliser there was always a danger they could be caught by a sucker punch on the break but this team was not to be beaten and in the 62nd minute a pass from Jim Craig set up Tommy Gemmell whose shot from the edge of the box flew in to Inter net faster than a speeding bullet and as it did so, it changed not only the scoreboard but the game. With Inter’s resistance now broken, the Celtic players scented victory and from that moment on there was only going to be one winner as the scoreboard read
Celtic 1 Inter Millan 1
As Celtic pressed forward it was only a matter of time before the winner came and come it did when Stevie Chalmers scored from inside the penalty box with five minutes remaining. Inter now were a beaten side and they knew it from then till the end of the game it was simply a matter of playing out time.
Finally as the referee blew for full time, the fairytale became reality and the scoreboard told the story of the club’s most famous victory and and it’s greatest ever game as it said
Final Score Celtic 2 Inter Millan 1
As club captain Billy McNeill lifted the trophy to show the travelling faithful it dawned on the world that Celtic were champions of Europe and the team of local boys who defeated a team of superstars by playing them off the park had won the ultimate prize in European football and in doing so had become the Lisbon Lions
They will be forever immortal
Till next time
Love And Best Wishes