When we talk about the club, and Scottish football’s greatest ever achievement, Celtic winning the European Cup in Lisbon, 50 years ago tomorrow, we generally look at the record of becoming the first British team to win the cup.
Of course we were the first non-Latin side to win the trophy too, and we did it with Scottish players who all lived within 30 miles of Celtic Park.
However, there’s another record that barely gets a mention, and when you consider the level of opposition, it’s one we should be shouting from the rooftops.
During the ninety minutes of the game, in the searing heat of Lisbon, and against the proponents of the world famous defensive system, ‘catenaccio’ Internationale or Inter Milan, twice previous winners, Celtic had an amazing 42 shots on goal!
Of those 42 attempts, 24 were saved by the goalkeeper Sarti, who big Jock had thought before the game might be the Italians weak link. He went on to have the game of his life that night, keeping the score respectable, because 2-1 to Celtic doesn’t reflect a true picture of the game.
Nor does it do justice to the gargantuan effort of the men in the green and white hoops, who after the game were christened the Lisbon Lions.
This week has been one big celebration, not only of the 50th anniversary of the Lisbon Lions, but of the current squad, who became Invincibles on Sunday, after our 2-0 win over Hearts in the final league match.
I remember big Billy speaking after our centenary double win in 1988, saying there’s something of a fairytale about Celtic. Hard to argue with that…