My epic journey to see the Lisbon Lions win
Tony tells of hitch-hike and Euro joy
A Ruglonian with a lion heart this week spoke of one of the best moments of his life after he hitch-hiked across Europe to see his beloved Celtic win the European Cup.
Tony Jackson was just 19 when he and cousin David Jackson walked, bussed and begged for lifts across four countries to see the Lisbon Lions defeat Inter Milan 2-1 in the 1967 final.
Tony, a life-long fan of the Parkhead side, remembered those eventful days this week as he showcased the many postcards he sent to family from various places he passed along the way.
At a special event in Rutherglen’s Chapman’s bar, the postcard display showed the cousins’ journey through London, Paris, the Pyrenees, Burgos in the Basque region, Madrid, and Balldoliond on the Spanish/ Portuguese border.
Tony said: “It started on Rutherglen Main Street where we took the bus to the A74 and started hitch-hiking.
“We arrived in Calais at 6am on the Monday morning – we had left on Saturday, May 16 – and hitch-hiked to Paris. We slept in the back of an open truck and the weather was great. We went from Paris to Bourges before crossing the Pyrenees into Spain.
“In northern Spain the transport was difficult, there weren’t that many cars on the road. We would see women beating their washing and hanging it out to dry on rocks.”
The pair walked 25 miles through the night to reach Madrid before finally arriving in Lisbon with one day to spare. Tony said: “The atmosphere in Lisbon was tremendous.
“We met a few people from Rutherglen - and Matt Murdoch, the brother of Bobby, who played with the Lisbon Lions. We met him and his friends Joe Duffy and Willie Dunlop.
“I remember Inter Milan scoring early in the game. In the second half the Celtic fans got behind the Celtic goal. They equalised and, with five minutes to go, it was one each and in those days there was no extra time or sudden death.
“I said to David we have no money to stay a few days for the replay.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life when Steve Chalmers scored the winner.
“It still gives me goose bumps and the hair stands up on the back of my neck when I see it. It brings back so many happy memories.”
An apprentice plumber when he set out for Lisbon, Tony says his journey to Portugal has given him so many memories to pass down to his children and grandchildren.
“There were none of the problems that there are in the world at that time,” Tony said. “There were no mobile phones or internet then, it was a world away from what it is today. I sent postcards to my mum and dad. I have five sisters and they got one each too.”
Those postcards featured at a celebration of the Lisbon Lions anniversary, held recently at Chapman’s bar. For a full report on the event see page 29.
It was one of the greatest moments of my life when Chalmers scored the winner Tony Jackson