‘That goal has brought me noth­ing but hap­pi­ness’

Evening Times - - NEWS -

STE­VIE Chalmers, the scorer of Celtic’s most im­por­tant goal, had a gift for up­set­ting the odds. Chalmers com­pleted the come­back as 11 men from within a 30-mile ra­dius of Glas­gow beat favourites In­ter Mi­lan 2-1 to win the Euro­pean Cup in 1967. But he won his big­gest bat­tle more than a decade ear­lier af­ter con­tract­ing tu­ber­cu­lo­sis menin­gi­tis aged 20. His sur­vival was hailed as a “tri­umph of mod­ern medicine” and he went on to ful­fil his dream of play­ing for Celtic, scor­ing 231 goals and win­ning 15 tro­phies. Thomas Stephen Chalmers was born on Box­ing Day, 1935, the youngest of five sib­lings. Foot­ball dom­i­nated his early years in Glas­gow’s East End. Chalmers left school aged 14 and worked in a tool shop and fur­ni­ture ware­house, but his goal was to be­come a foot­baller. He played for Kirk­in­til­loch Rob Roy and fea­tured in FA Cup pre­lim­i­nary rounds for New­mar­ket Town dur­ing na­tional ser­vice at RAF Stradishal­l, but fell se­ri­ously ill fol­low­ing his re­turn to Glas­gow. Chalmers spent six months in Belvidere Hospi­tal, next to Celtic Park, but found a saviour in Peter McKen­zie, who pi­o­neered the treat­ment of draining spinal fluid. Dr McKen­zie later told Chalmers he was the first of his pa­tients to get out alive and pre­sented the case as a “tri­umph of mod­ern medicine”. Af­ter re­dis­cov­er­ing his fit­ness by road run­ning and chasing af­ter buses, Chalmers played for Ash­field and won Scotland Ju­niors hon­ours in Jan­uary 1959. Weeks later he joined Celtic de­spite re­ceiv­ing big­ger financial of­fers from else­where. Chalmers soon be­came a reg­u­lar goalscorer but the early 1960s were bar­ren years for Celtic with chair­man Robert Kelly of­ten over­rul­ing Mc­Grory, then man­ager, on team mat­ters. Things changed dra­mat­i­cally when Jock Stein took over as man­ager in March 1965, hav­ing been promised full con­trol. Celtic won the Scot­tish Cup a month later – their first tro­phy in eight years – and kept on win­ning. The high point came in May 1967 when Chalmers’ deft touch in Lis­bon com­pleted a clean sweep of tro­phies and con­tin­ued his record of scor­ing in ev­ery round of the club’s first Euro­pean Cup cam­paign. Chalmers later said: “That goal has brought me noth­ing but hap­pi­ness. My only tinge of re­gret is that my fa­ther never got to see it; he had passed away shortly be­fore we got to the fi­nal in Lis­bon.” Chalmers went on to play for Mor­ton and Partick This­tle be­fore becoming sales man­ager for the Celtic Pools. Chalmers re­tired af­ter a stress-re­lated heart at­tack in the late 1980s and later moved from Bish­op­briggs to Troon, where he in­dulged his other pas­sion for golf, al­though he con­tin­ued to work as a match-day host at Celtic Park. His fam­ily an­nounced he was suf­fer­ing from de­men­tia when he was un­able to at­tend the Lis­bon Li­ons’ 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions. Chalmers and wife Sadie had six chil­dren.

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