NOW YOU KNOW
WITH THE SCOTTISH FOOTBALL MUSEUM AT HAMPDEN
BRIAN (Carntyne) recalls: My father often reminisced about taking me at a young age to watch the Lisbon Lions’ last game together. Obviously when anybody ever asked me about it my memories are very vague. Do you have details of the game?
A: Your claim to have attended that match is sure to be the envy of fellow supporters of a similar age, so let’s get you some details.
Celtic tied up the League Championship for season 1970/71 with a game to spare and Jock Stein decided a fitting celebration and a tribute to the Lisbon team would be to field them in the final game against Clyde knowing Bertie Auld was being freed and others were long out the first team picture. He also emphasised this would be no exhibition match and a win was required to ensure the Championship was won on points and not goal difference.
The game was played on May 1 1971 before a reduced crowd, given as 35,000, due to reconstruction work at Celtic Park. Ronnie Simpson joined his team-mates when they entered the field, but having already retired he then withdrew to allow Evan Williams to take his place in goal. Reports suggest the Lions turned on the stylish attacking football which had been their trademark, albeit at a slower pace, and overran a Clyde team who were doing them no favours by 6-1. One reporter went as far as to say this was the best performance he had witnessed by a Celtic team all season.
Up next for Celtic was a Scottish Cup Final against Rangers, but Stein did not let the result overly influence him with only Craig, McNeill, Johnstone, Lennox, and Wallace making the starting XI.
Celtic legend Jock Stein