What became of the Lisbon Lions?

What became of the Lisbon Lions?

Celtic became the first British team to win the European Cup on May 25, 1967.

Jock Stein’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ beat Inter Milan 2-1 at the Estadio Nacional in the Portuguese capital.

Here, Press Association Sport remembers the trailblazing side which made history and takes a look at what became of the players, all of whom were born within a 30-mile radius of Glasgow.

Ronnie Simpson

Celtic goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson (PA)
Goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson joined Celtic from Hibernian (PA)

Jim Craig

Jim Craig
Jim Craig talks to the media at the funeral of Tommy Gemmell (Jane Barlow/PA)

Tommy Gemmell

Tommy Gemmell was a fans' favourite. (PA)
Tommy Gemmell was a fans’ favourite (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Billy McNeill

Another Lanarkshire-born defender, the centre-back went down in history in Lisbon as the first British player to lift the European Cup. The Lisbon Lions skipper spent 18 years at Celtic as a player – making a club-record 790 appearances – and had two spells as manager, where his greatest achievement was guiding the club to the double in their centenary season, 1987-88. Nicknamed Cesar after actor Cesar Romero, who played the getaway driver in the original Ocean’s Eleven, because he was one of the few players to own a car in the early 1960s. McNeill also managed Aberdeen, Manchester City and Aston Villa and later worked in television. McNeill’s family confirmed during 2017 that he had been diagnosed with dementia. The former Celtic captain died in April 2019, aged 79.

John Clark

Nicknamed ‘The Brush’, Clark was the sweeper behind McNeill – both men were born in Bellshill. He first joined Celtic in 1958 and the 78-year-old has continued his close relationship with the club, having worked at the Lennoxtown training ground and also on matchdays as the first-team kit man. Clark managed Cowdenbeath, Stranraer and Clyde before returning to Celtic, where he was a regular in the dugout until very recently.

Bobby Murdoch

Bobby Murdoch
Bobby Murdoch played for Celtic between 1962 and 1973 (PA Archive)

Bertie Auld

Celtic's Bertie Auld (PA)
Bertie Auld was another key member of the side (Richard Sellers/PA)

Jimmy Johnstone

A statue of Jimmy Johnstone at Celtic Park (PA)
Jimmy Johnstone will always be remembered at Celtic Park (PA)

Bobby Lennox

Hugely popular with the Celtic fans, Lennox spent 19 seasons playing for the club, minus a few months in the United States of America. He was the last Lion to retire as a player, in 1980, and stayed on in a coaching capacity at Celtic Park. He won 25 major trophies during his time with the club – almost a quarter of Celtic’s total – and his 277-goal haul is second only to Jimmy McGrory in the team’s scoring charts. Hailing from Saltcoats in Ayrshire, Lennox was the only one of the Lisbon Lions to have been born more than 10 miles from Parkhead. The 75-year-old is still a familiar face at the ground, often working as a matchday host and recently had a statue unveiled in his honour in his home town.

Stevie Chalmers

Celtic forward Steve Chalmers (centre) (PA)
Steve Chalmers (centre) scored Celtic’s winning goal in Lisbon. (PA)

Willie Wallace

The prolific goalscorer joined Celtic six months before Lisbon in a club record £30,000 transfer from Hearts. With Joe McBride suffering a bad knee injury weeks later, ‘Wispy’ formed a partnership with Chalmers which carried Celtic to a clean sweep of trophies. Wallace, from Kirkintilloch, netted 134 goals in five years for Celtic before moving to Crystal Palace in 1972. He rounded off his career in Australia, where he still lives, but the 78-year-old has made the long journey back from Down Under to attend some games at at Celtic Park.

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