Jimmy Johnstone and the incredible feat of 'Lisbon Lions”

Jimmy Johnstone and the incredible feat of 'Lisbon Lions”
Jimmy Johnstone, considered the best footballer in the history of Celtic Glasgow with whom he played 515 matches and scored 129 goals (Football Archive on Twitter)

Last update December 25, 2019 by Javier Argudo

If there is a main reason why this page exists, it is precisely to relive stories like the one that we are going to tell you next and whose protagonist is Jimmy Johnstone who led one of the best generations of Scottish footballers ever to exist.

To put ourselves in a situation we must travel a year 1967. That season the Celtic de Glasgow made a historic plenary session winning all the titles in which he participated: League, Cup, League Cup, Glasgow Cup and… European Cup.


Of course, we are going to focus on that mythical final held in Lisbon that the Scots arrived to face, no more no less, that at Inter de Milan led by the best coach of the moment, Helenio Herrera, which had a real team of soccer players of the level of Facchetti, Domenghini, Cappellin O Course.

But the boys of the green and white striped t-shirt they were determined to surprise. Especially convinced was his coach, Jock Stein, who harangued his boys from the beginning so they could go all out: “If ever in your life you are going to win the European Cup, it has to be today”.

Celtic de Glasgow
Celtic players take to the pitch to play in the European Cup final on 25 May 1967 (Celticquicknews)

That Celtic was made up of a group of boys who had been born and raised to less than 20 miles from the clubhouse. As told by his great star and one of the team leaders, the tiny Jimmy Johnstone: “We were a group of friends who grew up playing together. The key to what happened on the field of play was that we were a gang of friends outside of it”.

Of course it was not easy to lift that European Cup against the almighty Inter. Own Johnstone He told what they felt in the long tunnel of changing rooms when the players of both teams agreed: “There were the Italians, tall and tan, with their perfect smiles and slicked back hair. They looked like movie stars. They even smelled good. And there we were, toothless dwarfs. I did not have, Bobby Lennox tampoco, ni ronnie simpson. Italians must believe they had taken us out of a circus”.


The match couldn't start worse. To the 7 minutes, penalty favorable to Inter, who was ahead on the scoreboard and could play against, how more comfortable he felt. But it was then that the Celtic He honored his great game and launched the attack as if there was no tomorrow. 42 shots on goal, 24 of them between the three sticks, 18 stops by the Italian goalkeeper and three balls to the posts perfectly summarize the Scottish siege.

All this effort had its reward and the Celtic managed to come back scoring the tie in the minute 63 by mediation Tommy Gemmell and the final 2-1 at 84 thanks to Stevie Chalmers. ‘The Lions of Lisbon’, as the protagonists of this beautiful story were nicknamed, they passed to posterity forever consecrating themselves as the first British team to be champion of Europe.


Javier Argudo

PC Football changed my life.

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