My teacher’s passion for Local Heroes

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Posted by upbeat | Posted in Learning & Teaching | Posted on November 15, 2010

(Back Row L to R) Craig, Gemmell, McNeill (Captain), Stein (Manager), Simpson, Murdoch, Clark

(Front Row L to R) Johnstone, Wallace, Chalmers, Auld, Lennox

It’s crazy really for someone like myself who doesn’t closely follow the fortunes of Glasgow Celtic Football Club to be able to name every member of the team in this picture taken in 1967 (when I was 9 years old). These are the 11 players and manager representing the first British (not just Scottish) team to win the top soccer prize in Europe. And the big difference between this team and most subsequent European Cup winning teams was that the players all came from and lived in and around their local city, in this case, Glasgow. I used to live within 200 yards of Captain Billy McNeill in Newton Mearns. I met manager (the late) Jock Stein a couple of times and once stood in a queue behind him at the supermarket. Bertie Auld lived 5 houses up the street from my uncle. But the reason I’m sure I became passionate about Celtic as a boy was (a) they won the European Cup and (b) my primary 5 teacher was goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson’s aunt. I can still remember (43 years later) my class teacher’s excitement, passion and enthusiasm for talking about what her nephew had achieved the night before beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon, Portugal. She converted many boys (and a few girls) in that class into overnight Celtic supporters.

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