Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all men

‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all men’. The Christmas message has now been around for over two millennia and, unfortunately, is still ignored in most of the world.

This time of the year is also, for me, a time of reflection, when I take the advantage of the break from work to consider the plus factors in my life and recall those – family and friends – who were once an essential presence in my life.

It was a great privilege for me to have been one of the players at Celtic Park during those very successful years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The 1967 side, in particular, is well remembered for the winning of the European Cup, having been ‘awarded’ – even if unofficially – the title of ‘Lisbon Lions’ for their achievements.

Yet, while the eleven who took to the field in Portugal that late afternoon in May receive most of the plaudits, there were five others who played their part that season. Compared to the squads of today, it seems almost unbelievable that the manager had a pool of only 16 players to choose from on a regular basis but that was the reality.

During the past decade, four of that pool have passed away – Bobby Murdoch, Jimmy Johnstone, Ronnie Simpson and Willie O’Neill – and my thoughts and prayers are with their widows at this time of year. The boys were all great fun and this photograph shows us all in happy mood.

It was taken at Celtic Park just before the turn of the century and to see the smiling faces always brings a grin to my own. It might also have been the last time we were all together as a group. From left to right, they are;-

Back- Tommy Gemmell, Margaret (our masseur Jimmy Steele’s partner), Benny Rooney ( son of physio Bob), Willie O’Neill, John Hughes, Neil Mochan (son of trainer Neilly), Bertie Auld, Joe McBride, me ( with microphone; I was doing a live broadcast for Channel 67), Charlie Gallagher, Bobby Lennox, Steve Chalmers and Bobby Murdoch.

Front- Jimmy Johnstone, John Fallon, Billy McNeill, Ronnie Simpson, Sean Fallon, John Clark and Willie Wallace.

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Elisabeth and I have a Celtic fan to thank for this photograph. We cannot recall where we were but a supporter passing by asked if he could take a shot and then sent it on to us. Elisabeth likes it as she thinks it makes her look a lot younger than me? My reply is that the reason she looks so good is that I have been a treasure to live with!

Elisabeth and Jim Craig!

Jim Craig

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