Thursday 22 February 2018

Obituary: Tommy Gemmell

Footballer who scored in two European Cup finals and was part of the 'Lisbon Lions' who brought glory to Celtic

Tommy Gemmell
Tommy Gemmell

Tommy Gemmell, the footballer, who has died aged 73, played a key part in Celtic's triumph in 1967 when the 'Lisbon Lions' became the first Scottish club to win the European Cup.

Indeed, the trophy, since its inception in 1955, had been the property of Latin teams. In Lisbon, Celtic started very much as the underdogs against Inter Milan, who had been victorious in 1964 and 1965 and had defeated holders Real Madrid en route to the final. Under manager Helenio Herrera, Inter had perfected the art of a highly organised defence, or catenaccio.

By contrast, Celtic under Jock Stein had become renowned for free-flowing attack. Gemmell personified this approach, ranging forward seemingly at will from full-back. Tall at 6ft 2 in, and with a shot measured at 70mph (the most powerful in Scotland), he was the claymore to Billy McNeill's buckler at the heart of defence.

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