“Celtic are not just a football club,” insists Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, “they’re a way of life.”
Auld leaned forward in his chair with a warm smile and a cheeky glint which belies his 78-years as he recounted tales of his own glory years with Celtic which saw him win a European Cup with his beloved hoops, reveal his thoughts on the current regime and count his blessings at a lifetime as part of the Celtic family.
The sprightly hero of the 1967 Lisbon Lions team was in Stornoway with former goalkeeper Evan Williams, a European Cup finalist with Celtic in 1970.
Celtic were the first British team to conquer Europe, a fact which still makes both former Celtic heroes beam with pride.
“At the time Celtic were up there with the Madrid’s, Barcelona’s and Milan’s of the world,” said Williams.
“No,” corrected Auld, “we were above them actually.
“After we won the European Cup in ‘67, Alfredo Di Stefano asked Celtic if we would play in the Bernabeu for his testimonial match. What an honour that was.
“That was the kind of thing I used to dream about. What a magnificent man.”
He continues: “People used to talk about Manchester United and Liverpool but there can only ever be one team to do it first and that was us. Celtic were the first British team to win it. What we did was fantastic.
“In our team we had nine potential goalscorers and what the manager demanded from us was to entertain. The boss would say it first and last before we went on the park ‘this support have been working hard all week and they pay good money so entertain them.’”
“Then they made the strip too tight,” he laughed.
To read the rest of the interview with Auld and Williams, see this week’s Stornoway Gazette. On sale now.