Nos 5 and 9 on Celtic shorts, what dignity and honour mean in the Basque Country

THE Celtic family have recently witnessed the sad passing of our Club’s greatest ever Captain, the man who lifted and raised the European Cup above his head in the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon in May 1967 after we beat Inter Milan, Billy McNeill.

On Sunday in the Basque Region of Northern Spain, Billy’s daughter Susan Chalmers accompanied with Lisbon Lion John Clark received a very special award on behalf of her late father in the San Mames Stadium home to Athletic Club Bilbao, the ‘One Club Man’ award that recognises and honours the fact he devoted his whole playing career from 1958 to 1975 to Celtic.

The award was presented in the centre circle of the packed Stadium under a green and white covering with number 5 to recognise him, the support sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

This award has only been given to 3 other players by Bilbao, Carles Puyol, Sepp Maier and Paolo Maldini and recognises the players ‘commitment, loyalty, responsibility, sportsmanship & respect’.

This for any Celtic supporter is a true honour for the man who was player, Captain and also later our Manager, the man we will always know as Cesar.

And while most Celtic supporters are skeptical of the idea of having a second team, that notion is surely gone now, Athletic Club Bilbao it has to be. Maybe even worthwhile Celtic looking to sell their shirts in the Super-store or even – wait for it a two team scarf. And the next time we have a friendly or testimonial Athletic Club Bilbao would be very welcome visitors to Paradise.


Meanwhile Celtic will pay an extra-special tribute to the two Lisbon Lions Billy McNeill and Stevie Chalmers at the Scottish Cup Final against Hearts on 25 May. Every Celtic player will wear BOTH the number 5 and number 9 on their shorts in tribute to the two legends.

Hopefully these will also be available for supporters in the Superstore with a contribution going to the relevant charity selected by the two families.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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