‘Ole, Ole’ – Jinky cements his and Celtic’s position as Kings of European football

On This Day 55 years ago, Celtic Football Club proudly lined up to take on the majesty of Real Madrid in Alfredo Di Stefano’s testimonial after being recently crowned Euopean Champions. The match would cement not just Celtic’s credential’s as the best in Europe, but our very own Jimmy Johnstone would produce arguably the best display of his career in the Hoops to leave the Madrid players, fans and heirarchy in disbelief.

Jimmy Johnstone had many great games for Celtic over the years; many say it was Red Star Belgrade, others Leeds in the semi-final of the European Cup or even Lisbon itself. However, to my mind not one other display was as nonchalant, irreverent or fabulously incredulous to watch! The red-haired, diminutive figure of Jinky tortured the creme-de-la-creme – European football’s very own unofficial governing body with Di Stefano, Puskas and Santamaría.

What made this display all the more pleasurable was that Di Stefano decided he would play the 1967 European Champions in his final bow for Los Blancos. Presumably, the legend and his friends thought they would be lining up against fellow Latin side Internationale Milano. What a shut-eye they must have got when the motley crew rode up to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium that night on 7 June 1967.

In typical Jinky fashion, he did not disappoint the crowd of well over 100,000 people who turned up to see a giant of the game – and Alfredo Di Stefano of course! He took a leaf out of the book of Willie Fernie and started ‘putting on the style’ in spectacular elegance, leaving a trail of Madrid defenders in his wake. Some of them may never have recovered as the Scottish superstar showed them how it’s done.

Bobby Murdoch once described the ocassion and Johnstone himself as unbelievable – as the winger even caught the adulation and imagination of the famous Real crowd – they screamed Ole, Ole every time Jimmy touched the ball, such was the class and pizzazz with which the Celtic player played that night. A truly remarkable display and a sign that Celtic Football Club and the Lisbon Lions were the real deal.

The match would be decided by a single goal, with Johnstone jinking through the Real midfield to lay on Bobby Lennox with a sumptuous pass to beat the offside trap with a beautiful run and finish. Our late midfielder and club legend, Bertie Auld would see red during the event, living up to his name.

As the referee blew the whistle for full-time, Johnstone would pick up the ball (which barely left his foot the whole game) and hold it up to the royal box at the Bernabèu stadium in an act of symbolic definance to the established order of the time. A reminder that this was now our time.

Here are some of the highlights of that night and a reminder that we stand on the shoulders of giants – We must never forget that…

Paul Gillespie

David Potter’s new book, Willie Fernie – Putting on the Style is out now, and you can order from Celtic Star Books – link below – or pick up a copy from the official Celtic Stores…

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

1 Comment

  1. They were a Celtic side that oozed class in every position, each man playing a vital role that made them formidable as a team.

    I honestly believe they went easy on Real Madrid that game, not wanting to embarrass them, or Di Stefano on his big night; some of the many clear chances Celtic passed up on are testament to this, from a team who’d bury those opportunities in a meaningful game.