The Lisbon Lions – ‘The Men who put The Star above The Crest,’ Matt Corr

The men who put the star above the crest

The history of Celtic is littered with the great
From Patsy through to Henrik, we’ve watched them celebrate
But in our hearts there is a team, standing out above the rest
The eleven Lions of Lisbon, who put the star above the crest.

Most of the Bhoys are at the Park in 1965
When Jock comes in from Edinburgh, their fortunes to revive
The Cup is won at Hampden, the Pars put to the sword
By the flashing head of Cesar and two from Bertie Auld.

The League Cup quickly follows, a Yogi double from the spot
The Flag is won at Motherwell, the Celts have won the lot
But the greatest prize awaits us, our glory road to fame
The European Cup will be where we will make our name.

The journey starts in Zurich, the Swiss provide the test
But Tommy’s in a scoring mood, the thing that he does best
Next up the Nantes Canaries, the champions of France
A Jimmy Johnstone masterclass, the French will have no chance.

So to the quarter-final, the toughest match they had
The Yugoslav machine, Vojvodina Novi Sad
A narrow loss in Serbia, late on the tie’s still drawn
Then Billy strikes in stoppage time and Celts go marching on.

We face Dukla in the semis, the Czech’s great army team
They’re driven on by Masopust, they’re out to stop our dream
Two goals by Willie Wallace give the Bhoys a precious lead
And a fighting rearguard action gets the Celts the draw we need.

So on to the heat of Lisbon, May 1967
The fans come in their thousands, to watch Big Jock’s eleven
Take on the mighty Inter, defensively sublime
The Bhoys sing in the tunnel, they know this will be their time.

25/5/1967. Lisbon. Celtic v Inter Milan. European Cup Final. Billy McNeill leads the Celtic team onto the pitch.


In goal is Ronnie Simpson, the ‘Faither’ of the team
At full back, Craig and Gemmell, attacking players supreme
In the centre stands our Cesar and his right-hand man John Clark
Together they’re the platform to keep Celtic up the park.

In midfield we will dominate, the fans will be enthralled
As we watch the passes emanate, from Murdoch and from Auld
To Jinky and the Buzz Bomb, our wingers are on fire
Steve and Wispy running channels, Inter legs begin to tire.

The game is one-way traffic, despite an early shock
Mazzola striding forward to beat Simpson from the spot
Then Cairney lays the ball back, it’s screaming to be met
By the right foot of Big Tommy and it’s in the ‘Inter net’.

The onslaught then continues, in the evening Lisbon sun
Only the Blessed Sarti has kept it at 1-1
Then Bobby Murdoch strikes for goal, Inter hesitate
And Stevie Chalmers in a flash becomes a Celtic great.

The whistle brings it to a close, to every Bhoy’s delight
And from the steps of Nacional, a sea of green and white
Flows joyously onto the pitch, a lifetime’s dream come true
Internazionale 1, the Glasgow Celtic 2.

He’s fighting through the frenzy, he’s fighting back the tears
He’s climbing up the steps, madness ringing in his ears
Cesar takes a moment, thinks about the Bhoys he’s led
As on the marble lip, he lifts the Cup above his head

It’s fifty years and more now, since eleven local guys
Took on the best in Europe and brought the Cup to Paradise
Along the way, time took its toll and some of those who played
Or made their way to Lisbon, to watch history being made
But even though our hearts are sad, as we lose some of our own
Wherever Celtic feelings live, they will never walk alone
For like Jock they are immortal, they will be forever blessed
The famous Lisbon Lions, who put the star above our crest.

Matt Corr

Follow Matt on Twitter @Boola_vogue

25/5/1967 European Cup Final 1967.
25/5/1967 European Cup Final 1967.
25/5/1967 European Cup Final 1967.
25/5/1967 European Cup Final 1967.

About Author

Having retired from his day job Matt Corr can usually be found working as a Tour Guide at Celtic Park, or if there is a Marathon on anywhere in the world from as far away as Tokyo or New York, Matt will be running for the Celtic Foundation. On a European away-day, he's there writing his Diary for The Celtic Star and he's currently completing his first Celtic book with another two planned.

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