The Tunnel Tale by John C Traynor

Reading The Celtic Star article yesterday to mark Bertie Auld’s 82nd birthday triggered some images in my head. I wonder if your readers might enjoy my poem…

John C Traynor


A blazing sun 

awaited them;

the pilgrim Thims, 

expectant … primed,

rehearsed the anthems,

trailed the chants –

as had been done

a thousand times.

Ten thousand throats 

and thousands more,

through eighty summers,

keeping faith

with Walfrid’s dream of

Celtic pride –

so soon to be

in full array.

As underground 

the jousters milled,

a contrast stark

got underway:

striped Latin gods –

groomed, oiled and tanned;

hooped gallus Lions – 

their ‘Day of Days.’

Facchetti preened, 

wee Bertie prowled;

we nudged and winked,

they gawped disdain.

‘Ten-Thirty’ led

the banter blitz –

the battle half-won

there and then.

The new club hymn, 

just six years in,

bounced round the walls,

filled haughty heads.

‘Hail! Hail!’ unnerved

the wobbling foe

and filled their hearts

with fateful dread.

The ‘Verdebianchi’ 

took the field –

a noble phalanx,


bemused, bewildered,

Inter trudged –

their aura pricked …

like walking dead.

The ‘Tunnel Tale’

is legend, now –

iconic heroes,

Celtic lore.

The Lisbon Lions’

impromptu choir

rings out in legend


Written by John C Traynor

Copyright John C Traynor, March 2020

Read Bertie Auld’s own description of the Tunnel Tale below…

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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