It was with great sadness that the world of football discovered that Bertie Auld has been diagnosed with dementia. The news broke this afternoon, when Celtic made an announcement on their official website. The club confirmed that they will be providing his family with ongoing support and asked supporters to keep Bertie in their prayers. That is the least that the Celtic faithful can do and the minimum that a true legend of the game deserves.
Bertie Auld is one of the greatest ever Celts. His performance in the 1967 European Cup Final was incredible and he was a serial winner in Celtic’s most iconic team. However, Bertie is much more than just a hero on the pitch. He possesses an infectious enthusiasm for all things Celtic, a superb sense of humour and incredible humility.
Bertie worked in Bairds Bar, he always had time for supporters and insisted that “we are Celtic”. The famous story we have all heard is how, when lined up alongside Inter Milan in the tunnel, Bertie began to sing The Celtic Song and inspired his teammates to join in. It was at that moment that the European Cup was won, according to some of the Lisbon Lions.
On a personal level, I had the privilege to meet Bertie Auld at the Celtic Supporters Association Rally in 2017. “Excuse me Bertie, do you mind if I get a photo with you?” I asked. The honour was entirely mine and I was star struck, yet this legendary man turned to me, smiled and said: “Speak up son, don’t be shy to ask. Absolutely you can have a photo with me. Your Grandad and his generation all had time for me and so I have time for you.” He was everything that many people involved in modern football are not, yet few players have ever achieved what he has in the game.
Don’t just take my word for it; here’s a video of the great man speaking in his own unique way about a remarkable career:
Let’s give Bertie all the support he deserves. For fans of all generations, he is our hero and should be celebrated as possibly the greatest living Celt.