Video: “Jock Stein changed the world for Celtic”

The Celtic Rising – 1965: The Year Jock Stein Changed Everything…

“Jock Stein changed the world for Celtic!”

When asked to consider a Celtic without Jock Stein as manager Matt Corr gave the above answer, summing up just how crucial the great man’s return to the club would be in early 1965. Matt is editor of “The Celtic Rising – 1965: The Year Jock Stein Changed Everything”, a new book written by renowned Celtic author David Potter.

Covering the calendar year of 1965 the story begins in January of that year with a Celtic side struggling to reclaim former glories under club legend and then manager Jimmy McGrory.

Captain Billy McNeill, goal machine Bobby Lennox and young winger Jimmy Johnstone have become disillusioned in a side who haven’t claimed a major trophy since a famous 7-1 League Cup win over bitter rivals Rangers in 1957 and are considering their future’s in Glasgow’s East End.

Out next week!

However, by the end of the month, news has begun to filter through that the man who captained the club to the famous Coronation Cup success in ’53 then Celtic’s first League and Cup double in four decades the following year would be making his way back to Celtic Park – this time as manager.

Refusing to take the role as assistant or even as co-manager alongside ex-team mate Sean Fallon, Stein demanded sole control of footballing matters if he were to make his return and long standing chairman Bob Kelly agreed, such was the demand for a return to the glory days at this proud club.

This would be no overnight fix but with players such as McNeill, Lennox and Johnstone available for selection alongside the likes of John “Yogi” Hughes, Charlie Gallagher and the returning Bertie Auld, Stein had undoubted talent in his ranks, if he could just find a way to make them play the way he wanted them to.

Any hopes of league success were already long gone by the time Stein arrived, with the club eventually finishing in 8th place in the old Division One. A painful 2-1 League Cup final defeat at the hands of Rangers earlier in the season simply ensured more misery for the long suffering fans.

All hope now rested on the Scottish Cup, with the Hoops already in the semi-finals by the time Stein officially took the reins in March.

A 3-0 replay win over Motherwell (after an initial 2-2 draw) would set up a final with high flying Dunfermline and a day for all of a Celtic persuasion to look forward to on Saturday 24th of April 1965.

Many supporters from that time still talk in joyous tones of how events played out that day and of the monumental effect it would have on the history of Celtic Football Club. At this stage it’s best left for author David Potter to set the scene.

“And so the day dawned. It was a bright, pleasant spring day, but it was not like any other spring day. Was this to be the day of deliverance, or was it to join the previous four Scottish Cup finals in its crushing disappointment?”

We’ll not spoil the story just yet for anyone who doesn’t know the final outcome, but I think you can all guess by now.

My own dad – one of 108,800 in the crowd at a packed Hampden alongside his brother and uncle – says it’s a day he’ll just never forget, and all Celtic supporters of that generation speak in similar tones of what was to become a hugely significant day for the club.

David picks up the story from first hand experience and you can feel the nerves, anticipation, excitement coming through the pages as he tells of his own journey as a young Celt, seeking out the success and silverware of so many supporters who had gone before him.

There are literally dozens of books telling of the events of Lisbon in 1967 – and rightfully so – but this book fills a gap with the incredible story of the two years leading up to that historical day, as Jock Stein proceeded to build a team of Lions who would go on to make it to the very top of European football.

The latest addition to the world of Celtic literature is essential reading, not just for those of that time, but for new generations who want to know the story of the man and the team that paved the way for the modern Celtic that we all continue to follow now.

We at The Celtic Exchange had the privilege of spending time this week discussing some of the stories of the book in detail with Matt Corr and, like David, Matt is a man with Celtic coursing through his veins.

Listen now at the link here or on your podcast player of choice. The Celtic Exchange is available on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts and all major podcast platforms.

The Celtic Rising will be available from Friday 4th November at, Official Celtic Stores (online and in-store) and at Amazon.


About Author

A child of the 80s, I have hazy memories of being at the Centenary Cup final at Hampden in May 1988 as we won the league & cup double, but then had to wait almost exactly a decade for our next league title as Wim Jansen & Co stopped the 10! I’m the founder and host of The Celtic Exchange podcast where we now produce several shows per week covering all things Celtic.

Comments are closed.