Celtic in stunning tribute to Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld
There was nobody, nobody quite like Lisbon Lion and Celtic icon Bertie Auld.
An absolute midfield machine, Auld was a key part of Jock Stein’s triumphant side of the 60s. But not only that, he was a chest-thumping, hard-laughing character, a link between eras. Someone everyone in the Celtic family and beyond could love.
Even if you didn’t meet him, you felt like you knew him. His impact after playing for Celtic was perhaps just as great as what he did on the pitch; a classy, funny and passionate supporter of the club who extolled the virtues of Celtic until his final days.
So, how do you even begin to pay tribute to someone like that? Well, you put his name on the home of the football club. And that’s what Celtic have done to honour Bertie Auld.
A sign above the main entrance to the stadium reads “Bertie YNWA”. It’s something that surely would’ve meant a heck of a lot to him, although you know he’d find the humour in it somehow.
How Celtic honour Auld longer-term is an interesting one. Certainly, given his achievements and his popularity, a statue wouldn’t be out of place in the slightest. Meanwhile in the streets of Maryhill where he grew up, there’ll surely be a permanent remembrance of the lovable, pint-sized dynamo.
At the very least, expect a huge gesture from the supporters at Hampden on Saturday night. Celtic take on St Johnstone in the Premier Sports Cup, in the first Bhoys match since Auld’s tragic passing at the age of 83.
Meanwhile, the next match at Celtic Park will be between the Bhoys and Aberdeen, on the 28th of November.
A stunning tribute to Bertie Auld at Celtic Park, and surely more will come
My colleagues David Walton and John McGinley have written fantastic tributes to the irreplaceable Bertie Auld. So much has been said, and so many more stories will be told about the Maryhill-born Lisbon Lion, brought back to the club by Jock Stein in 1965 after an initial 6 year spell between 1955 and 1961.
Indeed, a play about his life has been a roaring success, and could even reach Las Vegas. Auld, of course, was a frequent visitor to Nevada for the NAFCSC Convention.
Such was his connection with supporters that, like Billy McNeill and Jock Stein before him, his personal story and what he gave to the club in his playing days and in retirement will never be forgotten.
Truly, this has been a heartbreaking period in Scottish football. First with Rangers legend Walter Smith, and now with Auld, the game is losing some of its biggest characters.
We ought to tell the stories of those we’ve lost, and cherish the ones we still have. Certainly, Celtic are doing their part, and their display in front of Paradise, where he entertained enormous crowds for so long, will mean a lot to those closest to him.