Celtic's Lisbon Lions: Where are they now?

By Ruari Macneil

January 13, 2018

Having taken place over half-a-century ago, many members of Celtic’s European Cup winning team have sadly passed away, however, all have their own legacy and led interesting lives following that magical night in the heat of Lisbon on 25th May 1967.

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Let’s take a trip down memory lane from Ronnie Simpson between the sticks to Bobby Lennox and Bertie Auld at the top end of the pitch and see what became of the devastating starting XI from ‘67.

  1. Ronnie Simpson (GK)

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Legendary keeper Ronnie Simpson joined Celtic from Hibernian in 1964, where he was also managed by Jock Stein. The Scotland international played 118 games for the Celts between 1964 and 1970 winning the league four times. He also won the FA Cup twice whilst with Newcastle. Simpson passed away after suffering a heart attack in 2004.

  1. Jim Craig (RB)

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Jim Craig transitioned from the Glasgow University football team to Celtic FC during the 1964/1965 season whilst studying dentistry. The full-back played nearly 200 games for Celtic moving on in 1972 to Hellenic FC in South Africa.

Aged 74, Craig is still going strong and you will hear him regularly commentating for Celtic TV.

  1. Tommy Gemmell (LB)

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Tommy Gemmell will always have an extra special place in Celtic’s history as the only Celt to have scored in two European Cup finals. Signing for the Hoops in 1961 Gemmell stayed for a decade, moving on to Nottingham Forest in 1971.

After suffering from a long term illness he passed away in March 2017. He goes down in history as one of only two Brits to have scored in two European Cup finals.

    1. Bobby Murdoch (CM)

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Central midfielder Bobby Murdoch won 8 league titles with Celtic between 1962 and 1974. Amassing over 500 appearances for the Bhoys, he also made it past a century of goals before moving on to play for Middlesbrough.

A regular around Celtic Park right up until his death, Murdoch suffered a stroke in 2001 aged only 56. He was the first of the Lisbon Lions to pass away.

  1. Billy McNeill (CB) Captain

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Billy McNeill will go down in history as one of Celtic’s greatest ever players. The 6ft1 centre-half spent his entire playing career at Celtic, captaining the side for much of it whilst also managing the Hoops during two separate stints.

In total, McNeill won 31 trophies as a Celtic player/manager and was involved in some 1,244 matches. As big a legend as they come it was sadly confirmed by his family a year ago that the former Celtic captain suffers from serious dementia.

  1. John Clark (CB)

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Centre-back John Clark spent the majority of his career with the Celts before moving on to Morton, where he played for two years before retiring. A key member of the team in the sweeper role he quickly earned the nickname ‘The Brush’ and was an integral part of the team’s success.

Clark spent a decade or so in management before retiring. You will still see him from time to time at Celtic games. He is now aged 76.

  1. Jimmy Johnstone (RW)

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Not much else needs to be said about this man. Standing at only 5ft 2in, Johnstone goes down as the most naturally gifted player to have ever played for Celtic, ‘Jinky’ rightfully earned his statue outside Celtic Park.

Voted the Greatest Ever Celt in 2002 by the fans, Jinky scored 129 goals in 515 appearances for the Bhoys before moving on to the San Jose Earthquakes. In 2006, aged only 61, Johnstone passed away after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

  1. Willie Wallace (CF)

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Willie Wallace joined Celtic from Hearts in 1966, forming a lethal partnership with Stevie Chalmers. A rampant goal scorer, Wallace netted 89 goals in 142 league appearances for the Celts before moving on to Crystal Palace in 1971.

Aged 77, he is still going strong and currently resides in Australia where he retired to after hanging up his boots.

  1. Stevie Chalmers (CF)

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The man who scored the winner in Lisbon, Stevie Chalmers scored a ridiculous 155 goals in 263 games for the Bhoys. His 85th minute winner against Inter is undoubtedly Celtic’s greatest ever goal.

Between 1959 and 1971 Chalmers won 4 league titles, 3 Scottish Cups, 4 League Cups, 4 Glasgow Cups and of course, the European Cup.

Despite suffering from dementia Chalmers recently celebrated his 82th birthday.

  1. Bertie Auld (CM)

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Bertie Auld enjoyed two stellar stints with Celtic, winning 6 league championships amongst many other trophies. The Scottish hall-of-famer also spent over a decade in management before retiring.

Auld often makes guest appearances for Celtic TV and is still going as strong at aged 79. You will still often see him celebrating in the stands of Hampden and Celtic Park.

  1. Bobby Lennox (LW)

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Bobby Lennox was once described by Sir Bobby Charlton as ‘one of the best strikers [he has] ever seen.’ The only Lisbon Lion not born within 10 miles of Celtic Park, the man from Saltcoats scored nearly 200 goals for the Celts.

Adored by the Celtic fans, he was voted a member of Celtic’s greatest ever team in 2002. Aged 74, he is still a regular around Celtic Park, a truly great servant to the football club.

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List page image © Brian Hargadon