Why our love for Celtic icon Bertie Auld goes beyond football

By Euan Davidson

June 17, 2021

Like everyone who follows Scottish football, we were truly saddened by the news about Celtic icon Bertie Auld, and his ongoing battle with dementia.

Following a club announcement [Celtic FC], the greetings and well-wishes were immediately forthcoming. Even rival supporters from across Scotland have time for Bertie Auld. One of the famous Lisbon Lions, his tales of regaling the team in ’67 with the Celtic Song in the tunnel are the stuff of legend [Independent].

And of course he is, without question, a legend. His story represents what makes Celtic the way it is. A cheeky, gallus wee boy from Maryhill, he actually had two spells with the Bhoys. Between his first and second stint at Celtic, he played for Birmingham City, but when he returned to Paradise, he well and truly left his mark.

Forming a dynamic duo with Bobby Murdoch, Auld was an integral part of the side that won the European Cup, 9IAR and countless other trophies under Jock Stein. But it isn’t just his footballing ability, it’s his personality that makes him stand out.

Celtic fans adore him. Rarely do you see someone so keen to give their time to supporters on a match day, or give a speech to fans at events. His interviews, too, are the stuff of legend, with Auld as likely to break into song as to launch into an amazing anecdote about his time in our best-ever side [PLZ Soccer].

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Bertie Auld; someone every Celtic supporter can agree on

One of the things that’s truly remarkable about the guy is that folk like myself, born well after 1967, who never got to to see Auld play in the flesh, absolutely love him.

As a personality, his effortless charm permeates through generations. He’s one of those characters you feel like you instantly know well.

Bertie Auld against Spurs in 1967, in a friendly / (Photo by Don Morley/Allsport/Getty Images)

And that down-to-earth, working-class charisma absolutely exemplifies what was great about the Lisbon Lions, as people. These weren’t superstars in the traditional sense, just a collective of Celtic-daft boys with incredible talent at their feet. All born within 30 miles of Celtic Park, they are a generation of Hoops heroes who are defined by their achievements, yes, but also the class, flair and exuberance with which they won trophies.

Auld is the epitome of that. He’s a Celtic supporter and your pal who just happens to have won the European Cup. He’s one of the rare breed that surely every fan can agree on, the one you’d like to meet most, the one you can imagine spending an afternoon in the pub with.

As he takes on his biggest battle, you know everyone who appreciates Scottish football will be backing him 100%. His impact on the club has been immeasurable, as both a player and an ambassador, the ultimate Celtic Man.