26.5.67 Celtic’s Homecoming – and a Lion is tamed

Jim Craig, the Lisbon Lion, is no stranger to publishing and the media.  An accomplished commentator for many years on the radio and then with Celtic TV as well as a gifted writer and researcher – his books ‘A Lion Looks Back’ and ‘Celtic: Pride and Passion’ (written with Pat Woods) are both tremendous reads – Jim is also active on Twitter and has a WordPress blog.

Jim Craig no. 2

Cairney in the Hoops keeping Dixie Deans, then of Motherwell, at bay

A few weeks ago he took to Twitter on the 26th May to recall in separate tweets what happened to him on 26th May 1967 – the day after he helped Celtic become Champions of Europe.  It was to prove as significant a day for Jim as the day before was for his team-mates and is well worth a read.

The tweets can be viewed here on Jim’s Twitter feed:  https://twitter.com/Cairney2

We also have replicated them in chronological order below:

26May1967: 5.30pm? Arrive at Abbotsinch. Cup is in a big box. The crowds are amazing. John Lawrence greets and congratulates us.

The bus drives along Renfrew Rd towards Shieldhall. Police outriders clear a path through crowds. Incredible-people just waving and smiling.

Up to now, its just been about us as a team – that was our focus. Now what it means to others is becoming apparent. Myth buster warning …

Contrary to legend, we don’t go past Ibrox. That would have been tawdry. A sharp left down the Clyde Tunnel up to the thronged Dumbarton Rd.

Through Partick Cross, past the Kelvin Hall. People are EVERYWHERE. All smiles thru Argyle St. Crowds getting denser as we approach East End

Along Gallowgate. Crowds ever thicker, and we can now hear them. Such a beautiful evening – thank God all those people are spared the rain!

Parkhead X, down Springfield Rd, we turn right on to the London Road. It’s now difficult for the outriders to clear a path.

My arms and jaws are sore from waving and smiling at all those wonderful sunny folk. Some hanging precariously from ..

… the railway bridge at Kerrydale St to get a better view. Snail’s pace now as we turn into Kerrydale St. Overwhelming stuff.

We get out of the bus and into the stadium. A (thankfully pre-washed) coal lorry awaits – as do the members of Coatbridge Accordion Band 🙂

The boss takes the cup straight to Gribbs in the boot room. Very fitting and emotional for them. Then down the tunnel and on to the lorry ..

BEDLAM!!! The pitch of the crowd is higher than usual. Never seen so many women in CP. You can’t describe the pride we felt in that moment.

The band preceded us on two laps at walking pace. We try to spot friends and family. A joyous, humbling thing in the Celtic Park sunshine.

The band then scatter as the lorry revs up and does a sprint lap, then another, even faster sprint. We all hang on doggedly. EC is safe 🙂

Don’t know how long it lasted, but it was very powerful, very emotional. Then, tea and biscuits (we all wanted to get home) in the boardroom

During a break in the proceedings I stepped outside for some air. A young lady who was in attendance had the same idea. She congratulated me

I thanked her and struck a conversation. She told me she was going to live in France for a year as part of her degree. Then a wizard idea ..

“I hope you’ve arranged for a dental exam before you go! Very dear over there if you need treatment” Followed by, “I could do that for you!”

Thus my own personal history converged with that of Celtic’s. I had woken up a Lisbon Lion, and Elisabeth tamed me that very evening 🙂

– – – – – – – – –

Elisabeth was the daughter of Celtic director/solicitor Jimmy Farrell – and subsequently Mrs Craig . . .

Jim Craig wedding day

Jim’s WordPress blog is ‘Cairney’s Corner‘, which contains a detailed history of Scottish football, can also be viewed here:  https://cairney2.wordpress.com/

Jim is also the president of a Belfast supporters club which is named after him and he regularly contributes historical pieces to their WordPress blog also make for fascinating reading:  https://jimcraigcsc.wordpress.com/

Here’s hoping Jim continues to make a valued contribution to the history of Celtic and Scottish football for many years to come.

Jim Craig 2013

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