International Break best ever 11 – 2nd Midfielder
Every team needs a Bertie Auld type. That wee bit older,more experienced. More than happy to use a bit of dig to win the midfield battle-or a lot of dig,if it was to defend a colleague. But he’s in my team predominantly because of his footballing ability. And he certainly wasn’t short of that.
Bertie rejoined Celtic in 1965,just prior to the return of Jock. He was so delighted to see Jock again,he scored FIVE times in his first game for him! Add to that,he scored the two equalisers against Dunfermline in the 65 Final,the one which launched the dream.
Only two years later-think about that,what a turnaround!-we were Champions of Europe. And had even given Real a roasting in Di Stefano’s testimonial. Celtic were The Real Deal,and Bertie was Cock of the Walk. He was an elder statesman-at 27!-in that 65 team,but he looked after his Bhoys. He stifled their pre-match nerves in the tunnel in Lisbon by leading them in a rendition of The Celtic Song. He stiffened Norman Hunter against Leeds while everyone had lost the ball in the Hampden floodlights.
And by ‘eck,he could play. He could pick a pass,be it five yards or fifty. He could score a few,almost achieving the century for us. Most of all,he could read the game and tackle,win the ball,set the move going. He could receive it from the defence,he was always ready for it. He was a great out-ball.
Bertie never hid,that for me is why he was such a great player,and as good a reason as any for him being in my team.
I was there for his last game for Celtic,having watched him so often for four years it was like the end of an era. The first of the outfield Lions to depart. We beat Clyde 5 or 6-1 and Bertie was carried off the pitch by his colleagues. I also attended his last game as a player-I think-when he came on as a sub for Hibs in the Cup Final the following year.
Even Bertie couldn’t do anything to turn around a 6-1 deficit.
He is,of course,still a legend for his off-field role as Club Ambassador. No club could have a better ambassador,his enthusiasm and love for Celtic is boundless. And the stories,well,they’re not for here.
But aye,Bertie Auld-Legend!!!
Saltires en Seville…Paul Mc Stay 678 games (1981-1997) x72 goals.
Beside Boaby Murdoch on the same pitch ooooh, coooo…
Steely determination wasn’t immediately the description that came to mind when he played. Hindsight has changed that. In the teams Paul played in he was fortunate to count some great Celts in his first teams in ‘82 by the time he won the Cup in ‘95 he was literally carrying a few. His first game was a Sunday match in Cup tie v Queen of the South famous for co-debutee John Halpin ( what happened to him?) scoring a goal in the 4-0 win. Danny McGrain also scored one of his 4 career league goals. The Celtic End was closed due to burst pipes and frozen water on terracing. In the next match against Aberdeen Paul retained his place to score his first ever goal – a trade-mark drive from outside the box. For younger fans who never saw Paul play it will be difficult to convey just how good he was. Consistent and solid ( steely in the tackle for his size…a gift he shared with Tommy Burns). His ability to gather a pass and turn and move without missing a beat then slip a pass wide ( either side) or into a channel was a joy to watch. Grace Under Pressure. He would have been a perfect foil for Boaby, more mobile and quicker, not lightening fast but great anticipation and reading of the game. Personal Highlights: met him once on a tour of Paradise in 88 when he was like any fan taking time and running us out the tunnel and making artificial roar of crowd noises as he lifted his arms aloft… holding my 6 year old brother by the hand. Fond memories of Not just your average Superstar Celt.
To partner Keano in midfield meant you must give 110 percent , not because you needed to as Roy could probably handle the lot himself at a push but because he demanded it .
My attacking talents on the pitch do need the platform behind them to play their natural flair exciting game and so I have finally chosen who would partner the Corkman in the middle .
Just like his teammate he also has a big cup winners medal and again just like his team mate he achieved it elsewhere. For a Scot to move to a German team is strange to me , language , similar weather , non exotic but fair play to the fella he went there and excelled under a man that was a genuine European heavyweight at the time .
Paul Lambert was a hell of a player . He was cultured , down to earth , intelligent , and will in all probability be in the dugout one day for his old team . He provided a shield in front of that back four and gave his fellow midfielder license to really play . That was usually Stan who very nearly made it and together they were formidable . Stan was box to box and Paul mopped up but I did see them outplayed by a three in the middle on occasion . That lead to Lenny then Keano reinforcing the spine of the team.
Who can forget the poor fella losing his two front teeth via Albertz for the cause and I remember being in the crowd on his return from that injury with 2 big brand new pearly whites installed and the rockets beside me shouting “ gies a smile paul “ . Word also reached us fans he was the one who gave Viduka the rocket up the arse ( Too cold for you ? ) that lead to him taking his shirt off and saying Im not going back out there. I for one wonder if Paul was held back when he heard those words , I expect he was .
Unfortunately I have read complaints about his last season or two at the club allbeit vert rarely . He asked and was granted permission to go over to Germany and take his final coaching badges . Now if the gaffer at the time genuinely thought that was for the best who are we to argue. Yes he was probably on a decent wedge at the time and wasnt even in the country , but he would have been if needed , plus if he was done as a player he gave a fair chunk of that to the Hoops and so deserved a bit of a retirement or take it easy spell , well at least I think he did .
And I always believed there was a gentleman agreement that he would return to use those coaching skills we helped him get .
As a manager its been mixed but I think he will find his level somewhere and we will see what he can do as a manager . I wouldnt mind him in the hotseat one bit and I hope im in the majority.
Paul Lambert , thank you for your service . You start in my midfield Sir !