International Break best ever 11 – right wing
As we move on from the midfield to the forward line,I’ll start us with our greatest ever player. Jimmy Johnstone. Oh,the joy,the pleasure,we could get from the terraces as we watched this elfin character beat his opponents for fun.
Again and again.
Of course,they tried everything to stop him-including v such as Atletico Madrid,attempted murder-but he’d just dust himself down,demand the ball and start the torment all over again! Was he ripping the pish? Well,of course he was,but there was a reason for it,it wasn’t just showboating. He could so demoralise opponents that they effectively gave up.
For example,Leeds and England left back,Terry Cooper. In the 1970 European Cup semi-final,Jimmy destroyed the poor fella,one of the best in the world at the time. Norman Hunter told him to just bloody kick him,to which Terry replied-You bloody kick him. I can’t get close enough!
Aye,Jimmy. To see him in full flow,the ease with which he could control a ball,the dip of the shoulder,the turn inside or out,caressing the ball with any and all parts of his wand of a right foot. Oh,we all wished that we could do what he did,but the fact that he did it for Celtic was good enough.
And for a winger,that oh-so-inconsistent position in any team,he did it nearly every time he pulled on a jersey. Scared of flying-take five off Red Star so you don’t need to travel for the second leg. If only Jock could have got him that motivated every week,we would have won everything for the decade that he was in his prime.
Though we did not bad,really. In 1967,he was flying,scoring the first in our semi-final v Dukla Prague,and both our goals in the league decider at Ibrox which gave us the title.
In Lisbon,he gave the famous Catenaccio defence of Inter Milan their worst case of twisted blood. They couldn’t get near him as he pulled them all over the place. And all this at the tender age of 22.
The following week,he became the darling of Madrid as he dazzled in di Stefano’s testimonial.
Life was good for Jimmy,he had the world at his feet and the world loved him for it. And he would continue to dazzle for all of our 9iar years. 130 goals in 498 games,not bad for a winger. Not bad for a player who’s only fit to put out the cones…
Nine titles,four cups-he missed the 65 final-and five League Cups. Throw in a wee souvenir from Lisbon and a derisory 23 caps,and I’d say that’s not a bad haul. Hell,they even created a Faberge egg for him!
The Flying Flea,all five fit four of him. But a footballing giant,and aye,Celtic’s greatest ever player. Salut,Jimmy.
Saltires en Seville,,,
Jimmy Johnstone 498 games (1961-1975) x 130 goals.
That League winning goal in ‘67 at Ibrox to make it 2-in a row. Just a clip from you-tube. Jinky Covered in mud jersey hanging off him socks at his ankles and looking absolutely knackered. Not the image most associate with Celtic’s all time Greatest Ever Player. However, for me it illustrates the difference between players in that era and now. They had to be so bloody tough to make it and survive on the pitch and the rough and tumble.
First memory of watching Jinky was at Arbroath, probably in League Cup. All the wee Bhoys Down the front at the warm up – Jimmy comes over and starts chatting to the older boys there. Ruffles a few heads and trots off to get ready. I’m sure that was the sum total of his warm up . Contact with Jinky I wouldn’t let my mum wash my hair for weeks ( probably until Sunday nite bath..) in later years he was launching a video and came into Mickey Joe’s pub wearing a huge coat accompanied by Jim Baxter. Signing covers of the vhs for fans and sitting up on the bar singing.
What would Jinky achieve on the hybrid super pitch of Paradise today?
Could anyone ever stop him…?
No it wasnt easy at all actually but I want him in my team and he was usually shunted there anyway . Good proper wingers are something that I have rarely seen in the Hoops , we tend to put a midfielder there probably thinking they will do the job decent enough .
Thommo did a job on the left wing for instance but he was certainly no winger in the traditional sense. I have argued before that we should have moved him inside and got a proper winger .
My bhoy was no winger either but he had the talent to play there . Talent was never lacking for this kid, the most coveted schoolboy in Britain I remember with Fergie and Wenger drooling over him . Glasgow Celtic was in his families blood but they didnt get the best they could have outta him , perhaps you would agree.
His time in Glasgow was mixed and the rebellious streak he harbours often seen him clash with others notably Lenny was dragged away. We should all be grateful for his signing a new contract to bring in a decent fee, not to play out the contract , as Petrov did also . When he did get his big move it was certainly not for the exotic weather and to prove it wasnt just for the money either he was voted player of the year his first season away at his new home club. That should have been a lesson to us all .
A stint in the top flight down south didnt prove fruitful though for a variety of reasons and now at the tail end of his career he entertains fans in League 1.
Aiden McGeady was worth the price of admission alone some days , and others you could have walked on and throttled him for his attitude. If he was having a bad day it tended to be a very bad day and not just a wee quiet one off. As a player he was one of the most naturally gifted I have ever seen and boy he could dazzle with that skill. Pacey , decent finisher , naturally slight he certainly had a good platform to be a top player but I believe the general consensus would be he lacked the mentality to be a really top player .
I got the feeling he just didnt like or rate his Celtic managers and some subsequent ones and this hindered his career . We all know Gordon is a stubborn wee bassa and no one can convince me he was the right guy to help Aiden kick on , and his ex team mate Lenny probably harboured dislike of his non humble attitude which again would not have helped him . Yes he probably would have eaten himself if he were made of chocolate but its not the man Im looking at here its what he could bring to my team .
The bhoy had magic in them feet, he could be past you before your brain told your eyes to blink . A good cross was in his arsenal although cutting inside and shooting was usually preferred .
Glasgow Celtic ultimately was not the best place for him or his career and I say that with a heavy heart . The refs, the hammer throwers , teamates decreasing in quality due to the purse strings being tightened ,,, no Aiden didnt and would not have been allowed to thrive at his team of choice unfortunately . I have a feeling of what might have been when I think of his time with us. I often think we should have just told him to go play , give a free role , and watch what happens . Did we not ultimately do the same with Sammi ? Not sure that right wing was ever the best place for him so in my team I would ask him to drift inside and basically have Jackie tuck up along side him to give us the width we need . “Keano will keep you right , listen to him son ” would be my final words in his ear in that tunnel . .
My right midfielder is the “ Gweedore Gonzales “ or even “ the Glasgow Messi “ or as I have always called him “ the Kid “ but his name is Aiden McGeady . A fantastic player.
” He plays on the left,he plays on the right,aid-en mc-gead-y makes henry look sh*te. “
I agree with you that Aiden didn’t fulfill his potential,mainly because if he had done,he’d have been fighting it out with Messi and Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or these last dozen or so years! I agree with you also that we really haven’t had proper wingers between the days of Provan and Forrest.
IMO,Aiden should have been played in a free-ranging and unfettered No 10 role. None of this tracking back,that’s your route to the opposition goal right there,give it to the No 10,let him work his magic.
He had two great feet. To put him on the wing-effectively making one of those feet largely redundant-was a waste. But on his day,he was unstoppable. And I think he’s also the only Celtic player to have a move named after him,The McGeady Spin!
Who could forget wee ginger nut, simply terrorising the men in blue, red, black, white. Put simply Jinky was the proverbial “tanner bae player” he could spin on a sixpence and leave a defender looking like a flounder, on his game he was unplayable, simply outrageously brilliant. Everybody has their favourite Jinky story and I am no different, mine follows…
When big Tam, managed the Dee, he paired the two ginger nuts together. Gordon Strachan had given his word to big Tam that he would sign for him, despite interest from down south, Gordon’s word was his bond. So Tam paired the very young WGS with Jinky, this ignited a spark in them both and they enjoyed each others company, the stories they could recall.
One day, WGS got a toe infection at training and he and Jinky were sent home, but the barman at Tommy’s pub recalled them drinking four bottles of wine with their dinner and that was just the start and led to a pub crawl in Dundee. Of course WGS was teetotal or so he thought. He was in awe of Jinky and followed him around, so they went into a pub in Dundee and another etc.
Big Tam was in his pub when a regular came in and said “did you know Tam that two of your players are across the road pished? “Jinky and who” said Tam and running out the door he went, only to see Gordon staggering around the street, totally gubbed. “Where the f???k are you going” shouted Tam” where the F???k am I going? I don’t even F???k know where I am” said WGS.
The story from big Tams autobiography goes on in more detail, but that is my favourite Jinky story, of course he had buggered off and big Tam would seek him out later. (god help him).
I think that there must be hundreds of Jinky stories and I know that later on in life one man in particular helped Jinky and his lovely family, Haughey I think it was, but that was just a small taster about the life of the genius of the man we call Jinky, a man who would go on to be voted by the Celtic support as the greatest ever player to wear our cherished hoops.
Its amazing to think of three great players, two who played for the Celtic, all together but in some other club, players who and I include the wee winger Gordon Strachan who although not our player left an indelible mark on our club. And all three loved our club, we off course are indebted to them and recognise their wonderful talents. Celtic supporters have a great emotional attachment, rightly for the men who played for or managed our club, some, not all, at the top of our memory is the wee man who captured our hearts Jimmy Johnstone.
All I ever seem to be doing is rushing about these days, laters.
Oh, nearly forgot……The JJ man, beyond genuis.
I’d love to tell my favourite Jinky story,but I’ll have to wait until everyone involved is dead,and I hope that isn’t for a very long time! We were blesssed to have him,he was without equal at his peak
As for Gordon,I believe Jock tried very hard to sign him from Dundee. They have never been too keen on selling to us,and this was no different. Ironically,Billy McNeill signed him-for Aberdeen! I hated the wee bassa when he played for the Dons. That’s how good he was!!!
Well It’s a close call between Jinky and Blinky. The choice between James Connelly Johnstone and Reginald Waldie Blinker has taken literally thosands of micro-seconds for me to reach a decision but ultimately my perverse preference for gingers kicked in and the vote went to Jimmy.
BTW, James did not perform nearly every time he pulled on a jersey. His game was subject to the same inconsistencies that all lesser mortals suffer from too. However, he did it often enough and most of the time, when it mattered, to make his consistency levels a bit better than most but it was the searing talent, when it did shine, that eclipses every other claimant to this position. Jimmy reached heights that no one else in a Celtic shirt ever did.
One of the few true “no-brainers” in this team selection.
okay bhoys, same as before another Lisbon lion, liked davie provan also mcgeady had some nice touches, james forrest on his day can be unplayable,but I consider myself fortunate to have seen the greatest ever celt imho mr jimmy johnstone..hh.
It was a difficult decision between Davie provan.and aiden mcgeady
I have picked Davie as I feel he was more consistent than aiden but not as skilful.
I don’t like to be pedantic,but I didn’t say he performed nearly every time he pulled on a jersey,as you put it. Read the previous paragraph to the one that you draw that inference from. Jimmy was more consistent than most wingers,but he wasn’t perfect.
Close to perfection,but far from perfect!
Here’s the paragraph,save you looking back. To be fair,your conclusion was an easy one to draw from it.
“*Aye,Jimmy. To see him in full flow,the ease with which he could control a ball,the dip of the shoulder,the turn inside or out,caressing the ball with any and all parts of his wand of a right foot. Oh,we all wished that we could do what he did,but the fact that he did it for Celtic was good enough.”
That’s what he did nearly every time,T. Even when it wasn’t coming off for him-or anyone else!-we could still marvel at the way he took a ball,and then…
Troonbhoy, damn straight he wasn’t as skillful. Kid had it in spades, I just wish someone had got the best from him. We will never know how good he really was sadly. ” Aiden should done better but I suppose that’s the story of his career ” keano on aiden.
And what about Paddy Roberts, although he was a loan signing, his heart belongs to daddy, oops no his heart belongs to Celtic, canny get a game for Genoa, bring him back to his spiritual home.
And James Forrest, a Celtic player since he was nine years old, its only now that supporters are beginning to wake up and smell the glove, James Forrest loves Celtic and as his recent goal scoring feat at Perth, their is a talent there it needs to be nurtured, the criticism that bhoy has had to endure is totally unfair, when he wears the hoops he should get our utmost backing. Forrest a playing lifetime with Celtic, that alone should be acknowledged…
If you are looking for a cause of the decline of the Scottish national team, you need look no further than the quality of the players being produced for the domestic game. The right wing position is a good example of this. Back in the sixties and into the early seventies, the Scottish league was graced with an abundance of right wingers, each of whom could do a job for the national team. These included Partick Thistle
s Ian Cowan; Dunfermlines Alex Edwards, Ranger
s Willie Henderson and Kilmarnocks Tommy McLean. However, the jewel of them all was Jimmy Johnstone. How unfortunate were these others to be around at the same time as Jimmy!
s value to the team at that time has already been illustrated by others on this site, but Id like to add one lesser known event.
As we know Celtic were defending a 3-1 lead against Dukla Prague when they arrived in Prague for the second leg. Stein recognised that he needed to adopt a more cautious approach, emphasising defence, because the Czechs had a very good attack, engineered by their midfield genius Masopust. The obvious thing to do was drop the forward that could contribute least to defence(Jimmy) and put on a defender to mark Masopust out of the game. As usual, Stein surprised everyone by retaining Jimmy in the team, and designating Wallace, the goal scorer, to mark Masopust out of the game. To me, that sums up what Jimmy meant to the team…even in a defensive stance, Jimmy was too dangerous to leave out.
Jimmy was brave, gallus, skillful, and, at times, stupid.
in the sense that sometimes at was all about beating the man, rather than creating chances for teammates, but we loved it! To see him beat his man, and then take the ball back to beat him again, was a joy for the fans, but a nightmare for the manager.
Why the red in part of my post. Is it grammatical warnings. My keyboard has switched languages and I cannot type quotes or question marks. Is it hinting that I should shut up(question mark)!
Always liked Roberts. Forrest is a rare example of a player that burst onto the scene and then slumped because of injury and a loss of confidence. It is rare for such to come back from that…Forrest certainly has.
It looks like the red highlight is in different font?!
Not an expert tho’ – one of the bhoys will suss it out.
Thanks for the kind words. My PC keyboard seems to have gone French. The questionmark key produces an “e acute”, and other vagaries.
I know. Canada is bilingual but we should have a choice!
The first time I saw Strachan was at Love St. This was very early in his career with Dundee and he played on the wing at that time. He was the class of the two teams that day and the St Mirren defence gave him a hard time with slide tackles raining in from all angles. He was feisty then as well as in his later career.
When you play golf, you know when you strike the ball well, you hit the sweet spot, not often enough, but you know the feeling you get in your hands, the way the club flex’s and you just know the feeling of a good strike. Well its the same with a football, you hear the “smack” of boot on ball and you can differentiate between who strikes the ball well….
Paulo di canio, his was the best sound of boot to ball that I ever heard, taking corners at Celtic park, I always listen for the sound and that tells if the player has struck the ball well enough..
Who could possibly forget the complicated winger born in Rome, with the typically Italian traits, traits aside therein lay a great footballer, one who knew how to play the game of football. Another reason to admire Paulo was the feeling’s that he had for one of the greatest Celts, “Twist and Turns” our much loved Tommy Burns, no doubt majoc and mahe will soon be on telling me to calm down, that’s coming up… soon,
But how could you not include in the list of Celtic wingers the man who joined us from Milano, mercurial perhaps, but still a brilliant player that existed in his scattergun approach to life. It was 1996 that Tommy brought him in to Celtic for £1mill. it was said that the President of Milan gave him the use of his private jet to get rid of him. £1 mill. think what you could get for him today in the player hungry EPL.
Within 20 days of his arrival Tommy had his hands round his neck and Paulo disappeared down London road still wearing his football boots, Tommy being Tommy instantly regreted this “Spat” and went to his house later that day and with flowers for Paulo’s wife, they kissed and made up and Paulo returned next day. Who could forget his game against Killie when he and Cadette came out second half and ran riot. Not everyone’s cup of tea but he still left an indelible memory in my mind. He came to love our Tommy and said so many times with great feeling when darling Tommy passed…
Fantastic post Mike.
You have a subtle way of hitting the ‘sweet spot’ with your writing too.
okay is that you mike in Toronto keep reading mikes posts brilliant by the way but please tell me. is that you mike, if not apologies to the other mike.hh.
Thank you TGM It must be MAD The Mutual Admiration Directory. 😉
My choice for right wing was between four players John Doyle, Davie Provan, Aiden McGeady and my first hero, Jimmy Johnstone.
My first hero wins it even though I was 9 when he left. Those 6 years I watched him were enough to include the Lisbon Lion in my favourites team.
BP. No I am not your compadre MIT I am more like TIT, joking aside, I read your post on CQN yesterday about Marie Cramm? shot dead in her Mater hospital bed by UVF/UDA so called loyalist killers. Turns out packy, that the hospital porter was a known UDA man, it seems that it was him who set up the killing and he was jailed for it.
It’s another Mike, this one lives in Scotland I think.
ha ha…There is something about the written word that captures the emotion and beauty of football better than any other medium.
It’s a shame that the written word is abused by the tabloids on a daily basis.
I never saw jimmy Johnstone play but growing up in a Celtic household means I’ve heard so much and watched so much footage that I could pick him in my first 11. He was a joy to watch, particularly when tormenting big lumbering Huns just for the hell of it. But I never saw him so I need to pick someone else. Davy provan had the right wing sown up when I started going to football and in all honesty no one has really matched him since for consistency and ability. Who could forget the free kick in the centenary final when Archie McPherson as good as tempts the ball into the postage stamp with his commentary. Dundee Utd were a good side at the time and that free kick brought us back into the game. I don’t remember anyone of any note wide right after provan was forced into early retirement until di canio arrived. He was a good player but too temperamental and did a bunk first chance he got. Mcgeady never seemed to want to reach his potential. Can’t think of one game against the Huns where he shone and let’s face it if you’re up against Allan Hutton and can’t shine something’s just no right!! Since mcgeady, we’ve had paddy McCourt. I loved that man, loved him. Worth the season book himself but not fit enough to play often enough. Then we had Forrest who is like mcgeady, always ready to hit form before he goes back into his shell. Roberts was a joy to watch, but we always knew our club was just a staging post to him. Taking all that into account that’s why I’m picking Davy provan though don’t get me started on his pishy commentary and newspaper musings.
mike apologies pal just thought it was mike in Toronto, any way your posts are better than his.lol,. only joking mit mike wasn’t that marie cramm execution,because that’s what is was horrendous.hh.
No problemo packy and yes it was an execution, horrendous indeed.
mike love your posts, but don’t tell the Canadian lawyer..lol.hh.
And please don’t let majoc or mahe hear you saying that either btw lol or they will be after me for an article. 😉
TGM. How very true, I remember devouring the sports pages when young and who could fail to enjoy the rambling prose of these old sports writers, describing in detail the roar of the crowds or the trickery of the players, yes a very different medium then compared to now. h.h.
mike were you from, do you know my neck of the woods darkest Lanarkshire..hh.bruv.
Sorry, I am not seeing this. All wingers and all flair players are inconsistent- not even Messi or Pele escaped a run of poor games.
I used the phrase you used yourself. I never said he wasn’t perfect or alleged that you had said he was.
Jimmy was more consistent than most but like all the flair players he had off days. He was not just dropped for off field misdemeanours, he was dropped sometimes for being off form but, from 1963 to 1973 he saw off all pretendeers to his crown and even in his final 2 years with us, he could still touch the heights and he got 6 international caps in those final 2 seasons.
For me, Jimmy’s measure was in the heights he reached and for how long he reached them. That is his consistency. But his sublime heights were much more remarkable than his median, modal or mean performances.
We will never see another like him.
No Packy, I originally came from the raploch in Stirling, when we left it to journey to Glesga, we came armed, with bottles of Irn Bru and Dundee pehs, that way, nobody messed with me or my brothers. 😉
mike didn’t billy bremner come from stirling.hh.
I am sure Billy Bremner came from the Raploch, Stirling like Mike. I remember visiting my Uncle Danny in Leeds for a September weekend. He was friends with Billy and the other Leeds Scot Tims in the Celtic clubs in Leeds. He took my dad and I to a Match at Elland Road, my dad commented at half time that Leeds have 3 Scottish Celtic supporters playing like World Class players. How did we miss Eddie Gray, Billy Bremner and Peter Lorimer?
Throw in Joe Jordan, David Harvey and Johnny Giles, then Arthur Graham and Frankie Gray.
Leeds had a team of Tims under Revie. Don liked Scot/Irish Catholic Bhoys.
Well remembered packy, if fact he was close to a family next door to my grandparents and he went to school with my mother.
Billy went to school with my mother and visited often and was close friends with the family next door to my Granny.
Why did Billy Bremner not play for Celtic?
Eddie Gray too. Great players and huge Tims.
If my memory serves me correctly Billy’s dad didnt want him to play for Celtic for some reason, perhaps it was just timing, it certainly was just timing for Eddy because he was Celtic daft, but was scouted by Leeds, joined them from a very young age and played for them for years and years.
I had a friend he was a better friend of Hanson who played for Scotland and the Pool, he too was a great player and he also wanted to play for Celtic, his dad had spoken with a Celtic scout, who told him he would reccommend him to Celtic, in the meantime he chose not to join lesser clubs. You know what happened, he never got a call from Celtic or anyone else. It was just down to timing and so players who got a call at schoolboy football invariably went to who chapped your parents door first and offered them the most cash. Times were harder then. When you read of Bobby Murdoch continuing to work as a sparky because Celtic only paid him £8.00 p.w.
I would have loved Tims like Bremner, Lorimer, Gray, Jordan and Giles to be in the same Celtic team as the Quality Street Kids of that era. Maybe Lou Macari and Davie Hay would have stayed. Those five Leeds Tims and our team of the time would have won big ears again.
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