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. “