The Fickle Finger Of Footballing Fate.

Armando Picchi – 1935 – 1971. Aged just 35 years.
Fickle – Erratic changeability.
Finger – A pointer.
Footballing – Live it, breathe it and some even die because of it.
Fate – Pre- determined destiny, you either believe in it, or you don’t.
The Greater The Foe, The Sweeter The Victory.
Armando Picchi was the captain of FC Internationale Milano, on the 25th. May 1967.
Serie A: Winners in 1962 – 63, 1964 – 65, 1965 – 66.
European Cup winners: 1963 – beating Real Madrid in the final 3-1.
European Cup winners: 1964 – beating Benfica in the final 1-0.
Intercontinental Cup: winners 1964 beating Independiente of Argentina.
Intercontinental Cup: winners 1965 beating the same team.
Petrofac Cup: winners – Zero. 🤣
12 caps for Italia. (Azzurri).

Here is a brief resumé of Armando’s career, but we must bear in mind that this is also a human story and a tragedy for his widow Francesca and his two young sons, Leo and Gianmarco. You can just imagine his sons who never really knew him when growing up, questioning everyone that had come into contact with their father, gleaning snippets about his life and career. I watched an interview with one of his sons, it was obvious to me how much he loved and missed his father, somehow his age shocked me, it shouldn’t have.
Armando was considered to be one of Italy’s best ever defenders along with Fachetti, Inters world famous left back.
Armando came from a footballing family and began his football career at his home club…
A.S. Livorno Calcio, as a right back, before moving on to play for S.P.A.L. in 1959. When playing for that club his footballing prowess came to the attention of the head coach of FC Internationale, Helenio Herrera. Helenio like big Jock, made his own mind up about which position players should play and with his Catenaccio style of football converted Armando to the position of ‘Libero’ – Sweeper, his leadership qualities meant that he would also become team Captain. He led by example; his leadership helping to earn the club the title of…
“La Grande Inter” that’s how good FC Internationale Milano became with Armando leading the team.
It is not my intention, as much as I want to, to talk about “In The Heat Of Lisbon” everybody knows what happened on that most famous day in Celtic’s proud footballing history. This is Armando’s story, but losing any major final has some serious repercussions for the losing team and Inter was no different. Players become past their prime and leave to make way for fresh talent. Even though he was the President’s favourite player and after leading Inter, to win all the aforementioned major trophies and titles: European Cups – Intercontinental Cups, – Serie A titles Armando at 32 in 1967 was moved on to Serie A side – Varese. It was whilst playing for Varese, with his reputation as an intelligent reader of the game and with all his knowledge and experience of top-class football that Armando took his first steps into football coaching.
Similar to many Celtic players Armando Picchi’s International career was limited and he only won 12 International caps for the ‘Azzurri’. Apparently at the time the Italian head coach Feruccio Valcareggi thought that he was too defensively minded and his playing style did not suit the coach’s requirements, this meant Armando missed out playing in the World Cup in London in 1966. A change of Coach meant a change of fortune and he was called up to play in the qualifiers for Euro 68. It was his International career though that would have serious health repercussions for Armando’s future. When playing for the Azzurri against Bulgaria in 1968 he fractured his pelvis and that would have a telling affect on the rest of his playing career. It ultimately led to him having to give up playing, also having terrible repercussions for his health and that injury may even have been the cause of his premature demise. More on that below….
“Did You Hear The Call Armando”? because he came home to his bhoyhood club Livorno as first team coach. Such was his reputation not only as a captain and player but also as a much respected coach, so, in less than one year Armando moved on to; La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) – Juventus, Italy’s most successful football club. Clearly someone at Juve recognised the managerial talents of Armando Picchi, he was also talked about as a future Italian manager.
However here the “Fickle Finger Of Footballing Fate” intervenes and this promising high level manager of Italian football was in February 1971 sadly diagnosed with cancer, he passed away shortly after on May 26th. 1971, just short of his 36th birthday.
In modern times we talk about players being diagnosed with dementia, some of our most honoured and revered players have suffered from its terrible effects, it is considered that heading a football contributes to the bringing on of this terrible illness. One of Armando’s sons, a doctor, thinks that because of his pelvic injury and poor treatment afterwards, that it probably contributed to the tumour that caused Armando’s premature cancerous death.
There are very few players that have a stadium named after them, or who are held in such high esteem. We at Celtic pay homage to our greatest ever manager and players, we too, hold them in the highest esteem, they will always live-on in our hearts.
The picture of Armando running up the wing in Lisbon alongside our departed hero Bertie was the capture in time of another memorable Celtic moment, I treasure it dearly.

This picture shows both Armando and Bertie Auld running side by side, they swapped jersey’s after the game. Who could possibly know that Armando would pass away just four years and one day after this iconic picture was taken. What could you say about our losing Bertie last year the space in our hearts will take more than a few years to heal.
Armando Picchi, a hero of “La Grande Inter”, a very worthy opponent​. RIP.
“​In The Heat Of Lisbon”.​

What more can you say about the iconic “Lisbon Lions” they are the benchmark.
Always in our hearts. 💚

Yours forever in Celtic, Bawheid.

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a tragic story rip amando


Good morning all from Govanhill. A superb article Bawheid, thanks.


A wee souvenir from last Thursday’s celebration in Johnstone. Courtesy of the marvellous Saltires en Sevilla.


And the reverse of the card.


Great article Bawheid 👏


Are you aware of this story
PictureThis Scotland (@74frankfurt) Tweeted: Lion cub in the back of a Morris Minor Traveller, St Vincent Street, Glasgow. (1975) Pic: Newsquest.

Saltires en Sevilla


Beautiful and sad.

How many of the ’67 Inter team made the semi-final v Celts in 1972 or Final v Ajax?

Saltires en Sevilla


ASWGL* did the artwork and old song from Celticwiki – we adapted from Donaghy’s Yard

*I kept a postcard for you buddy if I can get your postal addy I’ll send it

Saltires en Sevilla


It’s definitely true – the lion was used as a ‘watchdog’ at the local filling station on the old canal basin site

It’s just down the hill from train station and is now a carwash…

There were no ‘sticky fingers’ or stockloss problems in that wee shop … let me tell ye

They say someone tried to get a hoops strip on it ..

But the shirt wouldn’t shrink ..

Jobo Baldie

Nice story, Bawheid.

St tams

Lovely article Bawheid

Saltires en Sevilla


The Guy took his van to Parkhead for games:

Wee Barra – watch yer motor mister?

The Guy – it’s ok wee man – there’s a lion in the back

Wee Barra – can yer lion put oot fires?

🦁 🔥

Another true story ..

The Gombeen Man

Thank-you Bawheid, a fine tribute to Armando Picchi. You’ve a flair for this type of thing!

The news yesterday of the proposal that Celtic supporters bring an Irish Tricolour to Sunday’s game, reminded me of Muriel Gifford, the wife of the signatory of the Declaration of the Irish Republic and martyr, Thomas MacDonagh.

Unlike her younger sister, Grace, Muriel Gifford didn’t get to see her husband before his execution in Kilmainham Gaol.

Thomas bid farewell to Muriel by way of a handwritten note. He whistled on his way to his execution. An English military officer remarked that he ‘died like a prince.’

Thomas MacDonaghs’ note :

“I have just heard they have not been able to reach you. Perhaps it is better so. Father Aloysius is going to make another effort to do something. God help and sustain you my love. But for your suffering this would be all joy and glory. Goodbye.

Your Loving Husband,

Thomas MacDonagh

I return the darlings’ photographs.

Good bye, my love.

Thomas MacDonagh was executed on the 3rd of May 1916, the same day that his wife’s sister, Grace Gifford married Joseph Mary Plunkett.

Muriel Gifford was left in a perilous financial situation with two young children to raise.

In July of 1917, arrangements were made by republican sympathisers to lease a cottage in Skerries, Co Dublin to provide a break for the families.

Muriel Gifford was reluctant to go but changed her mind because her sister, Grace needed a break.

When the families arrived at the seafont in Skerries they were met by a display of Union flags.

By all accounts Muriel was a “fiery redhead”. She had an Irish Tricolour with her and duly hung out the flag beside the Union Jacks.

Two passing RIC men removed the flag and walked off with it. Grace gave chase and demanded the flag back. She returned it to Muriel.

Undaunted by the intervention of the RIC men, Muriel later tried to swim to a small island just off the coast called Shenick Island and hang the flag from a Martello Tower (watchtower). Where “they (the RIC) couldn’t get it.”
She was stopped by the other women.

A couple of days later, Muriel returned to the beach with a group of women including James Connolly’s daughter, Ina. Muriel entered the water and swam in the direction of the island, apparently planning to raise the Irish flag from the Martello Tower.

The currents in the area are treacherous and Muriel was taken by the sea.

It was the 9th of July 1917.

Muriel Gifford’s body was recovered on a nearby beach the following day, she was 32 years age. She had been parted from her beloved Thomas for an agonising 14 months.

They had two children; a son, born on 12 November 1912, Donagh MacDonagh – and a daughter, Barbara, three years later on 24 March 1915.

Thanks to the sacrifices of patriots like Muriel and Thomas MacDonagh the Union flag hasn’t flown in Skerries for almost a century.

Short video featuring two of Muriel and Thomas McDonagh’s granddaughters.

Thomas’s note to Muriel prior to his execution.


Saltires 🤣🤣🦁🚒

The Gombeen Man


Yes, the thought of the ‘No Man’s Land’ of the Self Service Till is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.

It’s an experience best avoided during the build up to an encounter with the Old Firm.

It’s a game I don’t watch Live either. I’ll record this one and probably go for a run.

Nature is a great therapy.

You don’t have to do anything. Mother Nature works her magic all on her own.

I’m actually looking forward to being out there more than the game.

I’ll watch it later if we win but won’t bother otherwise.

Duty Calls,

Till later.

Saltires en Sevilla

TGM a wonderful story there… absolutely tragic … yet, wonderful!

What can you share with us about a Skinnider girl… a Scottish teacher?

Saltires en Sevilla


Aye, they say guy that owned it took his own chair to work …



You’re a natural at this! TYVM once again.

I was unaware of Armando’s tragic and early death,so once again I go to my cot knowing more than I did yesterday. Although at my age,I also tend to forget more…


Many thanks for your kind comments.

It takes two teams to play in a final, catenaccio was developed by an Austrian coach, the Italian coaches adopted and developed it. Italian defenders were rated as some of the best in the world, who could forget Baresi – Borgani – Cabrini – Cannavaro – Gentile – Facheti – Scirea another player who passed before he was 36. Their attacking players were quite good too.
Catenaccio verses attacking, free – flowing football, we remember big jock who overcame the “door – bolt” style of stifling play and turned football into another, more entertaining game.
“The Stadio Armando Picchi – Livorno” a fitting tribute to the great captain of ‘La Grande Inter’, but it will never fill the void in the hearts of his family. Shanks was wrong, family is much more important than football.

I’m taking a break from posting, but it was great to be a small part of Sentinel Celts, talking to Celtic supporters is alway’s but alway’s a wonderful thing to do.

Grateful thanks to Bobby and Mahe.(the pictures came out brilliantly).


Morning all…Bawheid, great leader today about a great leader! TGM…another excellent wee snip of history, keep these coming, I love’em!!
Craig…are you paid to trawl t’internet for articles and comments to keep us amused!
I’ve a busy week this week starting today with a trip to Perth for my old mate’s daughter’s wedding. Back on Friday morning to see what state the weans have left the hoose and the fridge in! A gig on Friday night to see the band below. A post-Covid Ceilidh on Saturday and then the Big Game (no pun intended there, Craig!) on Saturday…and…breathe!!!



Taking a Sabbatical just as you are getting into your stride? A decision everyone is entitled to make,of course.

Hope to have you back on here ASAP. Enjoy what you are up to in the meantime.

St tams

Thanks for sharing that. Tragic story.

A thing of beauty

Wonderful history lesson there though it’s a shame she made that sacrifice and left her children orphans. So sad.

Noel Skytrot

Bawheid, great wee article.

The Gombeen Man, your a fountain of knowledge.


There,s no letter O in the Milan teams,they were founded byBritish people living there. But thats another story.

The Gombeen Man

Thanks for the replies,

ATOB, (and everyone else.)

Sadly it wasn’t to be easy for the children.

These were different days. Muriel and Grace were children in a family of 12.
6 boys and 6 girls.

The father was Catholic, the mother was ardently Protestant. They were a comfortable middle-class family. Grace and Muriel’s dad was a solicitor.

Three of the girls including Grace and Muriel converted to Catholicism.

Four of the girls in particular were very nationalist.

Two months after Muriel’s passing her father died.

This was a problem because although the children were with Grace and another sister – Katherine, the matriarch of the family was Protestant.

Thomas’s sister, Mary MacDonagh was a nun. She took a court action and had the children placed into foster care. The climate of Ne Temere prevailed.

Apparently this didn’t go well.

In time the family were reunited and Grace was able to tell them about their parents.

The Irish State paid for their education.

Don MacDonagh became a Judge, Barbara later married Liam Redmond, the actor.

Angel Gabriel

Bawheid .
Thanks for the article. Every day is a school day. HH

TGM @ 9.07 .
Similar to above.
Thanks & HH

The Gombeen Man

SES…You may find something of note here…

There’s been some interesting chat about the ballad ‘The Foggy Dew’ elsewhere.

To put my cards on the table, I’m not keen on flags or nationalism. As Muriel Gifford’s tragic story underlines such things, can lead to unnecessary conflict and suffering.


As I understand it the problem seems to be more about the line, “They hung out the flag of War.” And it’s appropriateness at Easter.

The Foggy Dew was written by a Catholic Priest, Fr Charles O’Neill.

‘In 1919, the then 32-year-old Fr O’Neill found himself in the midst of history when he attended the first meeting of Dáil Eireann in Dublin’s Mansion House, on January 21.

During the first sitting of the Dáil the rollcall of members of parliament was being made by Ceann Comhairle (Chairperson)Cathal Brugha and he declared 34 members absent as “Faoi ghlas ag na gaill” ( “Locked up by the foreigners!”) While 26 unionist members were absent by their own choice.’

Inspired by what he witnessed, he put pen to paper and produced the famous ballad.

Whether any national flag or Cause is appropriate at any football match at anytime is a different question.

Fr Charles O’Neill was later promoted to the position of Canon and served in a parish in Saltires’ old stomping ground of Kilcoo, An Dún.

It seems the Catholic hierarchy didn’t have a problem with Fr O’Neill’s poem and it’s connection to Holy Week.

The popularity of the poem, which was later set to an old ballad tune didn’t make Charles O’Neill a fortune. In his Will he left £100 to the SVDP.

Back to the grindstone…


Haste ye back.
Have loved your post’s.
Always eloquently enlightening.
Keep them coming.


Wonderful article on one of our respected opponents from our greatest day.

Here is another testimony for Ange as linked by Bognorbhoy on CQN

The Gombeen Man

Great to see you back Fan.
I hope everything’s well.
You’ve been missed.


Afternoon Fan, good to see you back posting. Despite our frequent minor disagreements your analysis has been missed.


Quality article Bawheid.

A few sentences in I had you as the author from the style.

It was either you or Brogan Rogan Trevino and Hogan another great blog raconteur, but he is busy in Tuscany quaffing fine wine and good food.

Thank you.


Bawheid.Thank you.Great read.hh

Saltires en Sevilla


Some man with these connections – keep them coming

Btw -others married in the same Parish as grandfather of William B Yeats in Gilford, Tullylish. He was the COI vicar c. 1830

Saltires en Sevilla

Fan back – yes!!!! Much missed buddy.

Soooooo let’s hear your thoughts on the forthcoming v The Old Firm.

Pretty please!


Fans back?




I think we are local. Get in touch v Sentinel Celts please.

big packy

AFTERNOON ALL and JIM ,jim ,magua at last some good news regarding wee joan,👍 she has just won the dog groomer of the month award down here in the over sixties category, she is over the moon, im chuffed to bits for her, a nice bunch of flowers and a bottle of wine, think its spanish wine jim its got eldorado on the label😍 but ive confiscated it, wine is bad for her,,but she can have the flowers, I just might have a wee swally of the wine just to test it 😍 another true story👍


Thank you all for response.
I have still been lurking and the quality of articles and posts has been fantastic .
I decided not to post any more of my personal opinion or analysis on the team as i felt it contributed nothing positive to the blog.
I often felt it was simply misinterpreted as criticism of the team which was not my aim.
I don’t have the eloquence or literally talent to post on much else so that is reason for my silence.

Saltires en Sevilla
No real thoughts on upcoming game as i hate these games so try to avoid talking about in build up.
The ref is a particular worry.
In our last victory at ibrox while i thought we easily controlled the match letting them fire crosses into our box was risky.
A refs interpretation could have changed things and they have a fair few divers in their team.
Colum was firm and honest but i don’t expect Madden to be the same.
Would prefer us to press higher and be more compact between front and back lessening their chance of having time to fire punts into our box.
McGregor played like a captain that day.
And finally what Ange has achieved is truly remarkable in such a dishonest landscape.

bada bing1

Seems Sevco ST Holders got a fright this morning, next season’s money taken from accounts without any notice……..i know it’s futile, but is it not against the rules to use next season’s money this season?


Doing yourself a disservice imo, Fan. Plenty to offer, I think!


BadaBingBadaBoom!…Follow Follow reporting that renewals were issued yesterday. Not a lot of notice if you’ve not got spare cash in your debit account! They also seem to be showing a 5% increase similar to us.


Many thanks for that quality but heartbreaking tale. Reminds me of Peter Scarff a little bit.
Indeed that was a good team we defeated that fatefulday in Lisboa. Worthy opponents, while we were worthy victors.
Thanks again
Hail Hail


Ps I wonder if Maradonnas middle name of Armando had anything to do with footballer or even this particular footballer?

bada bing1


A wonderful tribute to Armando. Sadly, another member of that Inter team was touched by tragedy at an early age. Sandro Mazzola’s father Valentino, was one of the victims of the 1949 Superga air disaster. Sandro was 6 years old at the time. That Torino team were arguably the finest team that Italy has ever produced.


Margaret Skinider was a Coatbridge school teacher who was ‘out’ in 1916. There was an article about her in The Irish Voice a while back. From memory, I believe that she was involved in the rising with James Connolly’s Citizen Army. Margaret fought as a sniper, and was the only woman volunteer wounded in the fighting. Just done a wee check on Amazon. There are a couple of books available on her life. I have not read any of them, but I would probably plump for:

‘Doing My Bit For Ireland’

I believe the book is also available on The Calton Books website. The shop on London Road at the Barras is well worth a visit. A veritable treasure trove of books on Celtic and Ireland. I bought a couple of books from the shop recently, which I am currently working my way through. Incidentally, travelling by bus through Elderslie and Johnstone last Thursday, I was amazed at the number of traditional pubs still in existence in both towns. I forsee a wee pub crawl during the close season. For research purposes only, you understand. Are there any pubs in both towns that Celts should avoid?

Big Packy

Excellent news about Joan. Tell her that she’s a star. 😀

bada bing

That’s another one to add to the charge sheet.

Hail Hail.


It would not greatly surprise me, if that was indeed the case, Argentina was one of the main centres of Italian emigration the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Hail Hail.


There were 4 players from the Inter team of 67 who played in the 72 final vs Ajax and had played in at least one leg against Celtic in the semi- Burgnich, Fachetti, Bedin and Mazzola plus they had their Brazilian Jair who missed the 67 final with injury but was with Inter in both 67 and 72 despite having left briefly to play for Roma.

I remember Brian Glanville ignorantly opining that Inter had lost because they missed Suarez and Jair but he was totally unaware of Joe McBride’s loss to us. Glanville in later life became a bit more disposed towards Celtic and lost some of his parochial arrogance.

Quick quiz question – which player was top scorer in the 1966/67 European Cup season and which “British” player scored one goal fewer than Stevie Chalmer’s 5 goals in that campaign?


Apologies- which English player scored the same amount of goals as Stevie in that campaign?