- Title: 50 years on, Celtic star remembers European Cup glory
- Date: 24th May 2017
- Summary: STATUE OF 1967 CELTIC CAPTAIN BILLY MCNEILL HOLDING UP THE EUROPEAN CUP
- Embargoed: 7th June 2017 15:53
- Keywords: Lisbon Lions 1967 European Cup Jim Craig Celtic
- Location: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UK
- City: GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA0046I7554V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
Celtic's 'Lisbon Lions' have entered history as a group of working class lads from Glasgow coached by a former coal miner who in 1967 became European champions.
But on the field at the Estadio Nacional on May 25 50 years ago was a player who didn't quite fit the stereotype.
A lanky dental student at Glasgow University, Jim Craig initially signed for Celtic in 1963 as an amateur in order to complete his studies. His degree secured, Craig signed on full professional terms in 1965.
Two years later he was a European champion as Celtic beat Inter Milan 2-1 to become the first Scottish, British and Northern European team to lift Europe's premier trophy.
There was no hint of glory in the air at Celtic when Craig first joined the club, with the focus very much on physical work in training but all that changed when Jock Stein took over as manager in 1965.
Stein had witnessed Real Madrid win the European Cup at Glasgow's Hampden Park after a magnificent 7-3 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, with Alfredo Di Stefano scoring three and Ferenc Puskas four.
Stein put the focus on ball-work in training and allowed Craig and left-back Tommy Gemmell to attack down the flanks in a similar fashion to the modern 'wing-back' -- a revolutionary move in British football at the time.
In the final, Craig gave away a penalty after seven minutes, Sandro Mazzola converting the spot kick to give Inter a 1-0 lead.
Stein's positive approach to the game paid off as Celtic dominated possession and eventually turned their chances into two second-half goals from left back Tommy Gemmell after 63 minutes and forward Steve Chalmers six minutes from time, prompting, at the final whistle, a pitch invasion from the huge travelling support.
Then came the mass celebrations on the streets of Glasgow as the team returned home as heroes. They have retained that status in the 50 years since as the Lisbon Lions became the club's most famed and feted generation.
For all the personal satisfaction and sense of belonging to a unique group of players, Craig said how much the game had meant to the supporters.
"I was amazed when I walked up the steps and saw the number of Celtic strips there in the stadium. I've spoken to a lot of the guys about this, and at the time, we all thought the same, we've got to win this game, look at the support we've got. Not just a case of winning it for Celtic Football Club, but because of the supporters as well, we've got to do that."
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