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Jim Lalley

As a young boy, my Dad took me to see the great Celtic teams of the 1960s and 70s, instilling the faith which has remained, and for which I will always be grateful. I have many memeories of these times, in particular the genius that was Jinky. The way he tormented opponents with his control and wizardry on the ball. I still wonder how no one else has been able to do it since! 

As my own family came along and my son showed an interest in football, I copied my Dad and encouraged it, but there was no Jimmy Johnstone, until ….. the decision was made to pull down The Jungle! 

The last game in front of the famous place was to be a match between Celtic 1967 European Cup Winners v Manchester United 1968 European Cup Winners, and that meant Jinky would be playing. 

I took my son Chris, then about five, to the game. I wanted him to tell his grandchildren, that he had seen Jimmy Johnstone play for Celtic. Not only that , did the wee man not score a cracking goal from about 25 yards! 

Years later we all learned of Jimmy’s passing, and the emotional day of his funeral. I came home from work that day and, as a teacher, had heard various stories of the crowds, and of pupils who were there as the procession passed Celtic Park. 

When Chris came in from work he was full of the same stories, as with a number of his work colleagues, they found themselves outside Celtic Park in the crowd paying their respects to the great man.

My greatest memory therefore is of my Dad, also Jimmy, and the legacy which he left me, my brothers and his grandchildren. A legacy which went beyond anything he could ever have imagined when he first lifted me over the old turnstiles at Celtic Park. 

Sadly, my Mum will never read this as she suffers from dementia, but all of it would bring a smile to her face!

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