The 25th of May 1967. The day that Celtic became champions of Europe granted Scottish football an official status to match its unofficial title as the small nation that had punched highest above its weight in the game’s history. Well, alongside Uruguay perhaps. On that particular afternoon in Lisbon Celtic became the first club from northern Europe to win Europe’s most prestigious competition, one that had until then appeared the exclusive preserve of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese clubs.
This Vintage post dedicated to the Lisbon Lions collects up an assortment of seminal images from before, during and after the game. From these images there’s a real sense of incredulity around the whole occasion: incredulity from the Celtic fans that their club had come from nowhere to compete in this rarefied atmosphere, and incredulity from the players to be sharing such a stage with their celebrity superstar counterparts from the mighty Internazionale.
Disbelief is a sentiment that even seems to pervade the post-match celebrations, almost as if Celtic’s players fear someone will pinch them and they’ll wake up from this wonderful football dream. Most significantly the only time that Celtic seemed perfectly acclimatised to their Lisbon experience was the one that mattered – the 90 minutes they set about their Italian opponents to consign the impregnable reputation of Helenio Herrera’s Inter to history.