Tommy Gemmell was one of the legendary Celtic players known as the Lisbon Lions. His playing career was pretty much over by the time I entered this world, but he was a standout player for the club.
Having spent a decade at Celtic, he was immersed in the most successful period of the club’s history. In addition to that, he made his own personal career landmark by appearing and scoring in two European Cup Finals.
That achievement list is made up of very few footballers. Players such as Gento, Puskás, Eusébio, Raúl and Ronaldo are all on there.
The only other British player to make that list is Phil Neal. The only player to top scoring in two finals is Alfredo di Stefano – he scored in five.
Like many of his fellow Lions, Gemmell found himself on the periphery of the Scotland squad with only 18 caps (1 goal). It wasn’t uncommon for Celtic players to have such few caps for their country during that peiod and you only need to go through the Lisbon Lions to find the evidence.
For Gemmell though, he was making a name for himself in European competition with the Hoops. I’m sure he would loved to have played for Scotland more times, but his ten-year career at Celtic gave him more highs than he’d ever have got for his country.
Here are his club stats:
League: 247 appearances (37 goals)
Scottish Cup: 43 appearance (5 goals)
League Cup: 74 appearances (10 goals)
Europe: 54 appearances (12 goals)
Total: 418 appearances (64 goals)
Not bad for a full-back, eh?
He was voted into Celtic’s greatest ever team along with six of his fellow Lions and four future legends. Tommy will always be remembered for his equaliser in 1967 against Inter Milan.
This was the hallmark of his game. A goal scoring, no-nonsense defender.
Gone, but not forgotten.