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  • Nine-in-a-row was sealed 40 years ago

    Nine-in-a-row was sealed 40 years ago

    By: Paul Cuddihy on 27 Apr, 2014 10:26

  • IT was on this day 40 years ago exactly, on April 27, 1974 that Jock Stein led his charges to the last of an amazing succession of league titles and the legend of Nine-in-a-Row was born.

    The great man totally transformed the fortunes and the entire history of Celtic Football Club, although the triumph of the Lisbon Lions in the 1967 European Cup final is regarded by many as the pinnacle of his time at the club – and, indeed the apex of the complete history of the club.

    However, the longevity of his dominance and his ability blend from one winning squad to another was clearly illustrated in those nine successive championships when Scottish football was producing world-class players and top-class teams.

    The man who scored the goal that clinched the first title and one of only three, along with Billy McNeill and Jimmy Johnstone, to play in every one of the nine championships, Bobby Lennox, said of the Stein effect: “The manager’s arrival was a big thing. He turned us into a good team and it just went from there.

    “No matter who we played against, there was nobody going into the last 20 minutes who was fitter than us. We had a lot of good players in the team but we were also very fit

    “His team-talks were great and so were his tactics. Without him we couldn’t have done it. He knew when to give you stick or pat you on the back. His man-management was brilliant. He was hard as nails, and he could bury you in a minute but he could also lift you in a minute.”

    Lennox said of the team’s achievement:  “It’s a great honour to be part of it. I know Billy and Jimmy were the other two members of the team who did nine-in-a-row and it’s a great honour to be in the same company as those two guys.

    “Being involved with such a great Celtic team for so long is one of the great successes in my life. When we played, Celtic were the team who everyone wanted to play for, and we were all lucky enough to play for them.

    “At the time, we were just going out, enjoying our football and playing for the team. I don’t think we realised what we were doing. We just kept playing away, winning games and winning titles. It’s great to be part of it.

    “It was great for the Celtic support that the team was successful. You were playing with so many good players throughout the years, I was quite fortunate to play in such fantastic teams.”

    Today’s matchday programme pays tribute to Jock Stein, Sean Fallon, Neilly Mochan, Bob Rooney, Jimmy Steele and the players who were involved in bringing home the nine championships.

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