I would first of all like to send my thoughts and prayers to Sadie, the Chalmers family, and his fellow Lisbon Lions on this sad day. Stevie was the man who didn’t just change the history of Celtic Football Club, but world football, with his winning goal against Inter Milan.
I caught up with former Celtic Pools agent, Lenny McDonald, who shared his memories of being in the company of the man who got the winning touch in Lisbon. Before taking on the role of a Pools agent, Lenny’s first memory of the great man was watching on in Grove Street, Glasgow with his brothers in 1967, seeing Celtic being crowned champions of Europe. The memory he has of that game as an eight-year-old boy is being thrown in the air by his dad Francie at the end of the game as the big cup was on its way to Glasgow.
His other fond memories of games which Chalmers scored in were the 1969 Scottish Cup Final and the final game of the 1970/71 season. This match in 1971 would be Chalmers’ and many of the Lisbon Lions’ last appearances in green-and-white hoops, as they emphatically defeated Clyde 6-1 on the day.
The Chalmers which Lenny got to know as a person was a very humble, hard-working guy. Whether it be being served in Stevie’s off-license at the Butney in Maryhill on a Saturday evening or sitting in his company at Celtic Park as a Celtic Pools guest, the man he remembers was always gracious and courteous.
He’ll never forget sitting down for dinner in the one of the boxes at Celtic Park and one of the guests asking Stevie, “How was it?” Stevie had just taken the first few bites of his dinner and replied, “Well, it’s quite tasty and tender.” The reply to that was, “Naw, scoring the winning goal in the European Cup Final!” The gent from the Garngad admitted that, in the game he was just delighted to get a touch on to Murdoch’s shot and didn’t of course know that it would be the winning goal.
This has been an extremely tough week for the Celtic family across the world but the memories and contribution of Stevie and Billy McNeill will live on. Both men are etched into the history and fabric of Celtic and will never be forgotten as they will forever remain immortal.
Declan McConvilleListen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast