Friday, March 17, 2006

Sent off

Less handsome than George Best, but faster, funnier and even less predictable, Wee Jinky was the first living person to have a Fabergé egg designed for him, after Sarah Fabergé saw the video "Lord of the Wing".
From the Wikipedia entry:
Jimmy was one of the "Lisbon Lions", the team that won the European Cup for Celtic in 1967. Jock Stein had instilled in the team the conviction that they could beat the superstars of Inter Milan, but Johnstone expected that Celtic would "get gubbed". He later recalled:
"There they were, Facchetti, Domenghini, Mazzola, Cappellini; all six-footers wi' Ambre Solaire suntans, Colgate smiles and sleek-backed hair. Each and every wan o' them looked like yon film star Cesar Romero. They even smelt beautiful. And there's us lot - midgets. Ah've got nae teeth, Bobby Lennox hasnae any, and old Ronnie Simpson's got the full monty, nae teeth top an' bottom. The Italians are staring doon at us an' we're grinnin' back up at 'em wi' our great gumsy grins. We must have looked like something out o' the circus."


  1. As an eight-year-old in the 70s, he was my idol. Him and Frannie Lee. From the sublime to the ridiculous, I realize, but it was clear even then that football required both.

  2. We must be about the same age. I was six years old when my father first took me and my brother to Celtic Park - a baptism of fire in a miasma of adrenaline, testosterone, tobacco smoke, beer, bovril and foul language. The noise of the place! The crush and the roar. At big European games,in those pre-Heysel days, eighty thousand people would squeeze onto the terraces. Waves of joy and rage. Gusts of rain under the floodlights. I loved it. I think I then saw nearly every Celtic home game in the Lisbon Lions era.

    Jimmy Johnstone was the bravest player I ever saw, and maybe the most exciting. After one of his famous five-defender-beating runs followed by a shot on goal, the crowd would just be shaking their heads in disbelief and laughing. He was a joy to watch. Kids especially loved him, maybe because he wasn't much bigger than a kid himself, and because he was so manically unpredictable.