Fifty years ago today Billy McNeill and Celtic enjoyed one of their finest moments.
During a decade that rewrote the history of Scottish football Jock Stein’s side set a benchmark in Europe that will never be surpassed.
One European Cup success, another final appearance and reaching the semi-finals of the competition leaves a legacy that the club still basks in to this day.
On this day 50 years ago, Billy McNeill led Celtic to a cup final win over Rangers in front of 132, 870 fans, the biggest ever attendance at a derby game. pic.twitter.com/kxNZBwPLnZ
— Lisbon Lion (@tirnaog09) April 26, 2019
50 years ago
This is a great photo Big Billy at front and the other 3 Goal Scorers on day behind him
Connolly Chalmers Lennox
S C Final Celtic 4 Rangers 0 pic.twitter.com/kgXjOilBNd
— Celtic Collectibles (@CollectCelticFC) April 26, 2019
Domestically Celtic were all powerful in an age when players across Scotland were roughly paid similar amounts in wages. Playing in a winning Hibs or Aberdeen team would pay similar or more than being at Celtic but not in the team winning bonuses.
In terms of transfer fees at £30,000 Willie Wallace was the most expensive player in the Celtic side, across the city it took £65,000 to sign Alex Ferguson from Dunfermline.
At Hampden the stage was set for a classic Scottish Cup Final, it wasn’t a contest but a demonstration as Celtic won 4-0 with McNeill, Bobby Lennox, George Connolly and Stevie Chalmers providing the goals.
McNeill left Ferguson standing as he headed in the opener, he went on to further glory as Fergie’s Ibrox career came to a shuddering halt, next stop was Falkirk then Ayr United.
A second treble was secured by Stein’s side, many supporters would argue that the class of 69 was a shade better than the Lions two years earlier.