Fifty years later, people in Portugal still have an interest in Celtic’s European Cup win. Whilst Brendan Rodgers men don’t grab the European attention the 1967 team did, Celtic still have a place in many Portuguese hearts.
The Lisbon Lions’ 2-1 win over Inter Milan was played at Estádio Nacional, better known as Estádio do Jamor, and created a special relationship between the Scottish club and the Portuguese ground.
On Thursday, an event took place at Jamor to unveil a plaque which celebrates the title’s anniversary, and the local press have widely covered it. A Bola highlighted the unveiling in a two-page article, and managed to get interviews with some of the people who were representing Celtic.
“This is an iconic stadium for us Celtic fans,” said David Mitchell, the 57-year-old supporter who had the idea to make the plaque. “This is our Mecca. We feel attracted here, at a certain point in our lives we have to come here to see where the players have won the European Cup.
“Now when the thousands of Celtic fans who come here every year arrive at the stadium, they will have a place to take a picture and keep a memory of the Lisbon Lions. It is a meeting place for all Celtic fans. In fact, Lisbon will always be a special city for us. When we become followers of the club, soon we become aware of Lisbon’s importance.”
John Clark, one of Celtic’s Lisbon Lions, also spoke to the newspaper: “You know, I’ve been here several times. It is good to go through the tunnel, climb the stairs, and see the green colours. It’s always a great occasion to win a competition, a European Cup. If my heart beats faster I’m falling here already, it’s always very exciting.
“Being here 50 years later is a bonus, considering that some of my companions have died, that others are not very well,” said the former player known as ‘The Brush’, who’s now been the kit-man at Celtic Park for over two decades.
“Those in Scotland and those who have already gone will certainly be radiant with this tribute. I am honoured to be able to represent them.
“It’s always sunny when I come here. We are all delighted because we will always be associated with Lisbon. We will be known as the Lisbon Lions forever, as that was the most important game in club history. Nobody gave us anything, but on the pitch we were fantastic. This stadium is a place we all love to visit. All the fans have a father, a grandfather, who has come here. They want to come too.
“When we won the cup here, Celtic had a football that many wanted to follow. People did not want defensive football, they wanted the attack, and we had it.”
A Bola have also spoken to João Paulo Rebelo, secretary of state in Portugal, who welcomed the Glasgow club to the event: “For Celtic this is an important moment as they are celebrating 50 years of an unforgettable victory. We are celebrating a great day for Jamor, because we did not have a European final in our national stadium again.
“Every year there’s a real pilgrimage of Celtic fans to Jamor, always in the best spirit that exists in the sport.”