Monday, March 13, 2006
Today is a sad day for any Celtic supporter as Jimmy Johnstone, the best player to have ever played for the hoops died today at the age of only 61. He suffered from motor neurone disease but fought it to the last.
This section really sums Jinky up better than i ever could. He played against the best players in the world and did so many things in one game that by the end the away support were cheering his name. Indeed it is probably only because his heart was only at Celtic did he never go on to Real, Barcelona, Inter or Milan and it is likely he would have been recognized near, if not at the top, of the best players in the world.
Many people would say that the Red Star match was Jinky's finest but the wee man's favourite game was the Alfredo di Stefano testimonial in Madrid against the mighty Real Madrid. Celtic had just won the European cup and were invited to play in the match. Johnstone put on a superb show and had the 125,000 Reals fans chanting Ole, Ole, every time he went past a man. He simply tore them to shreds and at one point in the match none of the Real players wanted to go to tackle him for fear of being embarrassed in front of so many people so Jinky just stood with the ball at his feet out on the wing. Celtic won the match 1-0 with Jinky dribbling the ball from just outside his own box to set up Bobby Lennox for the goal and at the final whistle he held the ball aloft in one hand and the crowd roared with delight. Later that evening di Stefano asked if Jinky would pose for a group photograph along with himself, Puskas, Santamaria and Gento, the greats of European football.
You'll Never Walk Alone Jinky. Thanks for the memories.
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