Tommy Gemmell, a former player for Scottish club Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lions’ team that won the 1967 European Cup, has died following a long illness. He was 73.

Former Celtic ‘Lisbon Lion’ Tommy Gemmell Dies at 73

The former Scottish defender scored in the 2-1 victory against Inter Milan in 1967.

Celtic said in a statement Thursday morning: “The whole Celtic family is mourning his passing, and everyone associated with the club sends their thoughts and prayers to his family, his fellow Lions and his many friends at this desperately sad time.”

Gemmell, who was capped 18 by Scotland and played in the 3-2 win against World Cup winners England at Wembley in 1967, also scored in the 1970 final when the Hoops lost to Dutch club Feyenoord. He played 10 seasons for Celtic, between 1961 and 1971, scoring 63 goals in 418 appearances.

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He won six league titles, three Scottish Cups, four League Cups in addition to the 1967 European Cup. Celtic were the first British team to win the tournament.

Just days before Gemmell’s death– as well as the 50th anniversary of that European victory– the family of Billy McNeill confirmed the Lisbon Lions captain has dementia.

Celtic’s statement said: “Tommy Gemmell is a true Celtic legend, part of the greatest side in the club’s history and a man who played a pivotal role in our greatest ever triumph when, in Lisbon’s Estadio Nacional, 11 men all born within a 30-mile radius of Celtic Park, beat Inter Milan to win the European Cup.

“The legend of the Lisbon Lions was created that night, and Tommy and his team-mates were assured their place in the pantheon of Celtic greats. And, like the rest of the Lions, Tommy remained humble about his incredible football achievements.”

Dozens of tributes have poured in. Former Celtic Murdo MacLeod called Gemmell’s passing “very sad news,” and described Gemmell as “one of the greats.”

Celtic’s chief executive, Peter Lawwell, said: “Tommy was a Celtic great, one of football’s greats and I know he will be so sadly missed by everyone who knew him. He was a man of huge stature in the game and someone who made such an important mark on Celtic Football Club.

“Tommy will forever hold his rightful place as one of the true Celtic legends. In this particular year it is so very sad to lose such an important figure – while we mourn his loss, I am sure all our supporters will also celebrate the life and the wonderful achievements of the great Tommy Gemmell.”

After retiring as a player with Dundee in 1977, Gemmell managed the club for three years, and also had two stints in charge of Albion Rovers.

There are only seven Lisbon Lions still alive: McNeill, Bertie Auld, Bobby Lennox, Willie Wallace, Jim Craig, Stevie Chalmers and John Clark. 

12th May 1967: Tommy Gemmell of the Celtic side that beat Inter Milan by two goals to one in the European Cup final in Lisbon. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

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