Celtic's 30 greatest players - Number 28

Celtic Stands

We continue our countdown of the greatest players to have turned out for the Bhoys.

Following John Collins at number 29, the player who takes number 28 on our list of the greatest ever Celtic players is a man who served the club with distinction for a decade in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Scottish left-back Tommy Gemmell joined the club as a fresh-faced 18-year-old in 1961 and made his name as a no-nonsense defender who displayed maturity beyond his years.

After an underwhelming first few years at Parkhead, it was the arrival of legendary manager Jock Stein in 1965 that kicked Gemmell and indeed Celtic to new heights.

Under Stein, the defender won six consecutive Scottish league titles and was converted from a stoic defensive-minded player into an enterprising full-back, characterised by charges forward down the left wing.

He was an ever-present in the 1966-67 season, becoming the first-ever Celtic player to score in the European Cup, and was immortalised in Bhoys history when he smashed home the equaliser from 25 yards in the final against Inter Milan as Stein's 'Lisbon Lions' became the first British club to win the competition.

Three years later he achieved the notable distinction of becoming the first British footballer to score in two European Cup finals when he netted the opener of an eventual 2-1 defeat against Feyenoord in 1970, a feat which has only been matched by Liverpool's Phil Neal.

A true character off the pitch as well as an icon on it, Gemmell was a hard drinker and something of a troublemaker, trait which eventually strained his relationship with Stein, and at the end of 1971 he was sold to Nottingham Forest, where he would play with future Celtic manager Martin O'Neill for two years.

Despite the unfitting end to his career with the club, Gemmell was described by Stein as the best left-back in the world, and he departed having scored 64 goals in 418 appearances for the Bhoys, winning 15 trophies in his time at Parkhead.

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