Growth type: Early/Lasting
Jimmy Johnstone, one of the most prolific wings & finest football personalities with over 500 games and 130 goals for the Celts. He was one of the smallest too... In 2002, "Jinky" was voted by Celtic-fans as the greatest player to ever play for the club. "Jinky" and the rest of the Lisbon Lions went into history books when they won the European Cup in 1967 by defeating the superstars of Internazionale who played the defensive tactic "Catenaccio". Not only were they 11 players from the same nation, but they also lived not far from each other! Johnstone played a major part in that achievement.
Johnstone was afraid of flying, so Jock Stein (manager at that time) used to take an advantage of this, especially in European Cup away matches. Stein used to encourage Johnstone that if he could help to get the team a good result in the home game, he would not have to take long flights for the away matches. One incident was an European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade. Stein said to Johnstone that if he'd help the team to get a good result in the home game, he could stay home while the others went to Yugoslavia. He netted 2 goals and assisted 3 goals...
Tiny Johnstone had the habit to cause havoc in the opponents defence, especially the opponent full-backs. He did so with the likes of Bertie "the terrier" Vogts and Terry Cooper. Johnstone used to toy around so much that Terry Cooper once managed to fall on his butt. Cooper even tried to kick Johnstone in some cases, but failed to do so as Johnstone just went past him. Although Vogts was a hard-worker that almost never gave up in a duel, he once claimed that although he was in a great form, Johnstone still managed to cause a lot of problems for him.
Johnstone capped only 23 times for Scotland. At that time, most of the national team contained players from the archrivals of Celtic, Rangers. Most of the national team supporters were also Rangers-supporters which caused Johnstone some issues during matches. Whenever Johnstone got the ball, the supporters started to boo/shout and winding up Johnstone. He later asked to not be a part of the national team, so he "retired" from playing for the national team.
One thing that not many people knew until recently... He was not far from signing for Manchester United, but he eventually chose Celtic as his team. Even Ferguson had to put on a smile and say "imagine that... Johnstone, Charlton and Best... imagine that..."
Johnstone died in 2006 after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2001. He was greatly tributed during the Scottish League Cup Final where there was a minute of applause before the kick-off. The entire Celtic squad wore the number 7 on both the front and back of their shirts to honour Johnstone. Also, after the match, the Celtic players wore shirts with the squad name "Jinky" and the number 7 as a further tribute to Johnstone.
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