Has any other figure in the game
so comprehensively defined an age
and writ his name as large upon the page
as big Jock Stein –
to many minds the greatest single Celt
there’s ever been?
The Big Man, ostracised by kith and kin
because he wouldn’t toe the bigot line,
in time embodied everything that’s fine
about this club,
of which he was the beating heart and soul –
its very hub.
Though as a player limited, it’s true,
he always gave his all … you can’t ask more.
In nineteen fifty-three and fifty-four
it proved enough
to lead the Celts to glory, doubly sweet –
what sterling stuff!
A visionary, a man before his time,
big Jock replaced our eight-year vale of tears
with dominance unknown for sixty years,
since Maley’s pomp;
transplanted Kelly Kids with Lisbon Lions –
unleashed a romp.
Now, cast in bronze, he rightly takes his place
within the iconic huddle by the door:
three legends unsurpassed in Celtic lore,
to all endeared –
once consummate ambassadors in life,
in death revered.
Copyright 25thMay1967, March 2011