Tommy Gemmell dead: Celtic announce death of 'Lisbon Lion' after long illness, aged 73

Gemmell scored in the 1967 European Cup final in the side that went on to be remembered as the 'Lisbon Lions'

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The Independent Football

'Lisbon Lion' Tommy Gemmell has died after a long illness at the age of 73, Celtic have announced.

The former Celtic defender made 418 appearances for the Glaswegian side, and was part of the famous side that won the 1967 European Cup final, scoring the equaliser in the 2-1 victory over Internazionale, with the team going on to be famously dubbed the ‘Lisbon Lion’.

A statement issued on the official Celtic website on Thursday morning read: “Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell has passed away at the age of 73, and his death will be mourned by Celtic supporters and also the wider football world.”

Having joined Celtic in 1961, Gemmell went on to make nearly 250 league appearances, along with 54 matches in Europe, and left the club in 1971 with 64 goals to his name along with the impressive penalty record of 34 goals from 37 attempts.

He would join Nottingham Forest where he remained for two years, before heading to America in 1973 after agreeing a deal with Miami Toros. However, the move was short-lived, and later that year he returned to Scotland to join Dundee where he spent the last four years of his playing career.

Gemmell also made 18 appearances for Scotland after making his debut against England in April 1966, and was part of the famous Scotland side that beat the World Cup winners the following year 3-2 at Wembley. His one and only international goal came via a penalty against Cyprus in a 1970 World Cup qualifier, and he would make his final appearance for his country in 1971, before retiring completely in 1977 to become Dundee’s manager.

Gemmell scored in the 1967 European Cup final as Celtic became Britain's first European champions (Getty)

Gemmell also managed Albion Rovers, having spent three years in the dug-out at Dundee, and after his first stint ended in 1987, he returned to the club six years later before leaving the following season.

Celtic’s statement added: “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 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.”