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On Celtic, the fans and othersJock Stein Pics - Kerrydale Street

"Football is nothing without fans."
Jock Stein

"Without fans who pay at the turnstile, football is nothing. Sometimes we are inclined to forget that. The only chance of bringing them into stadiums is if they are entertained by what happens on the football field."
Jock Stein

"My proudest moment? Every Friday morning when I look at the board at Celtic Park and see my name on the team sheet for tomorrow’s game."
Jock Stein (when a Celtic player & team captain)

"We like to think that whoever we play, we are a football team, nothing more. We are a football team who will play anyone from anywhere, from any walk of life, from any religion, from any creed. That is Celtic Football Club."
Jock Stein

“Unlike many other Celts, I cannot claim that Celtic was my first love … but I can say that it will be my last love.”
Jock Stein in a speech at a Supporters night in 1955

"If I can achieve for Celtic what I have achieved for Hibs, then I feel I will have done well for them."
Jock Stein on becoming Celtic manager, possibly his only understated remark!

"The secret of being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided."
Jock Stein

"I enjoy being manager here, because I like the people who support us."
Jock Stein

"Celtic jerseys are not for second best, they don't shrink to fit inferior players"
Jock Stein

“I'd far rather talk about players, they are the people who make things happen.“
Jock Stein

“You're too fond of Charlie Gallagher and Harry Hood. You wouldn't win a league with 11 Charlie Gallaghers or Harry Hoods.“
Jock Stein

"There is no substitute for experience "
Jock Stein

"Have the first issue ready for the week after the [Scottish] Cup Final and leave a blank space on page one for a picture of the boys with the Cup!"
Jock Stein on the new "Celtic View" in his first season as manager

"I think it is important to win a match, but I think what is even more important is the manner in which you win."
Jock Stein

"The most pleasure any manager can get is seeing everyday boys joining the Club as youngsters and growing into men and giving themselves a better social standing than they could ever have dreamed of previously."
Jock Stein

"You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have."
Jock Stein on the miners

(Before a European Cup game to Hunter Davies (an English Journalist) touring round Celtic and Rangers grounds who was commenting on Celtic's unpretentious surroundings compared to Rangers more "cathedral-like stadium")

"Ach, Rangers are alright, but they still haven't invented blue grass."

“25% of our [Celtic’s] managers have been Protestant!”
Jock Stein on being appointed manager of Celtic, when pointed out with headlines in the papers and by people that he was the first Protestant manager of Celtic (he was only the 4th in the clubs history (retold by Hugh McIlvaney)

“Is it alright if he’s very cheeky that ah can skelp ‘em?”
Jock Stein jokingly to Billy McNeil’s family as he convinced them to let him sign for Celtic (as told by Billy McNeil)

“We weren’t Orange but we were staunch!”
Jock Stein on his family background to Hugh McIlvaney
(from BBC life story program on Jock Stein 2007)

"If they were interested in what I had to say they would get here in time. The door stays shut!"
Jock Stein on barring late coming journos to his press talks

"I think we could win everything in front of us. I think this could be a season to remember."
Jock Stein to various players at the start of the 1966/67 season, quoted by Archie MacPherson

"Jock, if there were two players, one Catholic and one Protestant. Who would you sign?"
"The Protestant"
"Because I know that Rangers would never sign the Catholic."
(winding up Rangers FC over their bigoted signing policies)

"Predicting scores is a mug's game – I'll leave that to Alec Cameron!"
Jock Stein chides about Alec Cameron, a journalist who was very biased to the Huns

"Surely there are enough Celtic songs without introducing religion or politics or anything else?"
After 1972 game against Stirling when he jumped into the Celtic crowd to stand up to individuals singing sectarian songs

"I lost some friends when I made the move, but if that's what matters to them, then they're not really friends at all."
On his move to Celtic which led to him being shunned and dismissed by his old 'friends'

"This terrible tragedy must help to curb the bigotry and bitterness of Old Firm matches. When human life is at stake this kind of hatred seems sordid and little. Fans of both sides will never forget this disaster."
Jock Stein from the Celtic View on the Ibrox Disaster of 1971

"It is up to us, to everyone at Celtic Park, to build up our own legends. We don’t want to live with history, to be compared with legends from the past. We must make new legends."
Jock Stein (After winning his first league title as Celtic manager in 1966)

"We all end up yesterday's men in this business. Your're very quickly forgotten."
Jock Stein in Archie MacPherson's book "The Great Derbies: Blue and Green" (1989)

"The best place to defend is in the opposition penalty box."
Jock Stein

“There is no excuse for a professional footballer not to be 100% fit.”
Jock Stein

"Football is not like that. If form was the only factor we would all win the pools every week."
Jock Stein

"I feel we have the players fit to wear the mantle of champions of Europe. I have told them so. Now it's up to them."
Jock Stein after beating Vojvodina Novi in the QF of the European Cup, 1967

"We send Murdoch down to the health farm at Tring to lose some weight and the main result is that we are polluted with bad tips from the wee jockeys he meets there."
Jock Stein joking to Hugh McIlvaney about Bobby Murdoch's weight control

"If you're good enough, the referee doesn't matter."
Jock Stein

"It's not religion that's the problem - it's the lack of religion!"
Jock Stein

"You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have."
Jock Stein

"I'm happy where I am, I like the people I work with, I like the players and the directors of this club but most of all I like the fans and to see them happy makes me happy,so I'm very happy here."
When asked about Man Utd showing interest in getting him to manage at Old Trafford in early 70's

"There's nothing wrong with losing your temper for the right reasons."
Jock Stein's advice to Alex Ferguson, as re-told by Alex Ferguson in an interview in Jun 08 who was speaking about his own infamous temper

"Never fall in love with them, because they’ll two-time you.”
Alex Ferguson recalling advice from the late Celtic and Scotland manager Jock Stein about relations with players

“I’m sorry to leave but I just could not be a salesman.”
Newspaper headline on Jock leaving Celtic after being asked by the board to “move up” to the board level to become in charge of the club pools

On Lisbon 1967 and Winning the European Cup

"My time will come!"
Jock Stein to John Mackenzie of the Scottish Daily Express, prior to European Cup final 1967 after enduring snubs and mind games from opposite number Herrera (Inter Milan Manager)

Stein's inspiring pre-match battle cry was:
"If you're ever going to win the European Cup, then this is the day and this is the place. But we don't just want to win this cup, we want to do it playing good football - to make neutrals glad we've won it, glad to remember how we did it."
Jock Stein before the game 25th May 1967

“Tell me, the 9 o’clock and 10 o’clock mass are all ticket?”
Jock Stein joking to Hugh McIlvaney on the surge of Celtic fans coming to Lisbon to see the team play in the European Cup Final (retold by Hugh McIlvaney)

"I am now going to tell him (Herrera) how Celtic will be the first team to bring the European Cup back to Britain. But it will not help him in any manner, shape or form: we are going to attack as we have never attacked before. Cups are not won by individuals, but by men in a team who put their club before personal prestige. I am lucky - I have the players who do just that for Celtic."
Jock Stein 23rd May 1967

"We must play as if there are no more games, no more tomorrows..."
Jock Stein, shortly before kick off in Lisbon

"We don't just want to win the European Cup. We want to do it playing good football, to make neutrals glad we won it, pleased to remember how we did it."
Jock Stein before the European Cup win in 1967

“Coming here you’ve made history, go out and play to your capability and enjoy yourself.”
Jock Stein to the players as they were to go out to play in the European Cup Final (1967)

After wining the European Cup

"We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football."
Jock Stein

“There is always a time to move on.”
Jock Stein

"This team will never be beaten!"
Jock Stein to Bill Shankly on bus back, overheard by Bertie Auld

"There is not a prouder man on God's Earth than me at this moment. Winning was important, aye, but it was the way that we have won that has filled me with satisfaction. We did it by playing football. Pure, beautiful, inventive football. There was not a negative thought in our heads. Inter played right into our hands; it's so sad to see such gifted players shackled by a system that restricts their freedom to think and to act. Our fans would never accept that sort of sterile approach. Our objective is always to try to win with style."
Jock Stein, 1967

: “What a wonderful season!”
Jock Stein: “Aye, but what do I do next year?”

“We hope that the next hands on the European Cup are yours.”
Prophetic words from Jock Stein to Matt Busby in 1967, as he received the BBC Sports team of the year award form him in 1967 (Man U under Matt Busby ended up winning the European Cup in 1968)

On Scotland

"'Old Firm supporters went to internationals to cheer three players, boo two, and ignore the rest!"
Jock Stein on the Scotland fans in the 1950's

“After all, we're a small country. The Finns and Norwegians, you don't get them saying 'We're going to win the World Cup'.“
World Cup in Spain 1982 about Scotland fans

“We do have the greatest fans in the world but I’ve never seen a fan score a goal.”
Jock Stein

On others

"There should be a law against him. He knows what's happening 20 minutes before anyone else."
on Booby Moore, West Ham and England Defender from 1960s, (quote from 1969))

"I don't believe everything Bill tells me about his players. If they were that good, they'd not only have won the European Cup but the Ryder Cup, the Boat Race and even the Grand National!"
on Bill Shankly the then Liverpool Manager

Quotes about Jock Stein

"I am proud to say that I knew Jock Stein as a manager, as a colleague and as a friend... he was the greatest manager in British football... men like Jock will live forever in the memory."
Alex Ferguson

“I always thought Jock Stein was the perfect international manager. But you (England) don't have anyone like that. You don't have Jock Steins, you'll never have a Jock Stein.”
Alex Ferguson

"He would have been well within his rights to glorify himself in some way but that simply wasn't Jock's style. He was also a very intelligent man who played the press brilliantly. I remember one day down at Turnberry, he invited me to join him at the press conference to which he turns up about 10 minutes early and plonks himself down on a chair outside the room. Along come the hacks and Jock starts, just loud enough for them to hear. 'Here's such and such coming, big gambler . . . this one's having it off with so-and-so'. He knew everything about them and they all knew that he knew.”
Alex Ferguson story about Jock Stein (from RedIssue Man U fanzine)

“For people like myself, he was the precursor of all the deeds and challenges we needed to aim at and be like Jock Stein. He would never take the praise himself. It was always about the players and how great the team were. That magnanimity tells you everything about him. He always used to say to me to keep your dignity at the end of games. He kept his humility and his feet were always firmly planted on the ground.”
Alex Ferguson (2008)

“When I worked as a toolmaker in the middle of winter,” Ferguson, who was a shop steward at the Remington Rand typewriter factory, adds, “I remember touching the steel first thing in the morning. It’s absolutely freezing. You can burn yourself it’s so bloody cold. And yet these people built the best ships in the world. You can over-romanticise these things, but they do have a real part to play in forging a person’s character.”
Giving them what? “Determination. Then you think of the miners; men such as Stein and Shankly. I remember Stein saying something I think was fantastic. We were driving to Glasgow during the miners’ strike [in the mid1980s] and they were shipping coal in from Belgium, these scab drivers. Big Jock stopped them. He looked at them, and said: ‘I hope you’re proud of yourselves. You’re doing people out of a living.’ None of them said a word. Then he said to me: ‘This is an absolute bloody disgrace. You go down that pit shaft, a mile underground. You can’t see a thing. The guy next to you, you don’t know who he is. Yet he is the best friend you will ever have.’ ” Ferguson pauses for a moment. “All of these things congeal in your character. And they never leave you.”
Alex Ferguson (2008), Interview with The Times

"It was as if the king had died. In football terms, the king had died."
Alex Ferguson on Jock Stein's death in 1985

"He came to Celtic not just to manage them, but to battle for them."
Archie MacPherson on Jock Stein

Jock, do you want your share of the gate money or shall we just return the empties?"
Bill Shankly to Jock Stein after the 1966 CWC tie with Celtic at Anfield

"John, you're immortal now!"
Bill Shankly to Jock Stein in the Dressing room just after they won the European Cup, Jock Stein in turn just laughed... (1967)

"Stein's a remarkable man. One of the most remarkable man ever in the game."
Bill Shankly on Jock Stein

"If he has useful players he trains them the right way, and he encourages them to do what they are best at, not to mention the other wee things you need in your game. Jock would then merge these things together. It's a form of socialism - without the politics of course."
Bill Shankly on Jock Stein

"A great manager, my pal for years. a great man as well,with a heart of gold who'd give his last shilling. Aye, Stein he's the best!"
Bill Shankly on Jock Stein

"The greatest manager in the history of the game. You tell me a manager anywhere in the world who did something comparable, winning the European Cup with a Glasgow District XI."
Hugh McIlvaney (journalist) in his documentary "Busby, Stein and Shankly: The Football Men 1997"

"I adored the man!"
"There was a tendency to think that Jock would be around forever."
"The simple truth that he could bring such intellect to the game."
Hugh McIlvanney on Jock Stein (2012, Radio 5 Live Special)

"John, you’re a Celtic man, you’ll regret it if you don’t go."
Gordon Batters (Hibs Doctor) who convinced Jock to go to Celtic as manager (we owe him such a debt) (link)

"As I head into the Stadio Olimpico three-and-a-half weeks from now, it will be with the hope that the contenders soon to take the field can inhabit the creed expressed by the mighty Jock Stein shortly before he led Celtic to British football’s first victory in the European Cup 42 years ago. “We can be as hard and professional as anybody,” Jock told me, “but I mean it when I say we don’t just want to win this cup. We want to win it playing good football, to make neutrals glad we’ve done it, glad to remember how we did it.”"
Hugh McIlvaney, on Sunday's Times on-line.

"The problem for us is that Big Jock and his players spoiled it for everyone who came after them..."
Lou Macari, on becoming Celtic Manager (1994)

'I've got a vivid memory from 1965, when it was announced he was coming back from Hibs, of Billy McNeill saying, ''Oh thats fantastic! Wait and see how things change now!''.'
John Divers, 1995 on the return of Jock Stein to the club as manager.

"Mr Stein was an imposing figure. I was in awe when I first met Mr Stein, and I thought I was all through my playing career. He meant something to every player. Whether or not they liked him as a person he was loved for what he did for their careers. How big an influence was he? How long is a piece of string? He was a nice man. A nice, nice man. You don't remember the things your dad did to you that were bad. You remember the nice things like Christmas or your birthday. Maybe Mr Stein could give you stick, but it was forgotten outside the dressing room. He taught me so much. He hurried things up for me."
Danny McGrain on Jock Stein

"He had the knowledge; he had that nasty bit that managers must have; and he could communicate. On top of that he was six feet tall, and at times he seemed to get bigger when he was talking to you. He had everything that a great manager needs. Nothing ever went by him. He was the best."
Graeme Souness

"Jock Stein was the greatest manager ever to draw breath. There was no one who came anywhere close to him."
Jock Wallace (ex-Rangers manager)

"I'll tell you this, a hundred years from today all of us will be forgotten, no matter who we are and how important we think we are. No one will remember us. But Jock Stein will be remembered. He made Celtic, and he was the greatest manager Scotland ever produced. I'm just glad I have such great memories of the man."
Pat Crerand

"Quite often I would go home from training at Barrowfield with bumps and bruises. Training under Big Jock was competitive."
Bobby Murdoch

"Jock Stein put us on the park afraid of no one."
Bobby Murdoch

"Jock had a deep and genuine hatred of drink. He loathed it with real and severe feeling."
Bobby Lennox on Jock Stein (2007)

"I admit to being hyper-sensitive about deliberate agendas as, when I joined the BBC more than four decades ago, I found myself in a departmental anti-Catholic, anti-Celtic ethos which I had to fight against; successfully, I have to claim, as Jock Stein became a regular associate of mine as an analyst when previously he would not have been seen dead inside Queen Margaret Drive. This was not done to curry favour at Celtic Park, although the other side of the city thought it was. It was just the right battle to take on for the sake of integrity."
Archie MacPherson, The Herald (Nov 2012) (link)

"I played wi' people who played for Stein. He knew all his players wife's & kids names. 1st person to send flowers to family in hospital."
John Lambie (Partick Thistle manager and great character)

"Jock opened the dressing room windows so our opponents could hear us singing Celtic songs"
Bertie Auld

Other anecdotes

I remember during the school holidays me and some of my pals used to walk from the gorbals to celtic park to see the players and get some autograghs i must have been about 9 at the time ,Big Jock gets out his car coming back from barrowfiield,as where the player i asked big jock for his autogragh and he said to me: "hey son wit day yi want ma autogragh fur its they guys there you want to sign yer book." He gave me a wee pat on the head and a smile ,so away i went to the players for autographs happy as can be.
(Geezerbhoy of the KStreet forum Apr 2006, source)

Me and my mate went down to CP on the afternoon of the Dynamo Kiev game ( season 67/68 ), Jock Stein was standing at the front door, I approached him and said that my mate had never seen the EC up close, so was there any chance of a look. The big man looked at my mate and said " We cannie be hivin that, come wi me the baith ae ye." He took both of us into the trophy room and showed us the big cup. He spotted someone walking past the room and went after him. He came back a few minutes later with a photographer from the Evening Citizen and told him to take a photo of us with the trophy. He also told the snapper to get our names and addresses and to send us a photo each, (the rotten barsteward never did send them) and added that he would have to go as he was quite busy. We both thanked him and left with a sense of awe.

To me that was a sign of the mans greatness, on the afternoon of the most important game of the season he could take time out for some fans.
(From "Ally Les Verts" of the KStreet forum May 2007 Source)

Another wee story about the big man.

As I was born and raised just across from Barrowfield training ground a few of us used to go and watch the training sessions. The players played a game whereby they could only touch the ball twice, one to trap/control and then pass.

This day Tommy Gemmil and Big Yogi had started to argue and Big Jock Stein came over to find out what had happened, it went like this.

BJS " Whits gone on here."
T.G. " Yogi's cheatin, boss , he's touched the ba' three times." (which he did)
Y. " Naw ah didnae, boss, he's makin it up tae get a free kick."
BJS " Carry on Yogi, nae free kick."
T.G. " Ats no fair boss he did touch it mair than he's sayin."
BJS " Ach everybody knows catholics don't tell lies."
(From "Ally Les Verts" of the KStreet forum May 2007 Source)

Jim Black told a nice story on Radio Scotland.

One day after a game, Archie Gemmill, as captain, asked manager Jock Stein "Would it be ok to ask the hotel manager to open the bar?"
Big Jock looked at him. "Well, you're the captain. Tell me, do YOU think it would be ok?"
Gemmill, sensing there was something wrong said nothing.
He was never selected by Stein again.

Rangers had just won the league cup one nil the day, and later Jock Stein was walking down Sauchiehall St with esteemed journalist Hugh McIlvaney. Rangers fans passing by goaded the pair. Jock Stein turned to Hugh McIlvaney and highlighted this as what differentiated Celtic fans from Rangers fans. With them it was "We've won, you've all lost!". With Celtic fans all are invited to the party! A beautiful story and a wonderful example of the Celtic ethos and culture to contrast against the Huns.
Story retold by Ian McGarry on Radio 5 Live on 9 July 2012

Inter Official:
"We wil pay Celtic £100,000 if you will let us have your right winger Jimmy Johnstone".
"For which match?"
(could be apocraphyl this story, but still reflective of the wit of the manager if true).
Jock Stein - Quotes - The Celtic Wiki

Sources needed

The following was taken from CelticMinded forum, but need a source for verification that it's true:
One time being accosted by one of the knuckle-draggers:
Rangers fan: 'You only won the European Cup because you had 5 Protestants in your team!'
Stein (himself a protestant) responded: 'Well you've never won it and you've got eleven!'
{it's said that this was from a biog of Eddie Gray (ex-Leeds) but not sure}

The following is oft quoted by some but is believed to be amended from the actual lines which was Jock on Alec Cameron (journalist) and nothing to do with the Rangers' manager as it was commonly quoted to be
(see link)
TV Presenter : '...what do you think the score will be in the Old Firm match'
Alec Cameron: "I think 2-0 to Rangers"
TV Presenter : 'And you Mr Stein what will the Old Firm score be?'
Big Jock : 'Only a fool would try to predict the score in an Old Firm game!'

Uses of this page

The Sunday Herald used the quotes in their paper from this page for their Lisbon Lions 40th anniversary special (May 20th 2007), although further quotes have since been added to this page to help create a repository for his wisdom and humour for future generations.

Jock Stein - Quotes - Kerrydale Street

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