In 1967, the European Cup was only for the elite of Europe.
Only the richest teams could afford the best players.
So no British team had ever won it.
In fact no British team had ever reached the final.
But the first British team to get to the final wasn’t English, it wasn’t Manchester United or Liverpool.
It was Celtic.
And every single player on that team was born within 30 miles of Glasgow.
Obviously they didn’t stand a chance against Europe’s elite.
They were playing Inter Milan.
Inter Milan had the highest paid manager in Europe and they’d won the European Cup twice in the previous three years.
It was a formality that this year would be the historic treble
Even the Celtic players said: “We thought we looked like a pub team by comparison.”
And when the Italians scored a penalty it seemed to be all over.
But, for the Scots, it was the best thing that could have happened.
Because the Italians played the defensive ‘catenaccio’ system.
When they went a goal up, their entire team switched to defence.
Which left the entire Celtic team free to attack.
And Celtic won the game 2 – 1.
But for me the best part is what happened next.
Having won the cup, did the Celtic team do a victory lap around the ground?
No they didn’t.
They ran straight to the Celtic goal to get their false teeth out of the goalkeeper’s hat.
The entire team had taken their false teeth out before the game and put them in Ronnie Simpson’s hat, which he kept in his goal.
When the Celtic fans began rushing onto the pitch, the team were worried they would take their false teeth as mementoes.
So they all rushed to the goal, got all their teeth out of the goalie’s hat, and sorted out which set belonged to who.
And that’s the part of the story that I love.
I love the way that entire Celtic team was so grounded and normal.
Not thinking like international superstars, thinking like a bunch of young working class lads from Glasgow.
Playing the European Cup Final the way they’d play a game in the local park.
Just pop their false teeth in “Ron’s bonnet” (as they called it) and put them in his goal so he could keep an eye on them.
And they played against a team of international superstars just the way they’d play any game.
Never mind all the hype, it’s still eleven men against eleven men.
Just like it would be in a game in the park.
And when they’d won, they weren’t overawed at the magnifence of their achievement and the occasion.
They were worried in case someone pinched their false teeth.
So that was their reaction.
No falling to their knees, no kissing the cup, no dancing with their shirt off.
Just running to get their false teeth from the goalie’s hat.
I love the way it shows the power of staying grounded.
The strength of not carrying any other baggage in our heads beside just doing the job we’re working on.
Take all the hype away and all the pressure goes away with it.
Then we’re free to perform at our very best.
That’s how eleven blokes from Glasgow beat eleven superstars.