Jock Stein’s playing career with Albion Rovers, Llanelli and Celtic was unremarkable. His career as a manager was quite the opposite.
Born in Burnbank, South Lanarkshire in 1922, the young John Stein worked as a coalminer while playing part-time, but it was the move to Llanelli that allowed him to devote himself full-time to football and he returned to Scotland in 1951 to begin a long love affair with Celtic.
Jock’s remarkable management career began with coaching the reserves at Parkhead after his playing days had come to an end in 1957. He moved on and revitalised the fortunes of Dunfermline Athletic and Hibernian before returning to Celtic in 1965.
Under Jock’s leadership, Celtic dominated in Scotland, winning nine league titles in a row from 1965 to 1974. They also enjoyed unprecedented success in Europe and, in 1967, became the first British club to lift the European Cup.
Jock and his team – nicknamed the Lisbon Lions – are immortalised in the football history books having achieved this accolade as an entirely home-grown group of players.
Jock went on to manage Scotland but his 61-match tenure came to a tragic end in Cardiff in 1985. Aged 62, he died of a heart attack near the end of a victory against Wales which sealed Scotland’s qualification for the 1986 World Cup.
Alex Ferguson, his assistant, took over the role for the finals in Mexico and went on to honour Jock’s legacy by winning the European Cup and many other titles with Manchester United.
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