Giving history a dunt

One by one the giants of our childhood pass away.

It is an inevitable stage of our own journey if we are around for long enough.

I was doubly blessed in the generations of the Celtic Family that I was first taken to Parkhead in 1966 as an eight-year-old.

Around the corner from the house where I was born in was The Grib.

Jimmy Gribben was my Grannie’s first cousin, and we were a close crew in the village of Baillieston.

Only last week I had the craic with one of his brood.

The Grib was responsible for Jock Stein becoming a Celtic player and the Big Man never forgot that.

Consequently, there was a constant stream of football deities to his house in Baillieston.

I have one memory off scuttling around the corner to Jimmy’s house on Greenshields road and these huge men in blazers coming out of where I had been sent with “a message”.

One of them was Tam Gemmell.

Looking back it was clear why the other players nicknamed him “Danny Kaye”.

The resemblance to the Brooklyn-born actor was there for sure.

In his autobiography published during his playing days, he referred to his shot as “the terrible dunt.

The match in Lisbon turned on the interventions of two attacking fullbacks.

Jim Craig teased the Inter defender before rolling it to Big Tam on the edge of the packed penalty box.

Artillery shells had a kinder trajectory.

Giuliano Sarti had no chance whatsoever.

It was a goal designed within the mind of a tactical genius from Burnbank.

Big Tam also played a crucial role in the winner, this time inside their penalty box from the left wing.

He taunted two defenders before presenting it to Bobby Murdoch to shoot.

The midfielder’s shot was expertly diverted past the helpless Sarti by Stevie Chalmers.

The final whistle was blown, and they all became immortal in that moment.

Lions forever.

Back in Baillieston at that very instant, a nine-year-old who ran errands to Jimmy Gribben’s house was dancing in front of a little black and white telly.

A childhood lasts a whole lifetime and my thoughts today are with the family of the man who changed my history with that terrible dunt.

I saw it happen.

Thanks, big man.

Requiescat in pace.

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