Tommy Gemmell


We collected a few testimonials that revolve around the remarkable achievements and character of Tommy Gemmell, highlighting the profound impact he made on those fortunate enough to have crossed paths with him.

Mary Gemmell


When I first met him, I had no idea who he was. I was not a football fan when we met in Majorca one summer. I was a nanny to my friend’s children and I went along to a bar one night to have a drink with the girls. Tommy was there with Bertie Auld and a couple of other players on a golfing outing. We got chatting, but I still hadn’t a clue about this guy who was apparently a Celtic superstar. I liked him, but it wasn’t love at first sight, I have to admit. He was a big charmer, though. I was well aware of that, but there were no arrangements for another meeting. As luck would have it, we met again quite by accident at a function back in Scotland. By this time, I knew all about ‘Big Tommy Gemmell of Celtic’ and he asked me out on a date. I hesitated, but a friend of mine said: ‘He’s only asking you out for a dinner, not asking you to marry him. Go and have a good time, he looks good company’.

The rest is history. That man became the love of my life. I loved him to bits. He was my special guy, my best friend, my soul mate, my rock. Like any couple, we had our ups and downs, but we were totally devoted to each other. Tommy really was a humble guy. What you saw was what you got. It was not an act.

He loved Celtic Football Club. And, please believe me, he loved the Celtic fans. He would do anything for them. We went to supporters’ functions all over the world and Tommy took an interest in each individual club. He passed out all his numbers and told them to keep in touch. Right up until the end, he autographed this, that and the next thing for the Celtic fans. We could be in company, having a quiet dinner, and a supporter would come up looking for an autograph or a photograph. Tommy obliged on each and every occasion. By the time he got back to the table, his dinner would be cold. He simply accepted that as payback to the people he called the most wonderful fans in the world. He fought all the way and showed again he wasn’t a quitter. But it was a battle he couldn’t win.

I have received phone calls and text messages from places such as Hong Kong, New York, New Zealand. Oh, you name a place or a country and I’ve been told what a tremendous individual my husband was. Seriously, it’s just been phenomenal. I’ve been knocked out by the response from so many well-wishers throughout the planet. I appreciate all of it. But I can tell you this, there is one person who wouldn’t have believed he was so popular. Tommy didn’t see himself as a legend or anything like that. He was a genuinely modest guy and that was another reason he was so special to me. Now I have to get on with life without this wonderful, precious man. To football fans, he was Tommy Gemmell, legend.

Moira Gemmell


From the age of around 6/7 he would be playing football in the street with whoever was about using their clothing as goal posts. The neighbours complained bitterly about the ball in their gardens but it did not deter them. At the age of around 8 he managed to get a place in the primary school team and never looked back. I am not sure if he played in a team at Wishaw High but I do remember vividly he would be lectured every other day for not coming straight home from school where he was playing cricket!!!

He received the Dux and Sports Champion medals in the same year at Craigneuk Primary School and for his achievement my parents bought him a bike which turned out to be his pride and joy. He would take the pedals off it when he was not using it so the rest of us could not get a shot.

As a teenager he would cycle from Craigneuk up the Clyde Valley to pick strawberries during the summer holidays and then progressed to cauliflowers as there was more money in it. He would come home most nights with bruised and bloodied knees as by this time the bike was too small for him.

His early days at Celtic whilst working as an apprentice at Ravenscraig he would stay sometimes with our grandmother. When trying to get him up for work in the morning she would shout numerous times and he would stamp the floor with one foot and reply he was up. He would eventually hear her coming and was up before she opened the door.

Willie Haughey


I was privileged in my role as Chairman of the Lisbon Lions committee to get to know Tommy. Many of the great Celtic players were real characters, and Tommy was certainly in that category. He was probably the first 'attacking fullback' in European football. His cavalier and swashbuckling approach to getting forward is legendary. In his day, there is no doubt he was one of the finest fullbacks in world football. He is famous for the cannonball power that delivered so many great goals, none more important than his Thunderbolt in Lisbon. The best tribute I can pay him is to say Celtic fans will still be talking of the legendary Tommy Gemmell in 100 years' time.

Martin McCrum


Sometimes in life, you meet people who make an instant and everlasting impact. For me, that was Tommy Gemmell. I was privileged to know Tommy for many years, sharing many discussions about life, our community, and of course, football. Spending time with Tommy motivated me, and it was clear to see he was a true winner while remembering to be humble and, of course, his Craigneuk roots. Tommy's passion was infectious, and when I was in his company, I was inspired by his unwavering dedication to be the best he could be, regardless of the challenge. He was truly world-class, an achiever, and known throughout the world—a exemplary role model. Proud to be a friend.

Joe Miller


I first met Tommy just after I joined Celtic in their centenary season, the first thing that struck me was how down to earth and friendly he was when I first met him. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of the guy who scored not one but scored in 2 European cup finals and was the first Scottish player ever to do this. He was a true legend. I continued to meet a lot of the Lisbon Lions over the years but Tommy was a fantastic player and a true gentleman.

Jacky Meehan


Not only was Tommy a world-class footballer, he was also a world-class person whose infectious smile and sense of humour would light up a room. I was lucky enough to spend time with Tommy on many occasions. A true legend.

Councillor Kenneth Duffy


Tommy Gemmell was more than just a football superstar, he was a true community hero. His positive impact on the people of Craigneuk, Scotland and beyond was immense. He was known for his friendly demeanor, approachability and unwavering commitment to helping his community in any way possible. He was a true inspiration to many, not just for his contributions to the sport but for his genuine love for people. This project is more than just recognising a football icon, it will bring people together and support local schools and projects while serving as an inspiration that anything is possible.

San Francisco Celtic Supporters Club


We had the pleasure of hosting Tommy and the rest of the Lions on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Lisbon in 1997 at the NAFCSC convention in Las Vegas. He was a larger than life character who was always happy to spend time in the company of Celtic fans. His onfield exploits as an integral part of a very successful Celtic team make him very deserving of this statue in his honor and we wish the committee every success in making this a reality.

Willie "Wispy" Wallace


When playing for Hearts FC, I played against Tommy on numeral occasions and found him to be a formidable opponent. I joined Celtic in November 1966 and Tommy was an established first team player and he made me very welcome and we became close friends as at that time he lived in my home town of Kirkintilloch. Tommy was established in the first team squad and he went on to have a successful club and international career. Tommy was a very skilful player who had an outstanding attacking ability and scored many spectacular goals. We became close friends off the field and both enjoyed trips to Perthshire for hunting and fishing. When Tommy took over Dundee Football Club, he asked me to join him as first team coach. I will always be proud to say that Tommy and I were best friends and he will always be remembered for his success as a player and for his very quick and entertaining manner. I have great memories of that time as he was a great guy to play beside and also to work with.

Tam Donnelly - NAFCSC Convention


I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Tommy on a education spending time with Tommy was like being with someone who had been your friend your pal growing up he was funny easy to talk to and never had a bad what for anyone he also had lots of time for Celtic supporters and conversations with him where enjoyed by all he was a Lisbon lion a superstar and you would never know it just being in his company was a pleasure.

Motherwell FC


Tommy was born in Cumbrae Drive, Motherwell in 1943 and lived his early years in nearby Craigneuk, not particularly earthshattering news, but if you’re a Motherwell fan of a certain generation your imagination will run riot.

He started his career about 6 miles from the town with Coltness United and yet the Motherwell scouting system failed to select him for the ‘Well.

Cumbrae Drive is a mile from Motherwell’s first stadium in Roman Road and at the opposite side of the town from Fir Park where some of Scottish footballs greatest played including the famous Ancell Babes, named after manager Bobby Ancell.

Born within a few years of Tommy were Ian St John 1938, Bobby Roberts, Willie Hunter & John Martis all in 1940, Charlie Aitken 1942. Can you picture Tommy wearing a claret and amber kit and playing alongside those gents? The trophies that the Babes never won would surely have been held aloft by a Motherwell captain, maybe Tommy himself.

Sadly, for ‘Well fans he went onto have a very successful career with Glasgow Celtic and a few of his 37 goals were scored against Motherwell.

A statue to honour a highly talented footballer and by all accounts a gentleman off the pitch is thoroughly warranted.

Kevin James Connelly - Tommy Gemmell Dunblane CSC


We named our supporters club after Tommy (Tommy Gemmell Dunblane CSC) Tommy moved to Dunblane many yrs ago with his Wife Mary, and it wasn't very long before we were sat around him listening to many stories of his time at Celtic and the Lions.

Helped myself a lot during the 2000's getting tickets for many a euro away game, he was a good man and was privileged to be asked to attend his funeral something which i was honoured to do.🙏💚🍀