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Tommy was one of the Hoops' all-time greats, says boyhood fan McAvennie

By Ronnie Esplin

Former Celtic striker Frank McAvennie has spoken of his sadness over the death of 'Lisbon Lion' Tommy Gemmell.

The Parkhead club announced that the ex-Hoops full-back, who scored in the 2-1 win over Inter Milan in the 1967 European Cup final in Lisbon, had died at the age of 73 after a long illness.

The news came following confirmation over the weekend that Billy McNeill - the Lions' captain and McAvennie's former manager - has dementia.

Boyhood Celtic fan McAvennie said: "It is a shame. It has been a horrible week all round, really, with the news about Billy as well and now Tommy - two great men.

"I remember the Lions when they were playing. I was only a wee boy but I got to know them through the years when I played for Celtic and it was great.

"They are always about the place. I was on a couple of trips with Tommy and his knowledge of the game was incredible.

"He will be sadly missed at Celtic Park."

Former Hoops midfielder Murdo MacLeod said: "I know he had been struggling over the last few months. Just really sad news.

"He's obviously been one of the greats at Celtic Park to be part of the European Cup-winning side. A top player, one of the first defenders getting forward all the time. (It's) just so sad. We heard Billy McNeill's news over the last few days and now this. It's just very sad."

Former Celtic striker John Hartson wrote on Twitter: "Sad news hearing Tommy Gemmell has passed away.. Celtic great thoughts are with his family and close friends, RIP Tommy."

Celtic's rivals Rangers said in a statement: "The club would like to send our sincere condolences to the family of Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell.

"He was one of the great Celtic and Scotland players and will be sadly missed."

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