John Clark and the Pele in the lift story

John Clark made 318 appearances for Celtic, scoring just three goals in that time. Clark played an incredible 140 consecutive games for the Hoops between April 1965 and September 1967.

The Celtic legend won 11 major honours during his time as a Celtic player, these include three league titles, three Scottish Cups, four League Cups and one European Cup. He was also Billy’s McNeill’s assistant manager when Billy came back from Aberdeen to manage Celtic and he is still busy at Lennoxtown working with Brendan Rodgers and his backroom staff.

Rather than mention any of his Celtic games what about his appearance for Scotland on 25 June 1966 against Brazil at Hampden.

Scotland v Brazil

“Most football fans would agree that the stars from Brazil are a little bit special and love to see them in action,” fellow Lisbon Lion Jim Craig wrote on The Celtic Star, back in 2018.

“Scotland has played against the men from South America on nine occasions, the first of which was on this day in 1966, when a crowd of almost 75,000 turned up at Hampden for a friendly.

“There were two Celtic players in the side – Stevie Chalmers and John Clark – and Stevie got Scotland off to the perfect start when he opened the scoring in 38 seconds. Brazil later equalised through Servilio and the match ended 1-1, the fans leaving well content with their national team’s draw against such talented opposition.”

The Pele in the lift story

Former Celtic winger David Provan tells a good story relevant to this game. Celtic were in New York in the early 1980s and Provan is in the hotel lift with the Celtic Assistant Manager John Clark when Pele gets in, immediately recognises Clark and talks about the game in 1966. Clark is a quiet man and smiles. Provan is star-stuck. When Pele leave the two Celtic men look at each other and straight faced Clark says “who the hell was that?”

Happy Birthday John Clark, Lisbon Lion and Celtic legend!

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