By Bill Heaney
Celtic’s Lisbon Lions legend Bertie Auld has been diagnosed with dementia, the club has announced.
Auld was part of Jock Stein’s side who made history as the first British club to win the European Cup with victory over Inter Milan in 1967.
The 83-year-old also won five league titles, three Scottish Cups and four League Cups in two spells with Celtic.
The club say Auld’s family would like “Celtic fans and football fans in general to keep him in their prayers”.
Celtic’s statement added: “The family would like to thank everyone for their huge support and request privacy during this difficult time.
“Bertie is being well cared for at his own home, surrounded by all the family.
“Everyone at Celtic would like to add their best wishes to Bertie and his family. Bertie is a true Celtic icon, one of our greatest sons and someone the club and our supporters love and respect dearly.”
Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton, whose father Mike died last year of dementia, was among those to offer condolences on social media.
Sutton wrote: “Really upsetting this is. Dementia is such a cruel disease. Bertie is a true legend. Brilliant player and one of the funniest guys ever. Stay strong Bertie.”
Auld made 279 appearances for Celtic and also played for Dumbarton, Birmingham City and Hibernian before moving into management.
Bill Heaney, editor of The Democrat, who knows Bertie Auld from his Boghead and Parkhead days, said: “Bertie is a man of great spirit and so it’s hard to see him falling prey to dementia. Last time I met him was at Parkhead where he is a club ambassador.
“There was no better man to make people welcome and entertain fans the way Bertie did at fans’ functions and other events.
“He played in the Lions’ team that won in Lisbon, but I remember him in the Sixties when he was a flying winger for Sons in one of their best teams ever which included Hughie Gallacher, Tim Whalen and my cousin, John Heaney. Happy days.”
His former team-mate, Lisbon Lions skipper Billy McNeill, died in 2019 after living with dementia since 2010.