|The Changing Face Of Celtic Park|
|Written by St Anthony|
|Wednesday, 09 March 2011 18:43|
The programme vendor I buy from is situated near the steps to the bus park, He has been selling them for years and it struck me recently that his old pitch used to be under the old bridge over London Road, which was an old landmark sadly no longer with us. Each time I buy a programme from him his friendly demeanour cheers me up as he represents the Celtic I once knew from days long gone by.
For younger readers the bridge was at the bottom of the current car park, adjacent to the back of the new superstore. This old bridge provided shelter for us over many years but also gave opportunity to mad Huns to climb on it and throw bottles at all and sundry after a frequent Rangers’ Parkhead defeat.
The bridge was demolished in 1983 and the following poem was printed in the Celtic View at that time which is worth recalling:
THE BRIDGE O’ER LONDON ROAD
For many a year I stood
I carried many a load
Across the way from Celtic Park
The bridge o’er London Road
And when the fans approached me
They all would raise their eyes
They knew when they came near me
They were close to Paradise
And I’ve seen every manager
From Maley to McStay
McGrory, Stein and now McNeill
The men who led the way
The players’ names all are legion
They strived with all their might
To bring honour, fame and glory
To the colours green and white
Kelly, Tully, Crum, Delaney
They fought through thick and thin
King Kenny, Tommy McInally
Peerless Patsy, Jimmy Quinn
McGrory of the golden head
John Thomson’s regal grace
Napoleon, Jinky, Yogi
The McPhails and the McStays
I’ve seen thousands gather
In the year of sixty seven
When came forth the European Cup
With the fans in seventh heaven
The Exhibition trophy
On their sideboard they can show
Likewise the Coronation
And nine League flags in a row.
Today you’ll never walk alone
The fans will loudly sing
As they cheer McGrain and Nicholas
Burns and Provan on the wing
So now my task is over
I’ve carried my last load
Good luck, thanks for the memories
Hail and farewell !
From the bridge o’er London Road
I was long an advocate of building a statue in memory of the great Jock Stein. Years ago I would argue with friends that it should be one of him holding the European Cup and on European nights it could be lit up and be seen shining from Bridgeton Cross.
On Saturday Eddie and the Human Torpedo were at Parkhead for big Jock’s statue unveiling. They were kind enough to invite me but I couldn’t get along for the ceremony which was disappointing as this was to be a fine occasion when the Celtic family all came together.
When I got to the game with Junior we had a look at the new monument. It sits in perfect symmetry with Brother Walfrid and Jinky and we now have a truly impressive entrance to the stadium. Someone commented that the statues are now Celtic’s ‘Holy Trinity’ which seems quite fitting.
It struck me that Jock represents the great Celtic past and that Junior alongside me represents the Celtic future. Stein’s legend will long live on in the hearts of Celtic supporters and for my Bhoy and future generations those statues will become popular landmarks and meeting places just as the old bridge was to us years ago.
The Celtic board have received a great deal of criticism recently, not least from me. However, on this occasion they are to be congratulated as that statue is truly magnificent.
They really have done the ‘Big Man’ justice. Well done to all.