GLASGOW: Tommy Gemmell, former Celtic defender and ‘Lisbon Lion’ has died aged 73 after a long illness.

Former Scotland defender Gemmell scored in the 2-1 victory against Inter Milan in 1967 when Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup.

A Celtic statement said: “Our thoughts are with Mary and Tommy’s family and friends at this very difficult time.” Chief executive Peter Lawwell added: “Tommy was a Celtic great, one of football’s greats and I know he will be so sadly missed by everyone who knew him.  He was a man of huge stature in the game and someone who made such an important mark on Celtic football club.”

Gemmell also scored in the 1970 European Cup final, which Celtic lost 2-1 to Feyenoord.

He spent 10 years at Celtic, between 1961 and 1971, making 418 appearances and scoring 63 goals.  The right-footed left-back also won 18 Scotland caps, making his debut against England in April 1966 and playing in the famous 3-2 victory over the world champions at Wembley the following year.

Former Scotland manager Ally MacLeod said: “Scoring a goal in the European Cup final. To be part of that was just fantastic. The Celtic Lisbon Lions – anywhere they went over the years everybody knew who they were — and for Tommy Gemmell to score a goal in that [1967] European final was just wonderful.”

After retiring as a player with Dundee in 1977, Gemmell managed the club for three years, and also had two spells in charge of Albion Rovers.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “This news is particularly poignant with this year being the 50th anniversary of Celtic’s achievement in becoming the first British club to win that special trophy.”