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Jimmy Johnstone
Personal information
Full name James Connolly Johnstone
Date of birth September 30, 1944(1944-09-30)
Place of birth    Viewpark, Scotland
Date of death    March 13, 2006 (aged 61)
Place of death    Uddingston, Scotland
Height 1.55 m (5 ft 1 in)
Playing position Outside right
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
San Jose Earthquakes
Sheffield United
Elgin City
308 (82)
010 0(0)
011 0(2)
003 0(0)
009 0(0)
018 0(2)   
National team
1964–1974 Scotland 023 0(2)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

James Connolly "Jimmy" Johnstone (30 September 1944 – 13 March 2006), was a Scottish international association football player. Johnstone, known as "Jinky", was best known for his time as a Celtic player, and was voted their best ever player by the club's fans in 2002.

Born in Viewpark, South Lanarkshire, the youngest of five children, Johnstone grew up at the family home on Old Edinburgh Road, directly across from Robertson Park, the home of local Junior side Thorniewood United FC. After being spotted by Celtic and Manchester United scouts at age 13, he chose to sign with Celtic and he played his first game for the senior team on 21 March 1963. The coach of Saint John The Baptist school football team in Uddingston, in which Johnstone had excelled, was friendly with some of Celtic's coaching staff at that time and recommended the young player to the club.


Club career



Johnstone was one of the "Lisbon Lions", the team that won the European Cup for Celtic in 1967. Jock Stein had instilled in the team the conviction that they could beat the superstars of Internazionale, but Johnstone expected that Celtic would "get gubbed". He later recalled : "There they were, Facchetti, Domenghini, Mazzola, Cappellini; all six-footers wi' Ambre Solaire suntans, Colgate smiles and sleek-backed hair. Each and every wan o' them looked like yon film star Cesar Romero. They even smelt beautiful. And there's us lot - midgets. Ah've got nae teeth, Bobby Lennox hasnae any, and old Ronnie Simpson's got the full monty, nae teeth top an' bottom. The Italians are staring doon at us an' we're grinnin' back up at 'em wi' our great gumsy grins. We must have looked like something out o' the circus."

In the tunnel before the game, legend has it that he and Bertie Auld led a Celtic chorus of the The Celtic Song much to the bemusement of the Inter players.

In the end of course, the Italians had no answer to the free-flowing total football of Stein's Celtic, exemplified by Johnstone, a style in polar opposition to Internazionale's defensive Catenaccio style which had dominated European football. Johnstone described the Celtic style as "like the Dutch speeded-up".

In the immediate aftermath of the Lisbon victory Celtic formed the opposition in the testimonial game for the Real Madrid player Alfredo Di Stéfano. Johnstone's performance was such that the Real supporters began to cry "Olé!" every time he dribbled past one of their own team's players.[1] Referring to his encounter with Johnstone in the 1970 European Cup semi-final, in what was billed at the time as the football "Battle of Britain", Terry Cooper of Leeds United described Johnstone as "my nightmare", such was the quality of his opponent's play.

Johnstone suffered from a phobia of flying. Stein used this to the advantage of the team in a European Cup match against Red Star Belgrade, when he promised the winger that if he helped Celtic secure a large enough lead in the home leg, he would be excused from flying to Yugoslavia for the second leg. On this promise, Johnstone put in an excellent game, scoring twice and making three more goals, thus fulfilling his side of the bargain. After the game Stein declared that the people of Belgrade deserved to see his talents, but Johnstone didn't have to endure the flight to Yugoslavia.

Later career

He played for the San Jose Earthquakes before moving to England in 1975, signing for Sheffield United. Johnstone also played for Dundee, Shelbourne and Elgin City before retiring.

International career

Johnstone was also a Scottish international team member, playing 23 times for his country. England captain Emlyn Hughes was run ragged by Johnstone in an international, and remembered: "Scotland beat us 2-0 one year, and I was embarrassed to come off the pitch. Jimmy Johnstone absolutely crucified me. Alf Ramsey came up and said 'you've just played against a world-class player today. He can do that to anybody'".

During one stint with the Scotland team during the 1974 Home International tournament and a month before the World Cup in Germany, Johnstone was the centre of some "high-jinks" which has gone down in Scottish football folklore as "The Largs Boat Incident". As there were four days before the team's next match against England, manager Willie Ormond had allowed the players a night out in the town at their Largs retreat. Coming out of a hostelry quite late, and quite drunk, the players were walking along the shore when Johnstone spotted a couple of rowing boats, and borrowed one of them, realising too late that there were no oars. The coast-guard had to be called to rescue him. On his return to the hotel (named The Queens Hotel), Johnstone remarked "Don't know what all the fuss is about - I thought I'd go fishing!" Johnstone was pilloried by the Scottish press for this incident with some journalists demanding that he never play for Scotland again. Despite the press furore (or perhaps because of it) Jinky went on to play an inspirational game against England at Hampden Park the following Saturday in a match which Scotland won by 2-0.

Later life

Johnstone's dry wit was in evidence when the Lisbon Lions were paraded at Celtic Park on the 25th anniversary of their triumph in the European Cup. In an aside, Paul McStay, the then Celtic captain, asked Johnstone who he thought would win if the 1967 team was to play the team of 1992. Johnstone paused to consider for a moment, then replied that he thought it would be a draw. McStay suggested that perhaps the veteran was being kind to the current team. Johnstone explained -"well, you've got to remember that we're all in our fifties now!"

A documentary about Johnstone's life titled Lord of the Wing first aired on the BBC in 2004. The film, narrated by Billy Connolly, includes footage of his footballing highlights, as well as numerous tributes from the world of football.

In June 2005, Johnstone became the first living person since the time of the Tsars to have a Fabergé Egg designed in his honour. The egg was designed by Carl Fabergé's granddaughter Sarah [1] and was unveiled at the House of Commons in June 2006. The entire collection of nineteen limited edition eggs sold out within days.

Motor neurone disease and death

Johnstone was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in November 2001. To raise funds for charity and to raise awareness of the disease, he launched a new version of the song "Dirty Old Town" together with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds.

Johnstone died in March 2006 [2]. The last person to call him was old Rangers rival, Willie Henderson, who had become a firm friend of Johnstone. Thousands of Celtic fans, and fans of many other clubs, including those of arch-rivals Rangers paid tribute to his memory outside Celtic Park on St Patrick's Day, the day of his funeral service.


Tributes were paid to Johnstone before the Scottish League Cup Final on 19 March 2006. There was a minute of applause before the game and the entire Celtic squad wore the number 7 on their shorts in his honour. At the end of the match, Celtic's team wore shirts with the name "Jinky" and the number 7 as a further tribute to Johnstone.

The Jimmy Johnstone Memorial fund announced that they were to raise money for a statue of Johnstone, to be placed on the site of his old school, St Columba's in Viewpark. The Wakes, a Lanarkshire folk band, wrote and recorded a tribute song, 'The Uncrowned King of Football' in Johnstone’s memory to raise funds for the statue and the fund.

In September 2007 Celtic announced that they would erect a statue of Johnstone costing £60,000 outside Celtic Park. The statue, in Kerrydale street near the ticket office, was unveiled on 13 December 2008.

On 7 January 2009 the Jimmy Johnstone Academy of Football, established in honour of Johnstone, was registered with the SYFA. Johnstone's Academy achieved the SFA Quality Mark on the eve of his 4th anniversary 13 March 2010 and are now building for the next level of accreditation for the much sought after SFA Development Quality Award. It is the first award posthumously given to Jimmy Johnstone by the SFA.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1962-63 Celtic Division One 4 1
1963-64 25 6
1964-65 24 1
1965-66 32 9
1966-67 25 13
1967-68 29 5
1968-69 31 5
1969-70 27 10
1970-71 30 8
1971-72 23 9
1972-73 22 7
1973-74 15 3
1974-75 21 5
USA League Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup League Cup North America Total
1975 San Jose Earthquakes North American Soccer League 10 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1975-76 Sheffield United First Division 6 1
1976-77 Second Division 5 1
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1977-78 Dundee Division One 3 0
Republic of Ireland League FAI Cup League of Ireland Cup Europe Total
1977-78 Shelbourne Premier Division 9 0
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1978-79 Elgin City Highland League 18 2
Total Scotland 311 83
USA 10 0
England 11 2
Republic of Ireland 9 0
Career Total



External links


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