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John 'Jock' Stein CBE (5 October 1922 – 10 September 1985) was a Scottish association football player and manager. He became the first manager of a British side to win the European Cup, with Celtic in 1967. Stein also guided Celtic to nine successive Scottish League championships between 1966 and 1974. He managed to convert a team of ordinary players that were not trophy winners into the best team in world football.

During his managerial career he won the European Cup once, ten Scottish League Championships, nine Scottish Cups, and six Scottish League Cups. All but one of these honours (the 1961 Scottish Cup with Dunfermline) were won with Celtic. After a brief stint with Leeds United, Stein managed the Scottish national side from 1978 until his death in 1985. Stein was voted the greatest Scottish football manager in a 2003 poll by the Sunday Herald newspaper.

Playing career

Born in Burnbankmarker, South Lanarkshire, Stein saw football as his escape from the Lanarkshire coal mines. In 1937 he left Greenfield school in Hamiltonmarker and after a short time working in a carpet factory went down the pits to become a miner. The next year he joined Blantyre Victoria junior football club. He started out as a professional player with Albion Rovers in 1942 and continued to work as a miner during the week, while playing as centre-half on Saturday. He made a name for himself as a no nonsense centre-half and went on to make over 200 appearances for the Coatbridge club, which also included a brief loan spell to Dundee United in 1943. Rovers won promotion to the First Division in 1948.

In 1950 Stein signed for non-league Welsh club Llanelli. For the first time in his career, he became a full-time professional footballer on the sum of £12 per week. He was soon desperate to return to Scotland as he had left his wife and young daughter behind and his house had been broken into twice in his absence. In 1951, on the recommendation of Celtic reserve team trainer Jimmy Gribben, Celtic bought him for £1,200.

He was signed as a reserve but injuries incurred by first team players resulted in him being elevated to the first team. In 1952 he was appointed vice-captain and when captain Sean Fallon broke his arm the full captaincy was passed to Stein. He was club captain until his Celtic playing career ended due to injury in 1956.

In 1953 he captained Celtic to Coronation Cup success when they unexpectedly beat 1–0, 2–1 and 2–0 to become unofficial champions of Britain and in 1954, he captained Celtic to their first League championship since 1938 and first League and Scottish Cup double since 1914. During Scotland's performances in the 1954 World Cup Finals, Jock Stein learned from the shambles of Scotland’s preparations and also about the continentals' tactics.

Stein was forced to retire from football in 1956 after suffering persistent ankle injuries. He had played 148 league games for Celtic and scored two goals. He was given the job of coaching the reserve and youth players and was responsible for persuading the board to purchase Barrowfield as a training ground. In 1958, he led the reserves to the second XI Cup with an 8–2 aggregate triumph over . This was Stein’s first success as a manager.

Managerial career

Dunfermline

On 14 March 1960 he accepted the job of manager at Dunfermline. After only six weeks in charge, Stein led them clear of relegation. He built Dunfermline into a powerful force and guided them to their first Scottish Cup in 1961, via a 2–0 replay victory over Celtic. In 1962 they defeated in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and only lost to Valencia in a third game play-off after retrieving a four goal first leg deficit.

Hibernian

Stein was appointed manager of Hibernian in 1964, and within months of becoming manager he led them to victory in the Summer Cup. The testimony of his contemporaries was that he was already “miles” ahead of everyone else in his understanding of the game, and in studying how the investment of energy could be tailored to maximum effect. Stein was immersing himself in the structure of the game while the rest simply went out and played.

Celtic

He returned to Celtic in March 1965, becoming the club's first Protestant manager and the fourth manager in club history. Following a barren period of eight years without a trophy for Celtic, he revitalised the team. Just six weeks after becoming manager, he led Celtic to Scottish Cup success in a 3–2 victory over his old club Dunfermline. The next year Celtic were crowned Scottish champions for the first time since 1954. They also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, only to be knocked out on the away goals rule by .

In the following season, Stein managed Celtic to a domestic treble for the first time in the club's history. His greatest triumph, however, was in guiding Celtic to victory in the 1967 European Cup Final against previous champions, Italianmarker giants Inter Milan. Despite initially falling behind to an Italian penalty, his team triumphed 2–1, winning much admiration for the positive attacking quality of their football.

In winning club football's most prestigious trophy, Stein became the first man not only to guide a Scottish club to champions of Europe, but also the first to achieve this honour with a British club. Celtic were also the first northern European side to become champions of Europe. He also became the first manager in history to win all competitions entered. The feat was done with a team all born within 30 miles of Glasgowmarker. The feat of winning the Champions Cup with a team full of native-born players was later matched by Steaua Bucharest. In a conversation with Bill Shankly shortly afterwards, Shankly famously told him "John, you're immortal now".

The following season, Celtic won the League and League Cup for the third season in a row. In 1969 they won another domestic treble, their second in three years. In 1970, Stein led Celtic to a League and League Cup double; they also finished runners-up in the Scottish Cup. He also guided them to their second European Cup Final, but they lost to Dutchmarker side Feijenoord in Milanmarker.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1970. Stein would have been knighted instead if not for an infamous Intercontinental Cup final match against Racing Clubmarker where four Celtic players were sent off.

The 1970s brought continued success on the domestic front. During this time Stein's Celtic completed a record of nine consecutive Scottish Championships - it was not matched until Rangers won a ninth successive league title in 1997. Stein was badly injured in a car crash in 1975; he nearly died but eventually recovered. For most of season 1975–76, Sean Fallon assumed control as manager. Stein returned to his position at the start of the following season.

Celtic's fortunes at this point went into decline and Stein was persuaded to stand down to make way for a younger man. Billy McNeill was appointed as manager in 1978, but Stein was not offered a seat on the Celtic board. He was instead offered a position with responsibility for the Celtic Pools. Stein rejected this offer as he felt he still had something to offer football and left Celtic in less than amicable circumstances. Shortly afterwards he became manager of Leeds United but, after just 45 days in charge at Elland Roadmarker, Stein resigned, accepting the position of Scotland manager.

Scotland

Stein, who had been Scotland manager on a part-time basis in 1965, took the job on a full-time basis in 1978. He led Scotland to the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where they were eliminated in the group stage on goal difference by the Soviet Union. Scotland had beaten New Zealand, lost to Brazil and then drew 2–2 with the Soviet Union in a must-win match.

On 10 September 1985, Scotland drew 1–1 with Wales at Ninian Parkmarker in Cardiffmarker, securing a play-off against Australia which would lead to qualification for the 1986 FIFA World Cup. Triumph turned to tragedy, however, as Stein suffered a heart attack at the end of the game. Stein, who was 62 years old, died shortly afterwards in the stadium's medical room.

Tributes

Since his death, Stein has been inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame and the Scottish Football Hall of Famemarker. He has been voted the greatest ever Scottish manager, and in 2002 he was voted the greatest ever Celtic manager by the club's fans. When Celtic Parkmarker was rebuilt in the 1990s, the traditional Celtic fans' end of the stadium was named the Jock Stein Stand. A bust of Stein was presented to Celtic by a supporters' group and now sits in the foyer of the stadium.

Honours





Notes

  1. Scotland - List of Cup Finals, RSSSF
  2. Scotland - List of Champions, RSSSF
  3. Scotland - List of League Cup Finals, RSSSF


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