On the pedestal, never to be dislodged.
Never suggest Paul Lambert that a Scottish team would lead the success of the Lisbon Lions.
Not unless someone can magically upset the odds – not to mention the Euro elite teams – somehow win the Champions League any time soon.
Even then Celtic midfield may not be convinced.
Lambert was surprised by Kevin Thomson declares that currently Rangers The team will go down as the best ever to come from our shores if they win the Europa League tonight – even better than Jock Stein’s 1967 Champions League frontrunners.
To be fair, the former Hoops star is well qualified to counter Thomson’s comments.
This is a footballer who arrived at Parkhead just months after lifting the European Cup – alongside Borussia Dortmund and going on to captain Celtic in the UEFA Cup final defeat to Porto in Seville in 2003.
No one on Martin O’Neill’s side that year ever thought they were on track to match the club’s greatest achievement.
Lambert admits he felt the weight of history and the standards set forth by the Lions every day during his eight years living on the east end of Glasgow.
Their success in becoming the first English team to win the European Cup is made even more remarkable by the fact that every member of the Stein team is within 30 miles of Celtic Park.
It also comes just a year after Hoops ended a 12-year title drought.
So Thomson’s respectful words in yesterday’s Record that Rangers’ win in Seville “would be the best ever by any Scottish club” due to his return journey. themselves from their bleak matches with Lambert.
It barely even touches the surface.
I said Sports Record: “Rangers did a great job to get to this final, no doubt.
“I understand where Kevin is coming from because he is a former Rangers player.
“But the Lisbon Lions are on another planet.
“There is no way on this earth that any other team in Europe will win a major tournament – the European Cup or the Champions League as it is now – with a team consisting of all players within a 30 radius. miles like the Celtic team did.
“It will never be done again.
“The Lions are literally on a pedestal. It will always be the greatest team to come from Scotland.
“They were the first British team to win it. They are all locals and they are the champions of Europe. They beat the champions of five different countries, including the mighty Inter Milan in the final to do so.
“Yes, Rangers have had an incredible journey over the past decade.
“But you have to remember that Celtic also didn’t win a title in 12 years before becoming champions in 1966 to qualify for the European Cup the following season.
“The Rangers did a great job to get to this final and it will be a great opportunity for them. But to compare the two achievements – even if they win – is a different way.
“Not only that but it also discredits the Rangers team that won the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
“They had great players in that era and it’s an incredible achievement.”
Lambert took the captain’s armband as O’Neill’s Celtic became the first Scottish team since Aberdeen in 1983 to reach the Euro final 19 years ago.
It ended in agony, a 3-2 extra-time defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Porto, after a superb game in which Liverpool, Blackburn, Celta Vigo and Stuttgart were all swept aside.
But the former quarterback insists that no one in the Hoops camp offered them a chance to level up with the ’67 team in the lead up to the finals.
“No chance,” Lambert said. Never. Ask any team since 2003 that have been to Seville and they will all say the same.. that we may be on our way to achieving something special but it will never match the achievement of the Monks. death.
“For any Scottish team to have a chance they need to win the Champions League.
“It was the pinnacle of the European game. Look at the Liverpool vs Real Madrid final coming up this month.
“It’s the proper elite level. The Europa League is a great competition but the Champions League is a different ball game.
“We thrive on the pressure of trying and living up to the standards the Lions set, whether it’s doable or not.
“I’m sure all Celtic players are the same. Jock Stein and his players set the standard for Celtic Football Club.
“We lost the UEFA Cup Final and we have a good team. But even if we win, it won’t be able to match the Lions.
“I met them – great boys, respectable, Jinky Johnstone a lot of them are great, wonderful people.
“A lot of them are no longer with us, that’s sad.”
Lambert will be watching tonight’s final but not sure which way things will turn out.
Having spent a year and a half in the Bundesliga with Dortmund, he closely follows German football and is well aware of the test that lies in store for the Ibrox team.
“It’s 50/50,” he said. Eintracht Frankfurt’s form is excellent, they overturned Barcelona and then beat West Ham.
“They have a rabid support and it will be an occasion. Just too close to call”.