FOR everyone connected to Celtic and Dunfermline Athletic, September’s Jock Stein Charity Match promises to be a day of emotion and pride. As a former player at both clubs, Jackie McNamara is especially proud at the coming together of the two sides that shaped and defined his career.
The ex-Celtic and Dunfermline full back is the latest name to pledge his involvement to the Jock Stein Charity Match sponsored by Direct Slating Supplies. Taking place at East End Park on Sunday, September 6 (KO 2pm), the match will see a squad of Celtic and Dunfermline Legends squaring off to mark the 30th anniversary of the passing of one football’s greatest managers, Jock Stein.
Proceeds from this match will go towards Celtic FC Foundation and the Pars’ Foundation, the respective charitable arms of both clubs.
A lynchpin of the Celtic rearguard for over a decade, Jackie McNamara enjoyed a decorated spell that included numerous domestic honours and a testimonial in 2004.
Having played in 2013’s Stiliyan Petrov tribute game and last year’s Maestrio match, McNamara is well acquainted with the unique importance of these charity encounters.
On his involvement, McNamara told the official Celtic website: “For me, it’s good to play these games. They keep you young and as I’m a bit older now you need that!
“It’ll be good to catch up with some old friends and this game means a lot for me as Dunfermline started everything in my career and I have a lot of affection for them.”
Before transferring to Celtic in 1995, McNamara spent the early part of his career at Dunfermline Athletic and the former Hoops No.4 outlined his gratitude and appreciation for his time at East End Park.
He said: “I loved my time at both clubs. Dunfermline gave me a great grounding for my career and they’re part of the reason why I developed as a player and went on to play for a club as great as Celtic.
“I have great affection for them and it’s disappointing what’s happened to them in recent years with relegation and financial trouble, I hope they can turn a corner.”
Currently the manager at SPFL Premiership side Dundee United alongside assistant and fellow ex-Celt Simon Donnelly, McNamara was quizzed as to whether their on-field partnership – with Donnelly also featuring in September’s match – would still be as sharp.
He said: “I hope so. The way our team training works, Simon is more involved in the physical aspect and participates a bit more, so he might be a touch sharper. I’ll still try my best to get up and down the wing as best I can though.”
Simon Donnelly was slightly more optimistic on his chances, adding: “I’d certainly hope our understanding would still be sharp but it’s probably not what it was 16 years ago! I would say my body is in good shape so we’ll see how we get on.”
Turning his attention to Jock Stein, McNamara also discussed the 1967 European Cup-winning manager’s legacy across the Scottish game.
He said: “Anyone connected with Celtic, Hibernian, Dunfermline and even the national team will have enormous admiration for Jock.
“During his career, my Father played under Jock Stein and he told me all about him. Jock was a true legend of the game and he is still sadly missed.”
Celtic Legends’ Squad So Far
Tickets for the match, priced at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions, are available ONLINE, by calling 0871 226 1888* or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office.
Matchday Hospitality is available, on a first come, first served basis, in the Purvis Suite at a cost of £45 per person, or supporters can upgrade to a pitch-side box for an additional price of £100 per person.
Tickets for the dinner are priced at £500 for a table of 10 or £50pp. To make a booking call Celtic FC Foundation on 0141 551 4321 or email [email protected]
* Calls cost 13 pence per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. For customer enquiries relating to existing purchases only, please call 0141 230 1967. Calls charged at standard rate.