THE history of Celtic is part of Tosh McKinlay’s life and very DNA. His grandfather and father took him to games. He was presented with a medal as a boy by Jimmy Johnstone. And he was part of the team that won a Scottish Cup in 1995, a league cup in 1997/98 and a league title the same season.
The former defender was almost 30 when he finally joined the Hoops but his links with the club were forged by being born in a Celtic family.
“I grew up with the tail-end of the Lions,” he said. “My first game at Celtic Park was 1972.”
He will return to Paradise for Celtic FC Foundation’s Henrik’s Heroes v Lubo’s Legends charity game on Sunday, May 28 and is particularly looking forward to the salute to those who won the European Cup 50 years ago.
“Jinky was my all-time favourite,” he admitted. “I was privileged to watch them but privileged to get to know them. And Jinky presented me with a medal for a five-a-side tournament at Partick Burgh Hall.
“These things stick in your mind. These guys are very humble people. It was great to grow up supporting the team and then playing for the team and then meeting all those greats.
“You can’t explain what it means to you as a club. When I was growing up my father and grandfather took me to games. Unfortunately, my grandfather did not live to see me play for Celtic but when they talk about living the dream I know what they mean.
“I will always be grateful to Tommy Burns for allowing me to do that,” he said of signing for Celtic in November 1994.
And McKinlay rates Henrik Larsson as the best he played with, though the competition is strong.
“Henrik’s goal at the start of the St Johnstone game that stopped 10-in-a-row will live long in the memory,” he said. “I was fortunate in that I played with the Three Amigos – Jorge Cadete, Pierre van Hooijdonk and Paulo Di Canio – and I also played with Andy Thom and Paul McStay but the king was Henrik.”
And Tosh McKinlay is looking forward to the charity match. “It is always good to get back on the hallowed turf and pull the boots on.”
Henrik’s Heroes versus Lubo’s Legends will take place at Celtic Park on Sunday, May 28, 2017, with a 2pm KO.
Tickets are on general sale, on a first come first served basis – maximum of 10 per person – priced at £12 for adults and £6 for concessions*.
Tickets are available to purchase online at www.celticfc.net, by calling 0871 226 1888** or by visiting the Celtic Ticket Office. Rail Seating does not apply to this match.
Premium tickets (£30) and corporate packages (£135) are also available by calling 0871 226 1888** (Option 4) or emailing [email protected]
Net proceeds of the game will be devoted to Celtic FC Foundation, a charity aiming to uphold and promote the founding principles of our football club. The four priorities are to improve health, promote equality, encourage learning and tackle poverty and the Foundation have a strong track record of delivering successful community-based projects. There will be detailed projects in relation to proceeds from this match in due course.
* Concessions 65+/Under 16s.
** Calls cost 13p per minute, plus your phone company’s access charge. Booking fees apply online and via our sales line.