Legends on ‘Jinky'
Pele: "One player who sticks in my mind is the little red haired winger Jimmy Johnstone. He had such skill and was the kind of player I always enjoy watching.”
Tommy Gemmell: "I don't think he knew what he was going to do next, so what chance did the opposition have?”
Kenny Dalglish: “Wee Jimmy was a fantastic player, someone everyone looked up to. His character and personality matched his ability as a player. He was a brilliant wee guy with a great sense of humour having loads of fun winding people up.”
Rod Stewart: “It was in 1971, on tour with the Faces, when I was invited to watch the squad in training. I met Jimmy and Jock Stein, and I have been a fan ever since. They should put up a statue the size of Parkhead for Jimmy. It couldn't be big enough. He was special.”
Gordon Strachan: "Growing up I had two real heroes, George Best and Jimmy Johnstone. One week I'd say Jimmy was the best and the next I'd say it was George.”
Jock Stein: "People might say I will be best remembered for being in charge of the first British club to win the European Cup or leading Celtic to nine league championships in a row, but I would like to be remembered for keeping the wee man, Jimmy Johnstone, in the game five years longer than he might have been. That is my greatest achievement."
Bertie Auld: “You know what a player he was, but what a person. He was the kindest guy in the world.”
Jim Craig: "He destroyed Terry Cooper, who was England's left-back at the time, when we met Leeds United in the semi-final of the European Cup in 1970. A few years later, we went to Elland Road for a testimonial for Jack Charlton and Jimmy turned it on again. My father-in-law, James Farrell, got a tap on his shoulder during the game. It was Michael Parkinson, who asked `do you see this every weekend?' `Of course', was the reply. `God, you are so lucky,' said Parky.”
Chick Young: “They adored him, you know. The Celtic fans, obviously, but even supporters of Real Madrid, who feast on football wizardry, watched in awe as he hypnotised them at Alfredo Di Stefano's testimonial match in the Bernabeu nearly 40 years ago.”
Tommy Docherty: "On my first day as Scotland manager I had to call off practice after half an hour, because nobody could get the ball off wee Jimmy Johnstone."
Tommy Gemmell: "At his peak George Best was a better all-round player than Jimmy Johnstone, but for individual skill Jinky was streets ahead. Bestie was like the great Alfredo Di Stefano, similar in the way he could see things happening, but for pure ability there was no one like wee Jimmy, at his greatest he was unstoppable. I'm glad I only had to face him in training games. However, I count myself fortunate to have seen both in action when they were at the top. They were both incredible.”
Gordon Strachan: "I don't think many people will know I actually played with Jimmy at Dundee. It was the smallest right side of midfield the club ever had. People say he lived life to the full on and off the pitch - I lived life to the full with him just one day. We went out in Dundee and my liver is still recovering. It was only one day out but it felt like a week. Fact is my wife never spoke to me for a week afterwards but it was great fun. I'd never give that day back.”
Robert Duvall: "I put wee Jinky into a cab and said to the driver 'Be careful, he's second only to Jesus Christ here'. And the driver replied, 'No, he's in first place, Jesus is second'. He's the biggest character I've ever met, and I've met a few.”
‘Jinky' on ‘Jinky’
On winning the European Cup: “Picture it, who were we? We were nobody, just a bunch of guys. Here we were, in Lisbon, playing against the mighty Inter Milan. If you remember, they had won the European Cup and the World Championship twice.”
On how the Lisbon Lions celebrated: “We all got drunk, I think. For a week after it, we just got drunk.”
On watching Real Madrid at Hampden: "The match remained the biggest single influence on my career. It was like a fantasy staged in heaven. I had never seen football like it, nor would I ever again. I'll recite the names of that Madrid forward line till the day I die.”
On playing in Alfredo Di Stefano’s testimonial: “Without a shadow of a doubt that was my best game for Celtic. With a quarter of an hour to go, none of them would come near me.”
On Celtic: “I'm proud that I was part of the greatest club in the world. To be the first British team to win the European Cup, but more so to be part of the greatest Celtic team ever, that's something else, isn't it?”
On his role within the team: “I was always aware I was an entertainer. The crowd provided the expectation, the hair on the back of my neck would go up and I loved the applause. The pitch was my stage. The whistle meant it was showtime.”
On Celtic’s fans: "Without the fans, you are nothing and what I am most thankful of is that I got a chance to realise my talent at Celtic, because it is a special club, supported by special people.”