The Celtic family mourned for Billy McNeill last week, and this week begins with the further tragedy as we learn that Stevie Chalmers - scorer of the winning goal in our European Cup win in 1967 - has passed away.
Thomas Stephen "Stevie" Chalmers - a native of the Garngad area in Glasgow's East End (also home to Celtic legend Jimmy McGrory) was born on December 26th 1935, and attended the local RC school St. Roch's.
He began his footballing career with Junior's side Ashfield, and also represented Scotland at Junior's level in the same time.
In Stevie's early years - like so many in Glasgow's over-populated areas at the time, he unfortunately developed the killer Tuberculosis Meningitis - and was given only 3 weeks left to live by doctors. But, as so many of us will have watched in last week's Lisbon Lions documentary, it was only at the intervention of a Rangers-daft doctor that Stevie was more or less saved from death by his treatment.
Stevie would go on to make a full recovery, and then in 1959 at the age of 23, He made the move to Celtic soon after in a career that would take him to the highest level, and would cement himself as a Celtic legend with one magic kick of a ball...
Alongside Jimmy Johnstone, Billy McNeill, John Hughes and Tommy Gemmell - Stevie would become one of the famed young crop of Celtic youth players, affectionately knows as "Kelly's Kids". Stevie's natural talent was often spoke about as a quick runner with endless energy and a terrific work rate, along with his obvious talent for goal scoring, although at times he was known to be "naive" in his approach.
It wasn't until the arrival of Big Jock in 1965 that Chalmers would begin to fulfill his potential. Stein would deploy Chalmers as a pressing forward who's unselfish running and tireless effort used his intelligence to draw defenders at all times to allow space for his team mates. Not only was he capable of creating chances, but he was also more than adept at taking chances. A fine natural goalscorer with great anticipation, Chalmers was a menace in the box as time after time he left opposition goalkeepers with their faces in the mud, unsuccessfully attempting to stop him from scoring goals - to no avail.
In 1966 at a packed Celtic Park, Chalmers was absolutely lethal in a 5-1 drubbing of life-long rivals Rangers, as he netted a second half hat trick as the Bhoys in Green gubbed the Ghouls from Govan.
Chalmers was revered by the Celtic faithful after that game, but it was a year later that Stevie would cement his place in Celtic folklore....
As Celtic played Inter Milan on the 25th May 1967 in the European Cup final in Lisbon, Celtic were 0-1 down despite terrorising the Italian side. Late in the second half, Tommy Gemmell had scored a thunderous equalizer to bring it back level. And, as you will all know, with only 5 mins left of normal time, the man who had years earlier been told he only had a matter of weeks left to live had used his uncanny knack of finding space in the penalty box to the most majestic of measures, as Stevie managed to get on the end of a ball in the area and stuck the ball in the back of the net! The Bhoy from the Garngad had sealed the win, he had sealed the goal that won us the European Cup!
Chalmers, like the rest of the Lisbon Lions that day, became Legends.
Stevie continued on with his goalscoring exploits and wonderful team work the following year in 1969 in a season that saw him peak with hitting a wonderful solo goal against the Aul' Enemy Rangers in the 4-0 Scottish Cup final win, but unfortunately Stevie would suffer an agonizing leg break in the Scottish League Cup final against St. Johnstone that more or less ended his Celtic career.
Having amassed an incredible 228 goals in 405 games for Celtic (a feat that leaves him 4th highest goalscorer in Celtic history) and with a European Cup, 4 League titles, 3 Scottish Cups and 4 League Cups to his name, Stevie left Parkhead to become player/coach at Greenock Morton in 1971.
After a successful stint with the Cappielow side, Chalmers then moved to Partick Thistle in 1972 where he played until 1975 before retiring from football.
Stevie made a brief comeback to turn out for the famous St. Roch's Junior team where he had grown up before finally hanging up his boots for good.
Stevie would return to his beloved Celtic as Celtic youth coach for a period, but after his retirement from playing, he took up his most successful role as a family man, raising his children (and then later his cherished grandchildren) with beloved wife Sadie.
Stevie was inducted into the Scottish Hall of Fame in 2016 - an achievement I'm sure he would have been delighted with, regardless of the fact that like so many of the successful Lisbon Lions team overlooked repeatedly for the Scottish National side - Chalmers only receiving 5 caps, scoring 3 goals (his most famous being the first minute goal against Brazil in 1966).
Still though, the man described by many as being a true "gentleman" lived his life the way he wanted to, and devoted this time to his wife, children and grandchildren., making many happy memories.
In 2017, it was reported that - like his fellow Lion "Cesar" - that Stevie had developed Dementia.
Two years later, and within less than a week of each other, both Legends have now passed away after lengthy spells of ill-health.
We now grieve for both men and for their families.
To Stevie's wife Sadie, Sadie; their children, Stephen, Carol, Paul, Ann, Martin, Clare, grandchildren and great grandchildren, you have our deepest sympathies.
And to the "Man with the Winning Touch" - like so many like you have given us the greatest of memories as Celtic fans, may you rest in peace, and You'll Never Walk Alone
Hail Hail Mr. Chalmers