Sir Alex Ferguson: Lisbon Lions triumph is 'the greatest feat in football'

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson says the achievement of the Lisbon Lions will never be repeated

Sir Alex Ferguson has described the Lisbon Lions' 1967 European Cup win as "the greatest feat in football".

Celtic's 2-1 win over Internazionale 50 years ago established the team as "pioneers of doing the impossible," Ferguson insisted.

"They set the pattern for a period, particularly when Manchester United the next year did it," the Scot said.

"From '65 to '67, if someone had written a book about it they would call it fiction. It was amazing."

Ferguson was speaking at an event at Glasgow's SSE Hydro to celebrate the achievement of Jock Stein's Celtic side on 25 May 1967.

The former Manchester United manager said the European Cup win paved the way for other British sides to follow.

"They were [pioneers] for British football, there's no doubt about that," Ferguson said.

"Sir Matt [Busby] at Manchester United was rebuilding the team after the Munich air disaster, but they got to a semi-final, which was a great achievement for a very young side.

"For Celtic to do it with 11 players from within 25 miles of each other is astonishing. This [event] will recognise the achievement, but [also] applaud the players and management staff who achieved it. It will never be done again."

Ferguson arrived in Glasgow after watching Manchester United's 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm to win the Europa League. He said the victory "gave the city a lift" after the bomb blast at the end of an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena last Monday night that killed 22 people and injured 116 more.

"Manchester is a city like Glasgow, it's working class, they've got fantastic people there and they'll get together," Ferguson added.

"They've been through some difficult times in the past, the bombing in the Arndale Centre in 1996, they recovered from that, and they will get together because they have the working class ethic about them and there's a great unity now in the city.

"We're all proud of the [United side], it was a great achievement."

Former Celtic captain Roy Aitken
Only three players have made more appearances for Celtic than former captain Roy Aitken

Former Celtic captain Roy Aitken also attended the event at the Hydro, and he talked of the Lisbon Lions setting the standards that others had to follow at the club.

"They've been the benchmark for all the teams since 1967," Aitken said.

"It's never going to be achieved again, it's iconic considering the group of players who were there at that time. Celtic demand success and these guys showed what it took to be winners, they were top quality and top guys. Everything that you need in a footballer, they had.

"When I came into the team at 16, 17, I was from Ardrossan, Bobby [Lennox] was from Saltcoats, he was my mentor throughout my early years. He showed what it took to be a Celtic player and gave me the guidelines and tools required.

"I owe a lot to him and it's great to be here tonight to celebrate with the fans and the team. They were the ones we all looked up to."

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