Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

Statue honours Celtic star Jinky

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Statue honours Celtic legend

A bronze statue in honour of Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone has been unveiled outside the football club's stadium in the east end of Glasgow.

Johnstone, known to fans as Jinky, died in March 2006 at the age of 61, after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Hundred of fans gathered outside the main stand to witness the official ceremony led by Johnstone's widow, Agnes, and Celtic chairman John Reid.

Dr Reid described the player as "a true Celtic legend".

Johnstone was a member of Celtic's Lisbon Lions side, which became the first British club to win the European Cup in 1967.

Lisbon Lions captain Billy McNeill and Johnstone family friend Willie Haughey joined Mr Reid in adding their tributes to the former outside right.

'Serious illness'

Dr Reid said: "Jim will be forever be remembered as one of the finest players ever to grace the Celtic jersey and one of greatest players ever produced by Scotland.

"He was a man who lived life to the full and as a player had spirit and determination as his trademarks.

"It was these same great qualities which he showed in adversity when he faced serious illness and he is an inspiration to us all.

"He is a true Celtic legend and it is most fitting that he takes his place at the gates of Celtic Park, where generations to come will be able to honour this wonderful man."

Mr McNeill said: "He was an exceptional player and had so many attributes.

jimmy johnstone
Jimmy Johnstone was part of the Celtic side which won the European Cup

"He was strong, quick. sharp, brave and so skilful.

"He was different class on and off the pitch and it is very fitting.

"He loved the club and loved wearing the jersey."

Mr Haughey joked that Johnstone, who lived a colourful life, might have had trouble with the current midweek alcohol ban and weekend city centre curfew that has been imposed on the Celtic squad by manager Gordon Strachan.

"It is ironic in a week that the club have imposed a curfew," the former Celtic director said.

"The club will need to look for names for people to come to the statue on a Friday night and make sure Jimmy is still here."

Agnes Johnstone added: "I am absolutely delighted with the sculpture which has been created and I think it is a most fitting tribute to Jimmy.

"We are sure Jimmy himself would love the statue which has been made in his memory and we would like to thank the club and everyone else involved."

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