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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 08:48 GMT
Celtic great Johnstone dies at 61
Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone
Johnstone was part of the Celtic side that won nine titles in a row
Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone has died at the age of 61 after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Johnstone was a member of Celtic's Lisbon Lions team, who became the first British side to win the European Cup when they beat Inter Milan in 1967.

Johnstone scored over 100 goals for Celtic, won 23 caps for Scotland and in 2002 was voted Celtic's greatest player by supporters of the club.

He was diagnosed with the motor neurone condition in November 2001.

His son James Johnstone, 35, said: "My dad passed away at 6am this morning. It hasn't even begun to sink in yet for the family."

Johnstone's family later released a statement on Celtic's website.

It said: "Although Jimmy was one of the finest footballers ever, he was also a great man off the field as a husband, father and grandfather.

"Despite serious illness, the courage, strength and appetite for life which Jimmy showed was an inspiration to everyone who met him.

"Jimmy will be sadly missed by so many people but the memories he gave us all will live on forever."

Born in Viewpark, Lanarkshire, Johnstone made his debut for Celtic in 1963.

His dazzling dribbles earned him the nickname Jinky and he became part of the team that won nine consecutive Scottish League titles between 1965 and 1974.

The highlight of his career came when Celtic came from a goal behind to defeat Inter Milan in the European Cup final.

His manager Jock Stein, who died of a heart attack in 1985, said Johnstone - with whom he had several run-ins - was "better than Stanley Matthews".

After leaving Parkhead, he played for San Jose Earthquakes, Sheffield United, Dundee, Shelbourne and Elgin City before retiring from football.

Johnstone became an active campaigner for stem cell research after he was diagnosed with the condition.

Motor neurone disease affects the nerve cells that send electrical signals from the brain, causing the muscles to waste away.

About 1,200 people are diagnosed in the UK each year and sufferers have a life expectancy of two to five years.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Obituary - Jimmy Johnstone


News conference: Celtic manager Gordon Strachan



SEE ALSO
Jimmy Johnstone's life in photos
13 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries
Jinky the genius
13 Mar 06 |  Celtic
Chick Young's column
13 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Jinky best-ever Celtic player
09 Sep 02 |  Celtic


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