TOMMY GEMMELL might have been too nice a guy to kick Willie Henderson – see HERE – when the two came head to head during Celtic v Rangers matches but the same courtesy didn’t always extend to every opponent.
Close friend Alex Gordon in his eulogy today recalled one very famous instance when Tommy used that Big Shot to boot a West German up the backside! Here’s how the writer and journalist told the story.
“Tommy Gemmell will always be remembered as the guy who sent West German midfielder Helmut Haller into orbit when Scotland were playing in a World Cup qualifier in Hamburg in 1969,” Gordon told the gathering of Tommy’s family and friends.
“The Scots were losing 3-2 in a crucial game that would go a long way to determining their hopes of playing in Mexico the following year.
“With a minute to go, Tommy was charging through into his favourite position about 25 yards out and lining up a shot with his mighty right boot.
“Haller snaked out a foot and blatantly tripped Tommy.
“Tommy went down in a heap and was furious when the Swiss referee didn’t award the expected free-kick. His mood didn’t get any better when he saw Haller laughing.
“The red mist came down and Tommy chased after the West German and attempted to put him over the stand.
“Helmut Haller died in October 2012. I telephoned Tommy to get his reaction. Quick as a flash, he said: “I hope they’re not going to blame me.””
It should be noted that Tommy paid Heller a warm tribute when news broke that the West German had died back in 2012.
Gemmell said: “Although I wanted to kick Haller over the stand that night, I have to say he was a very good player and I am sad at his passing.”