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Bertie Auld Didn’t Belong To One Era Of Celtic Fans. He Belonged To Us All.

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Tonight, as I write this, I am aware that I’m a member of a select group amongst our support, perhaps even in a minority. I suspect that I am. Too young to watch Bertie Auld play, I was also one of the fans who never actually got to meet the man in person.

So many, many, many of our supporters did. Bertie gave all of himself, in the most literal sense, to our football club.

After Billy McNeill died the status of Greatest Living Celt passed easily to his shoulders and he bore that burden – and it must have been a burden at times – incredibly well.

He loved the Celtic fans. He would taunt those players who never got to play in front of them; he knew that it was special.

And we knew that he was special.

I grew up hearing about Bertie’s generosity towards our fan base.

He gave so much of his time and his affections to the ordinary supporters.

He epitomised what it was to be a Celtic legend. He had a story for every occasion; I know that because of the number of people I know who did have the pleasure of enjoying his company.

As a player and as a man, Bertie belonged to a long ago generation for folks my age and younger.

We never had the privilege of watching him during his career.

We know of Bertie’s legend from elsewhere, and it is a curious and awesome legend, the sort that maybe we’ll never see again.

The modern player is aloof and distant, too rich and too sealed in a bubble to truly be one of the fans … Bertie comes from a generation, perhaps the last generation, where that was not the case.

I get the impression that huge wealth wouldn’t have changed him any.

Bertie was one of those individuals who transcended the eras.

Even those of us who never watched him know what a player he was.

Even those of us who never met him knew what a man he was.

We all know the stories, we’ve all laughed with him on the radio or on TV, we’ve watched a million clips where he seduced interviewers, panellists and pundits alike with his quick wit and that cheeky twinkle in his eye.

We did not know him, but we knew him inside out.

Above all else, we knew that he wasn’t just like us, he was us.

That’s why this loss belongs to all, because Bertie Auld belonged to us all.

Tonight he is reunited with his departed brothers in the greatest ever Celtic side.

He leaves the world a lesser place for being gone.

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15 comments

  • Solas sa Saoirse says:

    You’re spot on James. Guys like him DO leave the world a lesser place when they go!

  • paul McCann says:

    rest in peace bertie god bless

  • Matt15 says:

    I was lucky enough to meet him before the leauge cup final against dundee united when deila was manager, he was happy to take a picture with me and my dad and was singing a celtic song while doing so. Genuinely great guy. RIP

  • Dora says:

    Lovely words James..
    An absolute treasure was Bertie…rest in peace Bertie and TY for all the memories!!

  • Nick66 says:

    Well said James.
    A fitting eulogy to a Celtic Great.
    RIP Bertie, you were one of the great Celts.

    • Gordon ashley says:

      Watching a full rerun of the 90 minutes in lisbon for the first time a couple of years ago, he was my man of the match that day, covered every inch of the park and drove the team on to victory.. rip bertie.. true legend.

  • ?Green Machine? says:

    Bertie ?YNWA?

  • REBELLIOUS says:

    Hear hear James, especially the bit about Bertie and money.
    He was approachable and funny, a natural comedian, he will be sadly missed, my thoughts are with his family and close friends.

    RIP BERTIE AULD HH & YNWA?

  • Andy Kiani says:

    My Grampa used to take me to Firhill when they were at home and Celtic were away because Bertie Auld was the manager, I adored him as a Celtic legend and a Thistle manager. We won’t see many more like Bertie Auld, one of the last of a generation… and our lives will be poorer for it. Rest in peace Bertie .. forever in our hearts ?

  • Seán McManus says:

    A fitting eulogy James,
    Rest in peace Bertie.
    May perpetual light shine upon you.
    HH YNWA

  • SSMPM says:

    Many people get called legends but Bertie’s performances as a player and club representative were over and above even those words. He wore Celtic on his sleeve and is a shining example to us all and ex players could learn a lot from that man.
    Quality player, quality man. God bless you sir. HH

  • Mark B says:

    Celtic Legend. Warm funny and a wonderful player and true Celt. We all loved him. Saw him play and he was vastly under rated. What a loss it was a pleasure to know him. Thoughts to his family.

  • Les Bagan says:

    Lovely post James it is nice to be able to put in writing what all the fans must be feeling, especially the old guys like me who watched Bertie in the flesh, RIP Bertie

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Was lucky to have seen Bertie’s Celtic career from his first game to his last . What a character, what a player. In his 1st game at Ibrox I think it was a Glasgow Charity cup game, it was the era where a shoulder charge on the goalkeeper was allowed. When the team was announced very few fans had heard of the young left winger called Auld as he had been on loan to Dumbarton previous to this game. Five minutes in George Niven the veteran Rangers keeper picked up a harmless through ball and suddenly this young winger called Auld took a thirty yard run and shoulder charged him, considering Niven was probably 4 stone heavier than Bertie it seemed a mismatch after staggering back a few feet you could lip read Niven saying “What The Hell”. Us Celtic Fans just thought “That boy will do for us”. Thanks for the memories Bertie, you’re a Legend RIP.

  • Jim says:

    Bertie was a fabulous player. Bobby Murdoch and Bertie gave the Celtic of those days an engine room that was a match for anybody.

    And what a character. If it was ever a burden to be such an idol of the fans, nobody was better at not showing it. In fact, he seemed totally comfortable in the limelight and was a born storyteller and comedian. Most of all he loved the club and it’s fans. He was one of us.

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