Celtic legend John Hughes in Jock Stein blast

JOHN HUGHES has revealed that, even after 47 years, the pain of missing out on Celtic's European Cup win in Lisbon through injury still hurts.

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John Hughes launched his book...and a bitter blast at Jock Stein
John Hughes launched his book...and a bitter blast at Jock Stein

But, it's nothing compared to the rawness which becomes immediately clear when the former Celtic midfielder talks about Jock Stein.

In his autobiography, Hughes finally gives vent to his bitter feelings.

It was not just the fact Hughes believes Stein forced him out of the Parkhead door when the player was convinced his best years were still ahead of him.

It was the manner in which the manager ruled over the players.

In a hard-hitting attack on Stein's methods, Hughes explained: "We were on a post-season tour to America in 1966, and my first wife, Mary, was pregnant.

"I used to phone home every five or six days.

"Then I bumped into the sports reporter, Ken Gallacher, one morning and he said, 'Sorry to hear your news'.

"I didn't know what he was talking about, and he told me Mary had had a miscarriage four days earlier.

"Jock knew, but he hadn't told me. So make your own mind up about that."

Hughes continued: "I met Jock to confront him about it, and he didn't even blink.

"He said, 'Ach, what could you do about it anyway? You're here and she's there'

"I was stunned, and speechless.

"I waited for my head to clear before I said, 'You knew and didn't think it was right to me let me know? Didn't you think that was important?'

"He said, 'Oh sort it out when you get home'

"It was such a flippant, throwaway remark."

Hughes was also damning of Stein's handling of the 1970 European Cup final, which Celtic lost to Feyenoord, insisting the Big Man was complacent after beating Leeds in the semi-final.

The midfielder reckons he paid a big price for that, as he was soon sold to Crystal Palace.

He recalled: "I missed a chance in the game and feel that is one of the reasons why Stein got rid of me.

"Why else would he have done it? I was 28 and the sixth highest scorer in the club's history.

"Three months later I got a bad knee injury and never played again."

Football

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