JUST three weeks ago, John Clark travelled to Ireland in the company of good friends and former Celtic team-mates, Bertie Auld and Joe McBride, to attend a supporters' event.
On Sunday, the trio were together again, only this time in a Glasgow hospital, in circumstances which could not have been further from the trip across the Irish Sea.
By then, McBride was in a coma, the result of the serious stroke he had suffered last week on returning from a holiday in Turkey.
Lisbon Lion Clark, now in charge of the player's kit at Celtic, knew it was almost certainly the last time he would see the man he considered a brother. In anticipation of the worst, he made arrangements to return home on Monday from the club's pre-season tour of Germany and Holland, which is not scheduled to end for another week.
Late on Wednesday night, Clark received the news he expected, but dreaded, that McBride had passed away.
Clearly upset, he paid tribute to the man who had been a prolific goal- scorer for the Parkhead club, and was only denied the chance to be part of the European Cup winning team of 1967 as the result of a knee injury.
Clark said: "If you were looking for a friend, he was a guy you would pick.
"I was in on Sunday to see Joe in hospital. He's like a brother. I've known Joe for 47 years.
"We were told before we left he would be lucky to survive. He was in a coma and just lying there.
"Bertie said 'Go and take his hand and see if he will respond,' but he was not responding and his hands were cold.
"Bertie will take it harder than the rest of us the way he was with him. It's frightening at times, everyone gets older."
Clark allowed his mind to drift back to happier days and recalled: "Joe enjoyed himself in Ireland. He liked to mix with people. He was a good ambassador.
"A couple of weeks ago he was back in Ireland with Bertie, and he was up giving them a song. He was one of those guys, if you wanted him he was there."
In season 1966-67, fate intervened to rob McBride of his finest hour and a half, when his team-mates faced Inter Milan in the European Cup final in Lisbon.
Clark insisted: "He was part of it, even though he was not playing.
"Anyone who didn't play was disappointed because that was the ultimate. But Joe was never a person who moaned, or anything like that."
"He was serious, and loved to tell you about his goals and how he got them."