CELTIC today launched the Lisbon Lions Trophy to honour the 50th anniversary of their historic 1967 European Cup triumph.

The Parkhead club have set up an under-14 schools football tournament in conjunction with the Glasgow Schools' Football Association and Hyndland Secondary School.

The competition will get underway at Toryglen Football Centre on Thursday, May 25 - the 50th anniversary of Celtic’s greatest triumph. The semi-finals and final will be held at Celtic’s training ground at Lennoxtown in early June.

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It will bring together 16 schools and over 200 pupils from across the west of Scotland. The schools attended by Lisbon Lions will be represented along with the best performing schools from this year’s GSFA league and cup competitions.

The tournament came about after pupils at Hyndland Secondary School knocked on their teacher’s classroom door to ask if he could arrange extra football matches for the summer term.

Mr Downie, a science teacher who runs the school’s football teams, contacted Celtic about the possibility of bringing together pupils from across the city to mark the 50th anniversary of the 2-1 win over Inter Milan.

Days later, a stunned Mr Downie received an email inviting him to Celtic Park to discuss organising the tournament.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell told the Parkhead club's official website: “We were delighted to embrace this proposal from Paul Downie and the Glasgow Schools’ Football Association.

“It is one which, in such a special year for the club will provide another very fitting tribute to the Lions.

“These great players, all from in and around Glasgow, reached the very pinnacle of their profession and they lifted the greatest prize of all.

"But they started somewhere and in their early years started playing their football at school. They are the example to so many aspiring young players”.

He added: "Everyone at Celtic is delighted to support this great initiative and we are sure it is one which will bring huge benefits to the schools and players involved.

“We are sure the young players will be motivated by the fantastic achievements of the Lions as they take part in this special tournament and we hope all involved enjoy this great experience.”

Mr Downie told the Celtic website: “The word legacy is used a lot when it comes to discussing the Lisbon Lions, but the real legacy is that their victory was achievable.

“I hope that by playing in this special tournament commemorating this enormous achievement, that our young players today believe that anything is achievable with the proper commitment and hard work.

“It’s not really about what they achieve at the tournament, but it’s about what they will achieve tomorrow- what will their Lisbon be?”

Glasgow Schools’ Football Association, who oversee schools football in Glasgow, welcomed the opportunity to help mark the greatest triumph of a Scottish team in Europe.

GFSA president George Mackie www.celticfc.net: "The Glasgow Schools’ Football association are delighted to be involved in the commemoration of Celtic achievement of being the first British club to win the European Cup in 1967.

“The GSFA was founded in 1904 and as such has had thousands of school pupils participate in organised football since then.

"Many will not realise that not only did past and present professional players take part in these competitions but many represented Glasgow and Scotland at the highest schoolboy, club and international level.

“Needless to say many of the Lisbon Lions were among these pupils. Ronnie Simpson at Kings Park Secondary, Stevie Chalmers at St Roch's Secondary, Jim Craig at St Gerard's Secondary, Bertie Auld at Eastpark Secondary and Willie Wallace from Kirkintilloch High School.

“Others from Lanarkshire and Ayrshire schools made up the 'Greatest Team' that Scotland has produced and GSFA is proud to honour that memory."

The participating schools are:

John Paul Academy, Holyrood Secondary School, St Peter the Apostle High School, Jordanhill Secondary School, Bearsden Academy, Lourdes Secondary School, Hyndland Secondary School, St Andrews Secondary School, St Matthews Academy, Saltcoats, Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell, Kirkintilloch High School, St Ninian’s High School Kirkintilloch, St Mungo’s High School, St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Kings Park Secondary School, St Roch’s High School.