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Lions given invitation to return to Lisbon

Celtic have extended an invitation to their 1967 European Cup-winning team, including representatives of the coaching team and backroom staff, to attend the Champions League final in Lisbon on May 24. It is the first time the fixture has been held in the city since the Glasgow side lifted the trophy following a win over Internazionale 47 years ago.

The occasion has afforded Celtic the opportunity to celebrate that famous victory, with their invitation comprising this year's final and a visit to Estadio Nacional, the scene of the '67 showpiece. The players and staff from that match will also be guests at a dinner at the famous Palacio Hotel in Estoril, where they stayed on their last trip together to Lisbon.

Members of the Lisbon Lions team will also be asked to present a charitable donation to the city in gratitude for hosting the club and its supporters. "We felt it would be a fitting honour to invite the Lions to Lisbon for such an occasion, the first time the final has been held in the city since Celtic lifted the European Cup in 1967," said Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive.

"The success of that team is something we should never forget and cannot be underestimated. It is also an achievement which our supporters will always be proud of and something we should always celebrate.

"These are great men who achieved great things for our club and we felt it would be a real and meaningful tribute to make this invitation to the Lions, the families of those players who sadly are no longer with us and, of course, the families of the great Jock Stein and Sean Fallon."

The invitation was last night welcomed by Billy McNeill, the captain of the Lisbon Lions and now ambassador for the Parkhead club. "This is a magnificent gesture and one which is greatly appreciated by all the boys and the families of everyone connected to the team," he said. "It will be a fantastic opportunity for us all to relive what we achieved on that great day. We will remember and celebrate this moment together as team-mates and families."

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