Former Manchester United and Everton manager Davie Moyes has thrown his weight behind a charity match between Dunfermline Athletic and Celtic legends to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of iconic manager Jock Stein.
Stein began his incredible dugout career at Dunfermline in 1960, successfully steering the Pars away from relegation and to their first Scottish Cup triumph the following year, and cemented his place in Scottish football folklore by subsequently guiding Celtic in 1967 to become the first British team to win the European Cup.
It is great that Moyes is coming back to manage Dunfermline LegendsJim Leishman
Both clubs have come together to arrange a game between former players on 6 September, as well as a dinner on the same date, with the net proceeds from the events being split equally between their charities, the Pars Foundation and the Celtic FC Foundation.
Jackie McNamara, Tosh McKinlay and Simon Donnelly will line up for Celtic, while Andrius Skerla, Marco Ruitenbeek and Scott Thomson are confirmed on the Fifers’ side, for whom it is hoped Craig Brewster and Stevie Crawford will also take part.
Match ambassador Jim Leishman has revealed organisers have secured a real coup, with Moyes – who played for both teams and is now manager of Real Sociedad – having accepted an invitation to speak at the dinner and to be boss of the Dunfermline side.
Leishman said: “Davie Moyes has managed at the highest level and in European games. How many guys get the opportunity to manage Manchester United? He has had a great career in management.
“It is great that Moyes is coming back to manage the Dunfermline Legends team against the Celtic Legends team to commemorate Jock Stein. That just shows the esteem and the high regard that Stein is held in.
“We are delighted that he is coming to manage the Dunfermline team and he will get a great reception from both sets of supporters. Davie is a Scottish guy who has reached the top of his profession and is still there.
“Mr Stein had a passion for Dunfermline as well as Celtic. It is great that the clubs are marking the 30th anniversary of Stein’s death.”
What began as a boardroom discussion at Dunfermline over ways to mark Stein’s tragic passing in 1985, in the wake of Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Wales at Ninian Park, progressed via discussions with Celtic to yesterday’s announcement in East End Park’s Jock Stein Lounge.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell commented: “Jock Stein will always be regarded as one of the greatest figures in Celtic’s illustrious history, indeed one of the great football managers of all time. He is someone who served Celtic and Scotland with distinction.
“It is difficult to believe it is 30 years since his passing in such tragic circumstances but it is right that we commemorate this anniversary and mark Jock Stein’s contribution to football.”
With George Stein, Jock’s son, watching on and providing the family’s backing to the events, Leishman paid a glowing tribute to the legendary manager, who also had a spell in charge of Hibernian, and it is hoped members of the Tartan Army will also want to help commemorate his life by attending September’s match.
Having grown up watching the Dunfermline team rebuilt by Stein in their halcyon days of the 1960s, he has revealed it was in a call after he was himself appointed Pars manager in 1983 – the youngest in the club’s history – that Leishman had his first real contact with one of Scottish football’s most revered figures.
He added: “He telephoned me to say congratulations to me when I got the Dunfermline job as a 29 year old back in 1983. He told me that Dunfermline were a great club and advised me to work as hard as I could. It meant everything to me that a man of the calibre of Mr Stein would phone me to wish me all the best.
“Mr Stein had a passion for Dunfermline as well as Celtic. The Pars started Mr Stein off in his managerial career. That Scottish cup triumph was so special for everybody at this club and it was Mr Stein who guided us to that success before, of course, going on to become a legendary managerial figure with Celtic.”