Argentine hero Juan Carlos Cardenas thanks family of Celtic legend Tommy Gemmell

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Argentine legend Juan Carlos Cardenas has thanked the family of late Celtic icon Tommy Gemmell after they helped return the treasured shirt he wore in one of the Hoops' most notorious games in their history.

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Cardenas - known as El Chango - netted the winning goal in the 1967 Intercontinental Cup play-off for Racing Club as they defeated the Eurioean champions 1-0 in a one-off game staged in Montevideo, Uruguay after two-legged, bad-tempered matches in Glasgow and Buenos Aires.

Tommy Gemmell with the European Cup trophy in 2006. Picture: SNS

Tommy Gemmell with the European Cup trophy in 2006. Picture: SNS

After the game, which was known as the Battle of Montevideo where an incredible six players were officially sent off, Cardenas swapped his shirt with Gemmell, who had earlier that year netted the opening Hoops goal in the European Cup Final, in the dressing room after the game.

That was the last Cardenas saw of the shirt for 52 years...until the intervention of the owner of the Legends Museum in Argentina, Marcelo Ordas, who owns the largest collection of football shirts in the world and has made it his mission to 'repatriate the most important relic of each club and country.'

Ordas travelled to Scotland to meet with Gemmell's family and managed to retrieve the famous jersey to return it to Cardenas.

Cardenas, 74, said: "I had such a deep emotion when I was reunited with this famous shirt after so many years.

"We were the first team in South America to become champions of the world and I scored the winning goal.

"Touching this shirt again is like transporting me to that moment of immense happiness when we beat Celtic after three incrediby hard games.

"Tommy Gemmell was a great player. He played with passion and soul in the three games we played.

"He was also a gentleman and like gentleman do, we swapped shirts after the game and he congratulated me on our triumph. He showed me deep respect and was happy for me.

"In my opinion, this is one of the most important football jerseys in South American football history and it is back where it belongs and I want to thank his family for passing it on."

Gemmell, who also scored in the 1970 European Cup Final, passed away two years ago aged 73 after a long illness.