Former Celtic player and one-time European Cup winner John Clark has hailed the importance of grassroots football, suggesting it's what helped the esteemed Lisbon Lions reach the heights they did.

In conversation with Celtic TV at the 2024 Lisbon Lions Trophy youth football tournament, the club legend – who's been employed there for more than forty years over eight decades, currently as kit controller – hailed the latest generation of fledgling homegrown stars.

Speaking at the club's Lennoxtown Training Centre, Clark said: "Football has to start at the grassroots level. In our time, we were fortunate that the headmasters or maybe one of the teachers would give up his time after school hours, and you've got to say they did well for us.

"You've got to admire the people that try to organise it and keep the thing going, and it's good for the school kids to come and play in a wee tournament like this.

"And, naturally, you feel proud that the Lisbon Lions name is still going about in an important way for football.

"Good luck to all the young kids that are playing – that's what it's about, [playing] at grassroots level and getting going from there."

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St Matthew's Academy in Saltcoats were crowned winners on the day, and their medals were handed out by none other than Clark himself.

Besides playing in the most successful Celtic team of all time, Clark became a coach with the club in 1973, working with the reserve team.

Clark later became Billy McNeill's assistant manager, first at Aberdeen and then again at Celtic between the years of 1978 and 1983, winning three league championships, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup in that time.

Behind Willie Maley, John Clark has served the longest for Celtic throughout the club's enduring history.