A COPY of Playing for Celtic issue number five evokes memories of the 50th anniversary of what I consider to be Kenny Dalglish’s finest season in the Hoops.

The cover of the book shows Kenny and Dixie Deans at Easter Road in the game that would see Celtic secure their eighth league title in the inaugural nine-in-a-row sequence. It was probably about this time that I began to form a slightly more sophisticated appreciation of football and the mystic appeal of the club for the adults in my family.

The Playing for Celtic series ended at issue 21 in season 1988-89. None of my Christmases were worthy of the name without a Playing for Celtic annual as the process of my indoctrination intensified. Each of these little gems was penned by a rather suave Scottish Football writer called Rodger Baillie, who always reminded me of the great Hollywood actor James Mason.

This was at a time when Scottish football writers possessed real knowledge of the game and had a dash of style and elan in their words and appearance. Baillie once devoted an entire chapter in Playing for Celtic issue number two about the drama of the coin toss with which Celtic defeated Benfica in the 1970 European Cup quarter-final. Tabloid writers are often unfairly dismissed as rather limited in their range and expression, owing to the constraints of their oeuvre. But that chapter by Baillie was an outstanding piece of football penmanship which still stirs the senses on the 278th reading of it.

I saw most of Celtic’s home games that 1972-73 season and a few ‘aways’ at the west of Scotland and Ayrshire grounds and so Kenny became my first Celtic hero. There’s a rather wonderful film compendium of several of his goals from this era bouncing around social media. They show his true artistry. There was something very aesthetically-pleasing in the body shapes he threw in the course of shooting from the edge of the penalty area (his favourite killing zone) or whenever he played a cross-field pass. It was just so stylish and pure and my friends and I tried to copy it.

But whenever we contrived to capture something of it – the way his arms stretched out from his body or upwards for balance as though he was a conductor about to execute a downward swoosh of his baton –precious seconds were lost and the ball had gone and we had fallen over. In fact, there’s a picture of him in just this pose on the cover of Playing for Celtic issue six taken during the 1974 Scottish Cup final win against Dundee United.

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Only a few other players have that elegant bearing of poise and balance that makes them look like footballers and whose silhouettes are immediately recognisable. Jack Grealish has got it and so did Dimitar Berbatov at Spurs and Manchester United. It was a languid, sinewy shape that didn’t have to rely on speed or physical strength. Johan Cruyff was probably the greatest of them.

Kenny was a magnificent footballer for Celtic whose performances are often unfairly compared to those in a Liverpool shirt. I still remember the thrill of listening to the commentary of his goals in a remarkable few weeks during season 1971-72 when Celtic defeated Rangers three times in succession at Ibrox. We had to play both of our old League Cup group fixtures at Ibrox owing to the fact of Celtic Park’s re-development.

Kenny scored in each of our 2-0 and 3-0 League Cup wins, including the coolest penalty you’ll ever see by a Celtic player against Rangers (not that there’s been many of them). When we beat them again in the league a month or so later that record of three successive Ibrox wins wouldn’t be equalled until the Brendan Rodgers era.

Those two League Cup victories announced the arrival of Kenny as a superstar and the first player whom many of my generation with whom we could identify. He also gave us a good chunk of his professional career which could have ended with a European Cup winners’ medal if the thugs of Atletico Madrid hadn’t intervened in the 1974 semi-final. He arrived at Anfield as something special was beginning to unfold at Liverpool.

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when he left us on August 4 1977. We kind of knew something was afoot as he hadn’t departed with Celtic for a tournament in Australia, but we also kind of hoped he was just being given a much-needed break.

Me and my pal John were coming back from a trip up the Campsies when the news was announced on Radio Clyde. It was the first time I wept as a football fan. Later, when I found out what Celtic had accepted for him - £440,000 – the tears turned to anger.

Kenny belongs to a little group of Glasgow-area born-and-bred players who have given me some of my finest moments supporting this team; the others being Charlie Nicholas, Danny McGrain, Callum McGregor and Paul McStay.

And I acknowledge that, as anniversaries go, the 1972-73 season may not be one of the most illustrious in Celtic’s history (although check out Kenny’s finish in the Scottish Cup final 3-2 defeat to Rangers). But this was the year when I reached full Celtic consciousness and I found myself living in Kenny Dalglish’s world.