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Celtic legend Joe McBride dies aged 74

Former Scotland and Celtic striker Joe McBride, who had a phenomenal goalscoring record in the 1960s, has died at the age of 74 after suffering a suspected stroke at the weekend.

Celtic confirmed McBride's death in a statement on Thursday morning, with the Glasgow club paying tribute to "an absolute gentleman" who had given "tremendous service" at Parkhead as both a player and ambassador over a number of years.

He played for Celtic between June 1965 and November 1968, and had also represented Partick, Motherwell and Hibernian. Although injury ruled him out of the 1967 European Cup win over Inter Milan in Lisbon, he had already scored an astonishing 35 goals in 26 games that season.

Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, paid tribute to McBride, telling the club's official website: "Joe was a very fine man, an absolute gentleman and someone who gave tremendous service to the club over a number of years.

"It was a privilege to know Joe, and it was fantastic that someone who gave so much to Celtic was still involved with the club in a number of ways - he will truly be sadly missed by everyone at Celtic."

His former Hoops team-mate Tommy Gemmell told The Sun: "Joe was a great lad and we had some wonderful moments together.

"It was easy to see why the Celtic supporters took to him - he was one of their own. Our thoughts immediately go out to his family at this dreadful time."

McBride's coolness in front of goal made him one of the most prolific strikers in Celtic's history. His career had begun with Kilmarnock. Spells at Partick and Motherwell - where he was top scorer for three successive seasons - followed before Jock Stein brought him to Parkhead, where he won two league championships and two League Cups, finishing his Celtic career with a haul of 86 goals in 94 games.

The Motherwell chief executive, Leeann Dempster, said: "Although Joe will probably be remembered by most in the Scotland football world for his time with Celtic, Motherwell fans who had the pleasure of seeing him blossom will always hold him in high regard."

A statement on the Hibs website said: "Joe McBride's association with Hibernian was brief - totalling 91 appearances in just over two years - but he made a huge impact and scored a phenomenal 58 goals."

The current Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, said: "It was a pleasure to be in Joe's company and, on a personal level, he was someone who was always very supportive to myself.

"On behalf of the whole management and backroom team, and the players, we offer our sincere condolences to Joe's family."

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