Undoubtedly the most complete footballer to come out of Scotland in recent, living memory. King Kenny has always been remembered fondly by the Celtic faithful despite his move to Anfield in 1977. Even the city of Glasgow recognised his wonderfully warm character; giving him Freedom of the City in 1986, placing him in the same ranks as anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela.
Kenny grew up a Rangers fan and as a teenager he lived in a multi-story block of flats overlooking Ibrox Stadium and Rangers training ground that sat parallel to the ground. He has later admitted that aside from Denis Law, all of his footballing heroes were Rangers players.
Two very special things happened in 1967:
1. Celtic became the first British team to lift the European Cup.
2. Jock Stein brought a fresh-faced Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish to Celtic Park.
For the next 10 years Kenny wore the famous green and white Hoops, as a member of 'The Quality Street Gang", with a distinction that kept Celtic's spark during the re-building phase of the 1970s.
The Quality Street Gang were a renowned Celtic reserve squad of the late sixties who followed on from that fantastic European Cup winning side. Dalglish made his first-team debut for Celtic in a Scottish League Cup quarter-final tie against Hamilton Academical on 25 September 1968, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 4–2 win. Side note: Celtic were up by 10 goals to nil against Accies from the 1st leg. Kenny truly burst onto the first-team scene in season 1971/72 and immediately made a name for himself by scoring in all three Old Firm wins within the first couple of weeks of the season. The history books show that the great Kenny Dalglish would later go on to win four First Division titles, four Scottish Cups and four League Cups from 1971 to 1977.
Dalglish boasted a strike rate of a goal every second game, but he was so much more than just a deadly striker. Kenny was a sight to behold. A football brain in motion; he possessed the vision, power, skill, heart and an instinctive feel for the game which allowed him to single handedly carve through defences from his attacking midfield role.
A testament to one of the greatest Celts of all time is the role he assumed as club captain following the departure of Lisbon Lion leader, Billy McNeil. Ceasar called his time at Celtic after a triumphant Scottish Cup win in 1975 were the Hoops beat Airdrie 3-1 at Hampden Park. In Kenny's first season as skipper Celtic didn't lift any prizes and sat 2nd in the First Division behind rivals Rangers, although we did reach the quarter-final of the European Cup Winners Cup*. But in season 1976/77 Kenny lead Celtic to the domestic double, lifting the League Title and Scottish Cup, and in may ways restored some of the pride that had been lost the previous season.
In his 10 years at the club Kenny played 324 matches and scored 167 goals. Kenny played for Scotland in the 1974, 1978 and 1982 World Cups amassing 102 caps and scoring 30 international goals. Glasgow's pride and joy was the first player to score a century of goals in both Scottish and English football.
A working-class boy, who grew up in the same sunny streets of Milton as I did, was transformed into a national treasure by simply playing football.
"Super Ke-enny ! Super Ke-enny ! Super Kenny Dalglish, Super Kenny Dalglish !!!" - to the tune of 1970s kid show Super Womble.
*Celtic were knocked out by Sachsenring Zwickau of Germany with a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.
These blog posts offers a collection of stories regarding Celtic's greatest ever players.