Tuesday February 12 2013
Celtic star: 'Juve were dirty'

Ahead of tonight’s Champions League match, former Celtic star Frank McGarvey claims Juventus were the dirtiest side he ever faced and Claudio Gentile “knocked me unconscious.”

He was on the field when these teams first met in 1981, taking on the likes of Dino Zoff, Gaetano Scirea, Antonio Cabrini, Marco Tardelli and legendary hard man of Italian football Gentile.

“They did everything to upset us,” McGarvey told the Daily Record. “Pulling your jersey was the least of it.

“I was spat on, elbowed and their defenders were even pulling the hairs out of my legs. The worst, though, was when Gentile knocked me out. It happened during the first half in Italy when we were attacking and the referee and the linesman were following the play.

“He just came up behind me and punched me in the head. I was unconscious. Our physio brought me round with smelling salts – and they were disgusting.

“Back then being knocked out wasn’t enough to have you substituted so I played on while the rough treatment continued.

“I was always very good when it came to keeping my discipline as a player and I didn’t respond to any of the fouls or the spitting.

“However, once the final whistle went I lost my head and went in search of Gentile. I went up the tunnel shouting for him and I was determined to land one on him for what he did.

“It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever reacted like that but I was furious about what he’d done. I didn’t get to him but that was probably the best thing that ever happened to me because he was twice my size!”

Juventus lost 1-0 in Glasgow and qualified by winning the second leg 2-0 at the Stadio Comunale in Turin.

“I’ve never had a problem with hard tackling – in fact I think the modern game has gone too far in trying to get rid of it – but they weren’t exactly hard but fair,” continued McGarvey.

“Juventus were a team full of household names and half of them were World Cup winners but the referee in both games let them away with murder.

“Their defenders simply wouldn’t have a career nowadays. The stunts they pulled off the ball back then would now be caught by cameras and they’d be pulled up and banned for it.

“Unfortunately, 30 years ago it was open season on us. It was obvious that they were desperate to win and would stop at nothing when it came to putting you off your game.”

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