I’ve been to two football matches in my life but On Our Way To Lisbon makes me part of many more. The play opens on a bare stage, apart from two chairs, two jackets, and an eerie green light. Two friends, waiting for a friend’s funeral arrive: Denny, played by Pat Abernethy, and Tony, played by Dave Marsden. Then the date of death is mentioned – 25 May – and the action starts.

For those who don’t know, 25 May is the anniversary date of Celtic winning the European Cup in 1967. On that day, eleven working class men, all part of the local community from around Parkhead in Glasgow, went on to defeat the mighty European champions Inter Milan. On Our Way To Lisbon celebrates those glory days, days which haven’t (and perhaps can never) be repeated.

Writer, Patrick Prior, has given the duo a two-man play with a cast of thousands: we have commentators with commentaries that surely are verbatim; footballers with slow motion re-enactment of tackles, shirt grabbing and goal scoring; and, as always, the devoted fans. The play is a tour-de-force with the intensity and joy of the action juxtaposed against the proximity of death. The two men’s lives are unfulfilled, one on his second divorce and the other unemployed with no hope of finding work. They claim that Celtic’s historic victory was the best day of their lives – better than their wedding day, better than the birth of their children.

Cultural references from the ’60s are woven through the play from The Open University to Freddie and The Dreams.  The audience, many Celtic supporters with badges, football strips and scarves, are rapt. Then, the hauntingly beautiful Irish folk song, The Fields of Athenry, begins, and the audience begins to hum along and quietly join in.

This is an evening of celebration – for football, Celtic, and the traditions that the fans hold dear. On Our Way To Lisbon has been playing for over 30 years and has a strong following not only of Celtic fans but of all who love the beautiful game.