Tributes to Celtic legend Billy McNeill

The footballing world came together to mourn the death of former Celtic captain and manager Bill McNeill.

Glasgow, 15th April 1970 European Cup semi final 2nd leg at Hampden Leeds v Celtic European Cup semi final second leg. Glasgow Celtic against Leeds United at Hampden Park. 15th April 1970. Leading the lap of honour are Celtic's Murdoch, McNeil and Hughes

The first Briton to hoist the European Cup and one of the sport’s most celebrated captains, McNeill played a total of 822 games over 18 seasons, enjoyed two successful terms as Celtic’s manager and won 31 trophies during his long association with the club.

His death at the age of 79 followed a long battle with dementia.

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A family statement read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Billy McNeill. He passed away late last night surrounded by his family and loved ones.”

30th May 1967: Billy McNeill of Celtic receives the European Cup trophy from the President of Portugal after the Scottish side's 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in Lisbon in the European Cup final. Tommy Gemmell and Stevie Chalmers scored for Celtic which ensured a surprise 2-1 victory for the Scottish team. Celtic became the first British side to win the trophy and remain the only Scottish side to reach the final. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Dubbed ‘Cesar’ by the Celtic faithful, McNeill was the captain of the legendary Lisbon Lions side that became the first British team to win the European Cup in 1967.

He retired from playing in 1975 after winning his final trophy, the Scottish Cup, and retained a strong association with the club throughout the rest of his life, becoming an ambassador in 2009.

Six years later a statue of McNeill holding aloft the European Cup was erected outside Celtic Park.

Current Celtic manager Neil Lennon said: “When you think of Celtic and our incredible history, Billy McNeill is always one of the first names that comes to mind.”

File photo dated 01-08-2015 of Former Celtic player and manager Billy McNeill. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 23, 2019. Celtic have announced the death of former captain Billy McNeill at the age of 79. See PA story SOCCER Celtic.Photo credit should read Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, said Mr Mcneill was “a giant in Scottish football”.

“He was also a truly good man and will be a loss to everyone who knew him. Farewell Cesar.”