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Tributes Paid As Celtic Legend Billy McNeill Dies Aged 79

Tributes Paid As Celtic Legend Billy McNeill Dies Aged 79
By PJ Browne

Billy McNeill has died at the age of 79.

In a statement from the McNeill family, issued via Celtic, it was said:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Billy McNeill. He passed away late last night (Monday, April 22) surrounded by his family and loved ones. He suffered from Dementia for a number of years and fought bravely to the end, showing the strength and fortitude he always has done throughout his life.

We would also like to note our love and appreciation to our mother, Liz, for the care, devotion and love she gave to our father throughout his illness. No one could have done any more.

Whilst this is a very sad time for all the family and we know our privacy will be respected, our father always made time for the supporters so please tell his stories, sing his songs and help us celebrate his life.

McNeill became the first British player to lift the European Cup when he captained Celtic in their 1967 victory over Inter Milan.

"Billy McNeill was our greatest ever captain and one of the finest players ever to wear the famous green and white Hoops," said Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

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"His record as a player is extraordinary. He made 790 competitive appearances for Celtic – more than any other player in our history – and during that time he won nine league titles, seven Scottish Cups, six League Cups and, of course, the European Cup triumph in 1967.

"That remains the greatest moment in our club’s long and illustrious history, and the image of Billy holding aloft the trophy in the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon is an iconic one which is now immortalised in the stunning statue at the front of The Celtic Way.

"He also managed the club in two separate periods, winning a total of four league titles, three Scottish Cups and the League Cup. Among his many successes from the dugout are memorable triumphs such as the 1979 title win, when 10 men won the league and, of course, the Centenary Double success in 1988."

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Tributes have been paid to the man Celtic fans called Cesar.

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