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RIP 'Cesar': First Briton to lift European Cup dies

Nicknamed “Cesar” by way of the golf equipment fanatics, McNeill captained the Celtic workforce that defeated Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon in 1967, the primary and most effective time a Scottish workforce has gained Ecu soccer’s maximum coveted membership prize.

He gave the impression 790 instances for the Glasgow membership, profitable 9 league titles, seven Scottish cups and 6 league cups. McNeill additionally had a a success managerial profession right through two spells as Celtic boss. He controlled Manchester Town, Aston Villa and Aberdeen as neatly, the place he was once changed by way of Alex Ferguson in 1978.

A commentary on Celtic’s site Tuesday learn: “The Celtic Circle of relatives is mourning the dying of Billy McNeill, the membership’s biggest ever captain and one of the most best males to have performed and controlled the Hoops.”

“Billy McNeill was once a Celtic participant, supervisor and ambassador. At the beginning, alternatively, he was once at all times a Celtic supporter and his love for the membership was once obtrusive all the way through his lifestyles.

“He was once a one-club guy as a participant and, for Billy, that membership needed to be Celtic. He spent 18 years on the membership, becoming a member of in 1957 and bowing out in 1975. He made his first-team debut on August 23, 1958 in a 2-Zero house win over Clyde within the League Cup, whilst his ultimate look got here on Might three, 1975 when he captained Celtic to a 2-1 victory over Airdrie within the Scottish Cup ultimate.”

Present Celtic supervisor Neil Lennon mentioned : “While you bring to mind Celtic and our unbelievable historical past, Billy McNeill is at all times one of the most first names that involves thoughts. He was once our best ever captain and certainly one of our best ever avid gamers, and together with his team-mates, accomplished ancient issues for Celtic within the 1960s and ’70s.”
The Billy McNeill Statue outside Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland.The Billy McNeill Statue outside Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland.

A statue of McNeill, palms aloft, retaining the Ecu Cup greets guests to Celtic Park. The Ecu Cup profitable workforce, all of whom have been born inside 30 miles of the membership’s stadium, was referred to as the “Lisbon Lions” and is certainly one of just a handful of Ecu groups to win 4 trophies in a single season.

In addition to the continental triumph, McNeill is idolized by way of Celtic fanatics for securing a dramatic league and cup double for the membership as supervisor in its 1988 centenary season.

Billy McNeill after securing the league and cup double in Celtic's 1988 centenary season.Billy McNeill after securing the league and cup double in Celtic's 1988 centenary season.

McNeill had reportedly been affected by unwell well being lately along with his circle of relatives revealing he had dementia in 2017.

A commentary from the McNeill circle of relatives on Tuesday stated the struggles of his latter years and mentioned that “he fought bravely to the tip, appearing the power and fortitude he at all times has executed all the way through his lifestyles.”

Simply closing week, McNeill was once awarded Athletic Bilbao’s “One Membership Guy” award for his dedication and loyalty to Celtic all the way through his taking part in profession.

Jim Craig, a former teammate of McNeill and fellow “Lisbon Lion,” tweeted: “Heartbroken over the passing of my nice good friend and captain Billy McNeill.”
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon called McNeill “an enormous of Scottish soccer.”
Former Manchester United supervisor, Alex Ferguson, who went up in opposition to McNeill as a participant and a trainer, described him as a “really excellent guy” who shall be “a loss to everybody who knew him. Farewell Cesar.”
Comic and Celtic fan, Frankie Boyle said: I talked to Billy McNeill in his pub a few instances, and it was once reasonably one thing to be within the presence of somebody who was once an overly peculiar, gentlemanly roughly personality, and concurrently a type of mythic determine. Relaxation in Peace.
Manchester Town, in the meantime, tweeted it was once “unhappy to be told of the passing of Billy McNeill who controlled the Membership between 1983-86.”

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