Legendary former Celtic captain and manager dies aged 79

Billy death: Legendary former Celtic captain and manager dies aged 79
captained the famous Lisbon Lions when they defeated Inter Milan to win the 1967 European Cup and led them to nine successive titles as well as seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups

played his entire career at Celtic as well as managing the club in two spells
McNeill played his entire career at Celtic as well as managing the club in two spells ( Getty Images )
Former Celtic captain and manager Billy McNeill has passed away aged 79, the club have confirmed.

McNeill played his entire career for the club and captained the famous Lisbon Lions when they defeated Inter Milan to win the 1967 European Cup as well as leading them to nine successive titles and seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups.

He also managed the club in two spells winning the league title on four occasions and picking up four cups.

McNeill also managed and .

A statement from his children on the Celtic website read: “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.”

McNeill joined Celtic in 1957 from junior side Blantyre Victoria and holds the club record for most appearances with 822 over 18 seasons. The defender also won 29 caps for Scotland.

He was the captain of Jock Stein’s all-conquering Celtic side of the late 1960s and early 70s​ before retiring in 1975 after winning his final trophy, the Scottish Cup.

He 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.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell paid tribute on the club website, saying: “This is the saddest of days for the Celtic family, and also for the wider football world.

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“We mourn Billy McNeill’s passing and we send our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends, while we also give thanks for Billy’s life and the incredible joy he brought to so many people as a Celtic player, a Celtic manager and a great Celtic man.”

He had two spells as Celtic manager spanning nearly 10 years in total and won 31 trophies across his long association with the club.

Former Celtic striker Frank McGarvey, who McNeill signed from Liverpool in 1980, said: “It is a very very sad day.

Billy McNeill death: Legendary former Celtic captain and manager dies aged 79
McNeill captained the famous Lisbon Lions when they defeated Inter Milan to win the 1967 European Cup and led them to nine successive titles as well as seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups

McNeill played his entire career at Celtic as well as managing the club in two spells
McNeill played his entire career at Celtic as well as managing the club in two spells
Former Celtic captain and manager Billy McNeill has passed away aged 79, the club have confirmed.

McNeill played his entire career for the club and captained the famous Lisbon Lions when they defeated Inter Milan to win the 1967 European Cup as well as leading them to nine successive titles and seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups.

He also managed the club in two spells winning the league title on four occasions and picking up four cups.

McNeill also managed and .

A statement from his children on the Celtic website read: “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.

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