Discussion in 'The Lisbon Lions' started by HoopswithPride, Feb 25, 2017.
Discuss Billy McNeill - Rest In Peace Cesar. in the The Lisbon Lions area at TalkCeltic.net.
Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner thinks the great players in the Lisbon Lions - Jimmy Johnstone, Bobby Lennox, Bobby Murdoch, et al - were overshadowed by Billy McNeill.
"He was the captain," he told BBC Scotland last week. "He was the guy who went up and lifted the cup on his own and probably no Celtic captain will ever do that again.
"I was there in 1978 when he came back to the club as manager - coming back into the club after Jock [Stein] had left.
"When you meet the guy for the first time, his chest out and his presence.
"He was hard on us. You had to be shaven in the morning. No jeans were allowed in there.
I remember telling the story of hanging up my jacket on peg before a game and he said 'hang it up properly. You know that little loop at the back, that's for hanging up your jacket'.
"That was Billy McNeill. If you went out, you had to have your socks up, jersey tucked in, all the little qualities that he learned from the likes of Jock Stein. Legend is not a big enough word to describe Billy McNeill."
"The church is packed to capacity and it’s standing room only outside. The audio of the service is being beamed out to the hundreds of Celtic fans outside the church. The mass which is being celebrated by Archbishop Tartaglia.
"He was reminiscing of the first time seeing Billy Score against Dunfermline at Hampden in the Scottish Cup Final in 1967 - the start of the Lions – the 11 men who went from Glasgow to Lisbon and came back with that famous trophy.
"The great and the good of Scottish football are here paying their respects. Former Celtic managers Martin O’Neill, Gordon Strachan and Brendan Rodgers who left the club recently to join Leicester City are here. Rangers are represented by John Greig and Walter Smith.
"The atmosphere is rather sombre. Everybody is sharing memories of Billy. He was a member of more than one family – the Celtic family as well as the unique group of men who went to Lisbon. Mass will conclude with eulogies and the cortege will go to Celtic park where hundreds of fans are watching on screens.
"A real legend has passed away."
Billy McNeill's son, Martyn, said his father was someone who tried to teach his family "right from wrong".
He said they were gathered not to mourn the passing of a legend but to celebrate a man who was so much more.
Iconic Scottish broadcaster and journalist Archie Macpherson, spoke to the congregation.
He said: "There are thousands waiting outside to see the cortege, believe me I will keep that in mind."
Macpherson went on: "He painted wonderful pictures for me of the Lisbon Lions and subsequent jobs he had.
"In 1967, in the merry month of May, he was merely a very talented captain of a very highly talented team that I interviewed from time to time.
"Of course, the images of Lisbon are still burning brightly.
"He had been playing for 90 minutes in a broiling humid atmosphere and then he couldn't through the crowd. He had to be taken round the back of the stadium in a police car.
"When I saw his head appearing, he looked slightly dishevelled, but he was always wearing I think a puzzled look, as if he hadn't really taken in what these local lads from Glasgow had achieved.
"it didn't seem real until he put his hands on the cup."
The Bishop's been oan the wine. It was the 1965 final that Billy scored against Dunfermline.
31 trophies for Celtic as player & manager.