Billy McNeill passes away: Fellow Celtic legend Bertie Auld pays tribute to ‘born leader’ and ‘true captain’
Bertie Auld has paid tribute to a ‘born leader’ and ‘true captain’, following the sad death of fellow Celtic legend Billy McNeill.
The former defender passed away on Monday night, at the age of 79.
McNeill is regarded as Celtic’s greatest ever captain, leading the famous ‘Lisbon Lions’ team to European Cup glory in 1967.
‘Cesar’ played his entire career in a Hoops shirt, making 822 appearances across 18 seasons, winning nine league championships, seven Scottish Cups, six Scottish League Cups, and that famous European title – becoming the first British player to lift the trophy after Celtic’s 2-1 victory over Inter Milan in Portugal.
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McNeill hung up his boots in 1975 after a glittering career for the Glasgow giants, and later returned to his beloved club as manager, where he won five more trophies in five years.
His passing is a hugely sad day for Scottish football and all connected with Celtic, and fellow Lisbon Lion, Auld, joined talkSPORT to remember his former team-mate and old friend.
Speaking to Jim White on Tuesday, Auld said: “Billy was a born leader.
“I met him when he first turned 17, Jock Stein signed him for Celtic and I promise you, even at that time, he has that presence about him.
“He was 6ft 2in and I’m only 5ft 8in, so I had to look up to him!
“He was a true professional. The great thing about him was that he was always pleasant off the park, and yet on the park he would change immediately.
“He had everything in his locker: height, build, attitude.
“He was a captain. Jock made him captain as a very young man because he was a leader.
“He was somebody you could approach, he always gave everyone a lot of respect.
“Billy represented the players when it came to big Jock and Celtic Football Club. He was always fighting our corner. Not that we needed it, but he was there if we ever needed anything straightened out.
“That’s the kind of man he was. He was always there for you.”
Source: SportsLatest TS