Football

Billy McNeill ‘Surprised’ to be Given Statue Alongside Other Celtic Legends

Billy McNeill ‘Surprised’ to be Given Statue Alongside Other Celtic Legends

Billy McNeill has admitted that he was surprised to be honoured with a statue next to Brother Walfrid, Jock Stein and Jimmy Johnstone outside Celtic Park.

A statue of the 1967 European Cup-winning captain is to be unveiled outside Parkhead before the Hoops face Motherwell in the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.

It’s a deserved accolade for arguably Celtic’s greatest ever skipper and a former player who made a club record 790 appearances and also spent nine years as the manager over two different spells.

But McNeill has revealed it was a surprise to be told by the club that he would be honoured in the same way as the three other Celtic legends who currently have statues outside the ground.

Statues of Walfrid, Stein and Johnstone already sit outside the entrance of the stadium in tribute to their service to the club.

Speaking to celticfc.net, McNeill said: “I am sure Saturday will be a fantastic day for myself and my family, if somewhat emotional.

“I have said this before, but when Peter contacted me regarding the statue I was completely taken by surprise and to now think that I will be honoured alongside such great men as Brother Walfrid, Jock Stein and my pal Jinky, really does fill me with great pride.

“Celtic has been in my blood and a part of my life for so many years and to be recognised in this way by the club I love is truly humbling.

“Myself and my wife have already seen the statue and we think it is magnificent. I asked John the sculptor to make me as handsome as possible!

“I would like to thank everyone for the best wishes they have sent me in relation to Saturday. It is a day I am really looking forward to.”

Chief executive Peter Lawwell has confirmed that the statue will stand at the beginning of the Celtic Way – the path which leads visitors to the entrance of the stadium – and fans can see it from 1pm on Saturday.

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