Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill, the skipper of the ‘Lisbon Lions’ side that became the first British team to win the European Cup in 1967, has died aged 79, his family announced on the club’s website on Tuesday.
McNeill, who spent the whole of his playing career with the Glasgow giants, also went on to manage Celtic.
McNeill had suffered from dementia for a number of years and a statement issued by his children said: “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 from junior side Blantyre Victoria in 1957 and the defender went on to make a club record 822 appearances for the Hoops over 18 seasons.
He also won 29 caps for Scotland.
McNeill enjoyed two spells as Celtic manager and, in total, won 31 trophies during his lengthy association with the Parkhead club.
“While this is a very sad time for all the family and we know our privacy will be respected, our father always made time for the supporters so please tell his stories, sing his songs and help us celebrate his life,” the statement added.