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Fans and leading football figures pay respects to the late McNeill

By Gavin McCafferty

Thousands turned out in Glasgow along with major figures of Scottish football to pay their last respects to Billy McNeill.

Crowds lined the streets for Celtic's European Cup-winning captain as the funeral cortege made its way from a city-centre church, past George Square to Celtic Park.

Supporters had gathered to say a final farewell to a man who won 31 trophies as a player and manager of Celtic.

There were songs and tears at Parkhead as fans paid tribute during a particularly sad time for the club. McNeill's death last week was soon followed by that of fellow Lisbon Lion Stevie Chalmers, the man who netted the winning goal in the final against Inter Milan in 1967. Both had been suffering from dementia.

The Archbishop of Glasgow paid a heartfelt eulogy to one of his personal heroes and McNeill's son, Martyn, and broadcaster Archie MacPherson also delivered tributes at St Aloysius Church.

The surviving Lisbon Lions - Bertie Auld, Jim Craig, Bobby Lennox, John Clark and Australia-based Willie Wallace - were among mourners along with other team-mates such as Sir Kenny Dalglish and former Celtic managers Martin O'Neill, Gordon Strachan and Brendan Rodgers.

Former Rangers players John Greig and Sir Alex Ferguson were there, while current Celtic boss Neil Lennon and his first-team squad arrived at the church.

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia offered sympathies to McNeill's wife, Liz, and their five children and eight grandchildren.

He said: "As a 16-year-old, I watched with joy as Billy and his Lions lifted the European Cup. Everyone remembers Billy holding up the European Cup."

Belfast Telegraph


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