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Celtic legend Billy McNeill funeral to be held

Billy McNeill statue Image copyright PA
Image caption Fans have paid their respects to McNeill at his statue outside Celtic Park

Thousands of people are set to line the streets of Glasgow for the funeral of Celtic and Scotland legend Billy McNeill.

A mass for the former Celtic player and manager will be held at St Aloysius’ Church in Glasgow city centre at 11:30.

The cortege will then make its way to Celtic Park, where fans will be gathered, before heading for a private family interment.

McNeill, who had lived with dementia since 2010, died aged 79 on 22 April.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption NcNeill lifted the European Cup as Celtic captain in 1967

Ahead of the funeral service, which will be broadcast live on a large screen outside Celtic Park, the McNeill family thanked everyone who had sent kind messages over the past week.

A statement said: “They have cheered us up tremendously at this difficult time.

“The love and affection shown towards our father is nothing short of amazing and is something we will never forget.

“Our father always made time for the fans and knew how important they are so we would like to send an open invite to help us pay our respects to him.”

The former Hoops captain enjoyed a glittering career at the Parkhead club, where he became the first Briton to lift the European Cup after a 2-1 win over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967.

He led Celtic to nine successive league titles and won seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups, before having two spells as manager.

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Media captionWatch: ‘Billy was the top man; he’ll never be forgotten’

The former Scotland defender, who won 29 caps for his country, also managed Clyde, Aberdeen, Manchester City and Aston Villa in the 1970s and 80s.

Tens of thousands of fans have already paid their respects to McNeill at his statue outside Celtic Park.

Football clubs around the country also staged a minute’s applause as a tribute before matches last weekend.

Celtic’s players will wear McNeill’s former number five on their shorts when they face Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park on Saturday 25 May.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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