Farewell Cesar – a wonderful footballer, inspirational captain, fine manager, perfect ambassador and proud Celtic supporter

WE say farewell today to one of the greatest – perhaps even the greatest ever Celt, Billy McNeill. It’s a sunny day and over 10,000 Celtic Supporters are expected to make their way to Celtic Park in a few hours where the Funeral Mass will be broadcast on The Celtic Way.

It’s just a few years since we gathered on The Celtic Way to pay our respects to another Lisbon Lion and Celtic Great, Tommy Gemmell.

Tommy got the first goal in Lisbon on 25 May 1967, to level the scores and it was Stevie Chalmers who scored the winner shortly afterwards and of course very shortly we’ll be back on The Celtic Way over the next week or so to say pay our respects to Stevie as he goes past Paradise for one last time.

But today it’s about Big Billy. A wonderful footballer, an inspirational captain, a fine manager, a perfect ambassador and his whole life a proud Celtic supporter.

The McNeill family’s message ahead of today’s Funeral was just as classy as the man himself.

“We would like to say thank you for all the kind messages we have received over the last week. 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.

“The displays and tributes played before last Saturday’s match reiterated what a special club Celtic is and how big a part of our father’s life it was. Then for our No.5 to score the winning goal was truly magical.

“We would also like to thank all the clubs who marked his passing with a minute’s applause. We really appreciate all the respect shown towards our father.

“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. His body will be taken into St Aloysius Church on Thursday evening at 6:30pm with the church staying open for a short while after the service.

“For those wishing to attend the funeral there will be limited spaces at the church so please arrive early.

“For those who are unable to attend the church, the service will also be broadcast live at Celtic Park, where the funeral cortège will also arrive approximately at 1:30pm.
Thereafter there will be a private burial.”

Please see the attached route which the funeral cortege will take from St Aloysius to Celtic Park.

Southbound on Rose Street
Left into Renfrew Street
Continue into Killermont Street
Right into North Hanover Street
Left into George Square (North Side Only)
1. George Square (North Side Only)
2. Continue into George Street
3. Continue into Duke Street
4. Right into Bellgrove Street
5. Left onto Gallowgate
6. Right into Holywell Street
7. Arrive at Celtic Park

Please note, family flowers only are requested at the funeral.
The McNeill family would also sincerely thank anyone in advance who wishes to make a donation to the charity Alzheimer Scotland – Action on Dementia.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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