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Billy McNeill
Mcneill.jpg
McNeill as Celtic manager, September 1982
Personal information
Full name William McNeill
Date of birth (1940-03-02)2 March 1940
Place of birth Bellshill, Scotland
Date of death 22 April 2019(2019-04-22) (aged 79)
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 1+12 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
0000–1957 Blantyre Victoria
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1957–1975 Celtic 486 (22)
National team
1961–1972 Scotland 29 (3)
1961–1967 Scottish League XI 9 (0)
Teams managed
1977 Clyde
1977–1978 Aberdeen
1978–1983 Celtic
1983–1986 Manchester City
1986–1987 Aston Villa
1987–1991 Celtic
1998 Hibernian (caretaker)
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Billy McNeil statue at Celtic Park (geograph 5647921)
Statue of McNeill at Celtic Park

William McNeill MBE (2 March 1940 – 22 April 2019) was a Scottish football player and manager. He played as a defender.

Life and career

Club career

McNeill was born in Bellshill. He played for nearby club Blantyre Victoria before signing for Celtic in 1957. During his playing career at Celtic, McNeill was the captain of the clubs most successful sides of the 1960s and 1970s. In his 18 seasons at the club, Celtic won many honours. This totalled nine league titles, seven Scottish Cups, six Scottish League Cups and one European Cup. In the 1966–67 season, Celtic won the European Cup Final against Inter Milan, with McNeill as captain. This was the first European Cup won by a British side, and the only to date won by a Scottish side. Celtic again made the European Cup Final in 1970. However, McNeill's side lost to Feyenoord.

McNeill played all of his senior games for Celtic. This makes him the Celtic player with the most games played for the club at 822. He retired from playing in 1975.

International career

McNeill played for Scotland between 1961 and 1972. In the 29 games played for his country, he scored three goals.

Management

Soon after retirement from playing, McNeill became a football manager. For a short time, he managed Clyde. He left Clyde after a short time for Aberdeen. He finished as a runner-up in the league and Scottish Cup with Aberdeen. Celtic manager Jock Stein left the club in 1978. McNeill soon became Celtic's manager. As Celtic manager between 1978 and 1983, he won three league titles, a Scottish Cup and a Scottish League Cup. He would go on to manage English sides Manchester City (1983–86) and Aston Villa (1986–87).

McNeill returned to manage Celtic in 1987. In his first season in his second stint, Celtic won the league and Cup double. The next season, 1988–89, the side won another Scottish Cup. However, the next two seasons saw no trophies won at Celtic and McNeill was sacked in May 1991. He never returned to full management but was caretaker manager at Hibernian for a short time in 1998.

Personal life and death

McNeill was awarded an MBE in 1974. He also wrote three books, For Celtic and Scotland (1966), Back to Paradise (1988) and Hail Cesar (2004).

In February 2017, McNeill's family said that he had been living with dementia for many years. He died on 22 April 2019, at the age of 79.

Club career stats

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1957–58 Celtic Division One 0 0 0 0
1958–59 17 0 6 0 23 0
1959–60 19 0 7 0 6 0 32 0
1960–61 31 1 8 0 4 0 43 1
1961–62 29 1 6 0 6 0 41 1
1962–63 28 1 7 0 6 0 1 0 42 1
1963–64 28 0 4 0 6 0 8 0 46 0
1964–65 22 0 6 1 6 0 2 0 36 1
1965–66 25 0 7 0 10 0 7 1 49 1
1966–67 33 0 6 0 10 2 9 1 58 3
1967–68 34 5 1 0 10 0 2 0 47 5
1968–69 34 3 7 3 9 0 6 0 56 6
1969–70 31 5 5 0 10 2 9 0 55 7
1970–71 31 1 8 1 10 0 5 1 54 3
1971-72 34 3 6 1 8 0 7 0 55 4
1972–73 30 1 7 1 10 0 4 0 51 2
1973–74 30 0 5 0 11 0 7 0 53 0
1974–75 30 1 4 0 9 0 2 0 45 1
Country Scotland 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 786 36
Total 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 786 36

International career stats

Scotland national team
Year Apps Goals
Total 29 3

Honours

Player

Celtic
  • Scottish Football League: 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74
  • Scottish Cup: 1964–65, 1966–67, 1968–69, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75
  • Scottish League Cup: 1965–66, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1969–70, 1974–75
  • European Cup: 1966–67

Manager

Celtic
  • Scottish Football League: 1978–79, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1987–88
  • Scottish Cup: 1979–80, 1987–88, 1988–89
  • Scottish League Cup: 1982–83
Manchester City
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