William "Billy" McNeill MBE (born 2 March 1940) is a former Scottish footballer and manager. He is best known for captaining Celtic to the European Cup triumph in 1967 and he later went on to manage the club. He is now the official Club Ambassador at Celtic.
Playing career 
McNeill, nicknamed Cesar, was voted the greatest ever captain of Celtic by the club's fans in 2002. He was signed by Celtic from nearby junior team, Blantyre Victoria, in 1957 as a defender. As captain he won nine Scottish League Championships, seven Scottish Cups, and six Scottish League Cups. He also led the team to victory in the European Cup in 1967, as part of the "Lisbon Lions", and was the first British footballer to hold aloft the European Cup. He retired as a player in 1975 after 790 appearances for Celtic, in which he played every minute, never having been substituted. He won 29 caps for Scotland. McNeill also represented the Scottish League XI.
Management career 
He began his management career at Clyde in April 1977 before moving to Aberdeen in June. However, in 1978 he returned to manage Celtic. His five years in charge saw Celtic win three League Championships, one Scottish Cup and one League cup.
On 30 June 1983 he moved to England to manage Manchester City. He secured promotion for City after two seasons in charge, and oversaw survival in their first season back. Two years before being appointed by City, he had been strongly linked with the manager's job at their cross city rivals Manchester United, but the job had gone to Ron Atkinson instead.
In 1986–87, he became one of the few managers to manage two relegated teams in the same season. He started the season as manager of Manchester City but quit in September 1986 to take charge of fellow strugglers Aston Villa. When Villa were relegated after finishing bottom of the First Division in May 1987, he stood down to make way for Graham Taylor and returned to Celtic.
In his first season Celtic won the double of the League Championship and Scottish Cup in the club's centenary year. 1987–88, was renowned for late goals for Celtic and in both the semi final and final, Celtic scored late goals to emerge victorious 2–1 in both games. He won the Scottish Cup the following season, but quit in 1991 after four years as manager. McNeill's second spell as manager was blighted by the reluctance of the Board to spend money in the transfer market.
McNeill had a brief spell as director of football at Hibs in 1998, where he unsuccessfully attempted to arrest a decline in fortunes at the club. He briefly took caretaker charge of the team after Jim Duffy was sacked, even though McNeill had been out of football since leaving Celtic in 1991 and was recovering from heart surgery. He left Hibs at the end of the 1997–98 season.
Political career 
McNeill unsuccessfully stood as a candidate for the Scottish Senior Citizens Unity Party in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election.
In 2008, he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow in recognition of his outstanding achievement in football and for his distinguished role as an ambassador for the national sport. Celtic's chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "Billy McNeill has served Celtic Football Club and Scottish football in general with distinction over many years. He is a man of immense stature and someone who, as a player and manager was the complete professional. Billy was a born leader on and off the field. To captain Celtic and become the first British Club to win the European Cup, the biggest prize in Club football, is a massive achievement and Billy and the other Lisbon Lions will forever be among the most important figures in Celtic's illustrious history. Billy is fully deserving of the tremendous honour which has been bestowed on him. Everyone at the Club congratulates him on receiving the Honorary Degree from the University of Glasgow."
Career statistics 
* Includes 3 Appearances in the World Club Championship
† Includes 1 Goal in the World Club Championship
NB these Totals do not include Glasgow Cup appearances, which at the time was a Senior Trophy
- Scottish League Champions (9): 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
- Scottish Cup (7): 1965, 1967, 1969, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975
- Scottish League Cup (6): 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1975
- European Cup : 1967
- Manchester City
External links