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Charlie Nicholas calls for Billy McNeill statue

Celtic legend Billy McNeill, pictured in 2009. Picture: SNS

Celtic legend Billy McNeill, pictured in 2009. Picture: SNS

CELTIC should erect a statue of club legend Billy McNeill outside Celtic Park, according to former Hoops star Charlie Nicholas.

Nicholas believes that a statue of ‘Cesar’ would provide a lasting tribute to one of Celtic’s “greatest-ever servants”.

Writing in the Express, Nicholas said: “I feel Billy should have a statue of some kind at Celtic Park.

“The one memory I have of Billy… is of him holding the European Cup aloft. I think that image is a massive part of the fabric of Celtic FC, for a guy who played for, captained and managed the club.”

Statues of Jimmy Johnstone, Jock Stein, and club founder Brother Walfrid were all erected posthumously, but Nicholas believes that Arsenal and Manchester United have set a precedent for Celtic to erect a statue “while (Billy) can appreciate it”.

Nicholas said: “(Arsenal) do it when the people are relatively young and people remember them now and forever but Scottish clubs tend to wait until our icons have passed away.

He added: “The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law have statues at Old Trafford and George Best had one while he was alive.”

McNeill, who captained the 1967 European Cup-winning Celtic side before later managing the team, will be honoured at a tribute dinner this weekend.

The 73-year-old won nine league titles with Celtic as a player, and led the team to a further four as manager.

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