Family call for ‘noise, passion and enjoyment’ in Billy McNeill tribute

Billy McNeill’s family have urged the Celtic support to honour the club’s former skipper and manager in the way he would have wanted – with “noise, passion and enjoyment”.

A fan pays tribute to Billy McNeill outside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin

The club have outlined their plans to celebrate the life of the first British man to lift the European Cup when they host Kilmarnock on Saturday. Neil Lennon and his squad plan to lay a wreath below the statue of the late defender, who died at the age of 79 on Monday, outside Celtic Park 90 minutes prior to the 12.30pm kick-off.

Special video tributes will be played in the stadium and the players will wear special black armbands.

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But instead of the traditional silence, club chiefs say there will instead be a minute’s applause before the game following a request from McNeill’s loved ones.

In a statement, his family said: “We do not believe football stadiums were ever built to be to be silent. Our father would not have wanted that. They should be places of noise, passion and enjoyment. Football was his life and Celtic Park was a very large part of that. So please celebrate his life with a moment of cheers, songs and applause because that would make him feel at home again.”

Further tributes are also planned for the Scottish Cup final with Hearts on 25 May, with the team to wear McNeill’s No 5 shorts.