Rangers have paid tribute to Celtic icon Billy McNeill after the Lisbon Lion’s death aged 79, with Ibrox legend John Greig calling him a “great man.”
McNeill’s death was confirmed earlier today and tributes have poured in from across the world of football to the first Brit to lift the European Cup.
“We were very good friends for many years and we had a great respect for each other both on and off the pitch,” Greig told the Rangers website.
“We were the captains of Rangers and Celtic in the past of course but, more recently, we received our honorary doctorates from Glasgow University on the same day which was a special occasion – so we had a lot in common.
“As a player, I remember Billy was like an extra forward because of his aerial ability at set-pieces. He was also a leader and a commanding and respected figure in the Lisbon Lions team of the Sixties.
“He was a great man and at this sad time my thoughts are with Liz and her family.”
McNeill won 31 trophies as both a player and manager at Parkhead as well as playing in 790 games during his illustrious career.
After leaving Celtic as a player, he had spells managing Aberdeen, Clyde, Aston Villa, Manchester City and two stints in the hotseat at Parkhead.
It seems unlikely that we’ll ever see rival Old Firm captains with the same mutual respect as Greig and McNeill had for each other.
Both Greig and McNeill are the epitome of what their respective clubs are all about and Greig’s words only serve to show how much has changed in Scottish football over the years.