McNeill, Billy (1958-75)

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PersonalMcNeill, Billy - Pic

Fullname: William McNeill
aka: Billy McNeill
Nicknames: Cesar, King Billy, The Big Man
Born: 2 March 1940
Died: 22 April 2019
Birthplace: Bellshill, North Lanarkshire
Signed (as player): 20 August 1957 (from Our Lady’s High)
Left (as player):
3 May 1975 (retired)
Positon:
Centre half, Defender
First game:
Clyde home 2-0 League Cup 23 August 1958
Last game: Airdrie Hampden 3-1 Scottish cup final 3 May 1975
First goal: Ayr United away 3-1 league 4 March 1961
Last goal: Airdrie home 6-0 league 16 November 1974
Internationals
: Scotland
International Caps: 29 Caps
International Goals: 3
Manager: 1978-1983, 1987-1991
First game as manager in first spell: Clyde home 2-1 Anglo Scottish cup 3 August 1978
Last game as manager in first spell: Rangers away 4-2 league 14 May 1983
Succeeding: Jock Stein
Successor: David Hay
First game as manager in second spell: Morton away 4-0 league 8 August 1987
Last game as manager in second spell: St Johnstone away 3-2 11 May 1991
Succeeding: David Hay
Successor: Liam Brady

‘If ever a man was made for a specific club, it was Billy McNeill and Glasgow Celtic…. His heart was always at Parkhead.’
Peter Swales (Chairman of Man City 1989)

Playing CareerMcNeill, Billy (1958-75) - The Celtic Wiki

An undoubted Celtic great, Billy McNeill, ‘Cesar’, was the captain of the Lisbon Lions and the lynchpin in the team Stein led to much success.
Billy McNeill was born on 2 March 1940 in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, of part Irish and part Lithuanian descent.
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, as well as the European Cup final. He had the honour of being the first British player to lift the European Cup.
He retired as a player in 1975 after over 800 appearances for Celtic. During his career, he won 29 caps for Scotland.

Whenever someone discusses Celtic’s nine-in-a-row, the focus is always on Jock Stein and what he did. Sometimes it can just overshadow the part that the players played in this, and in some ways that is very true of Billy McNeill (‘Cesar‘), possibly Celtic’s greatest elder statesman.

Billy McNeill is pivotal in the history of Celtic and even more so in the golden era under Jock Stein. Raised in Bellshill (Lanarkshire), in his youth he used to go watch Motherwell (the nearest senior club) and used to play for Our Lady’s High School football side. After signing for Celtic (having been spotted by Bobby Evans) he soon cemented his place in the Celtic defence. However, all was not well and before the arrival of Jock Stein at Celtic, things at Parkhead weren’t so good, with poor coaching and management difficulties that made him close to jacking it all in and was attracting interest from Spurs. Strange how things could have turned out or could have been if he had decided to go, but thankfully the arrival of Jock Stein changed things for him to stay and all for the better.

It’s said that Stein’s appointment as manager was important to Billy McNeill yet the truth is that Billy McNeill’s presence at Parkhead was just as important for Jock Stein. Celtic’s rise to the top began step by step and it was Billy McNeill who scored the pivotal winning goal in the 1965 Scottish Cup final against the match final favourites Dunfermline to give Celtic their first senior trophy since 1957. A late charge with eight minutes to go saw Celtic win a corner. Charlie Gallagher swung in a perfect inswinger into the box which Billy McNeill connected to and headed the ball into the back of the net. Billy McNeill was only in the box as he was pushed by Jock Stein to do so, previously defenders were told not to do so.

The importance of the game was acknowledged by Stein years later and it was through a combination of Stein’s tactics and Celtic’s determination that the team won the trophy and set the club up for the great years to come. Billy McNeill’s place had now been marked in Celtic’s annals, and it is fair to say that he had helped to kickstart Celtic into the Golden Era (or headed the team in!). Incredibly it was his first major title win with Celtic after seven years with the club.

From here on in, Billy McNeill’s ability as a player was now at the forefront of Celtic’s play. A strong determined footballer, he commanded respect not only from his fellow players but from opposition players as well. Strong in the tackle and in the air, he was a commanding player but it was his organisational skills and communicational abilities on the park that gave him an edge over others. He had an aura and despite his strong will, he was actually a pleasant and decent person at all times and few if any have ever had anything to say bad about him. There was no high & mighty attitude with Billy McNeill, and all were treated fairly.

One important point is that some players can be made greater with the players round them, and in Billy McNeill’s case this was where John Clark came into play. Generally overlooked by many when reviewing Celtic’s history, it is true to say that Billy McNeill was twice the player with John Clark beside him but this is not to take anything away from either at all. When players combine well together (as Larsson and Sutton did so well in the 2000s), it’s almost as if you have an extra man on the pitch.

The league title in 1965-66 increased Billy McNeill’s stature at the club, but the first signs of what could be achieved were sown in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965-66 where Celtic bowed out in the semi-finals. It was a disappointment but a pre-cursor to the glorious 1966-67 season where Billy McNeill was the lynchpin to Celtic’s success. The role of honour can never be understated, the domestic treble (league, Scottish Cup and League Cup) with the European Cup is as much a testament to his abilities as Captain of the side as it was to Jock Stein’s managerial ability.

The European Cup final of 1967 was the pinnacle of his career. In his own words:

“The biggest thing I had to do as captain was in illustrating to the team that we had nothing to fear. I had to swap pennants with their captain, Picchi before the kick-off. We exchanged words but I didn’t have any Italian and I don’t think he had any English, but you always manage to get through.”

A stout Celtic defence sadly conceded an early goal, but the team was more than ably captained by Billy McNeill, and Celtic fought back to defeat the Catenaccio of Inter Milan. His crowning glory was his sole march to lift the trophy after the final whistle, which the rest of the team themselves didn’t see (stuck in the dressing room). He lifted the trophy above his head and immortalised his image to proclaim Celtic champions of Europe. He was more ‘Caesar‘ than ‘Cesar [Romero]’ at this moment, a befitting moment for him as much as a great man as a player of his stature. Still makes the supporters all proud when anyone sees that picture.

The following World Club Championships, where the Celtic players were kicked and assaulted to defeat by Racing Club, was a low point for Celtic, but an interview with a Racing player later depicted a side to Billy McNeill’s character that showed him to be a giant against above all other men. The player saw Billy McNeill approach at the final whistle and expected an assault after what had transpired in the previous 90 mins. Instead, Billy McNeill graciously and humbly held out his hand and they shook hands followed by an exchanging of jerseys. The Racing Club player was so taken by the gesture in the strained circumstances that he grasped Billy McNeill’s jersey tight and ran back to the dressing rooms so as to ensure no one could take it from him. He stated that after all that happened he was humbled by Billy McNeill and hoped they might play again in the World Cup 1970 (which Scotland sadly didn’t make). It was the mark of the man that he was able to still be a gentleman even in the face of so much tension and havoc. (See match page.)

Coming years saw Celtic continue to dominate domestically under Jock Stein’s auspice, with Billy McNeill at the helm on the field and Celtic were coasting league victories and titles. Rangers were unable to match Billy McNeill for presence or stature, and the support were comfortable in the knowledge that he was always Celtic’s man.

Even in European games, Billy McNeill continued to excel with the games against Leeds in the European Cup semi-finals of 1970 another high mark. The opposition employed long ball tactics were completely undone as the Celtic defence under Billy McNeill stood tall and won everything thrown at them. The final was another matter and disappointingly Celtic lost. Sadly, Billy McNeill was party at the centre of the losing goal, and in his own words the club lost a lot of self-belief after this defeat.

As a captain Billy McNeill was the main man and a total inspiration to those around him on the pitch and on the terracing. For a centre half to score in three Scottish cup finals is a magnificent achievement (1965, 1969 and 1972) and his leadership was inspirational during the glory years. It’s no coincidence that when Celtic lost 4-1 to Partick Thistle in the 1971 League Cup final that Billy McNeill’s presence in defence was badly missed. The fans admired him tremendously and Billy McNeill was greatly loved by the Celtic support.

Billy McNeill 1973

Nevertheless, he was forgiven as after all he’d done for Celtic on the pitch, moments like as happened in the 1970 European Cup final do happen to all the greats. Further forays in the European Cup to semi-finals in 1972 and 1974 showed that Celtic were a strong force and Billy McNeill was always there to push the First Team further.

An additional point must be added to how Billy also fostered the careers of many around them. The ‘Quality Street Gang‘ of players in the early 1970’s were always looking up to him and loved him, and he played a strong part in their development. If only the club was managed better at the board level then Billy McNeill could have played with them for longer, but the Quality Street players departed one by one as financial matters came to a head.

In 1975, Billy McNeill played his last game for the club. It was the end of an era for the man all Celtic fans loved. At the final whistle of his last game (Scottish Cup Final victory v Airdrie), he was carried aloft by all his fellow players as the fans chanted his name. Thankfully this was not to be Billy’s last involvement with the club, and he has been in love with Celtic as much as any fan has ever been.

Many like to talk about Jinky or Stein but Billy McNeill is a name that should always be at the forefront too. A wonderful player and person, and never one whom Celtic will ever be able to replace man for man.

If anything, the following quote from Jock Stein sums up Billy McNeill’s importance to the Celtic sides of the era perfectly:

“What makes a great player? He’s the one who brings out the best in others. When I am saying that I’m talking about Billy McNeill.”

Major Honours as a Player

European Cup

Scottish Division One

Scottish Cup

Scottish League Cup

Note:

1 European Cup
9 League Titles
6 Scottish League Cups
7 Scottish Cups
Read the numbers from top to bottom: 1967

Manager 1978 – 1983

“I have often been asked what makes a successful team and I believe the answer is relatively simple. It’s about knowing that your mates are standing by your side ready to lend their unqualified support in the belief that there is nothing that cannot be achieved.”
Billy McNeill

Billy McNeill 1980

Billy McNeill had the daunting task to take over from the legendary Jock Stein. How exactly was Billy McNeill to do?

Having worked from the bottom up with Clyde & then Aberdeen (for one season taking over from Ally MacLeod who went to Argentina to manage the hapless Scotland squad), he had gained the rudiments that help set the best managers up in their careers. For Jock Stein, the change was a difficult move; a poignant picture, from the time of transfer of power over to Billy, depicts a handshake between Billy and the then chairman being coldly looked down upon by Jock Stein. It was a sad day, and even now many years after than picture was taken, the Celtic support can still feel the hurt and pain.

In any case, Billy McNeill was now in charge and the environment had moved on from his heyday as a player. Rangers were heavily resorting back to their old physical dogmatic style of play and it had paid dividends in a treble in 1978. Celtic, on the other hand, had sunk quickly and it was up to Billy McNeill to take on the reins and lead Celtic back to the top. Taking his knowledge and experience of working under Jock Stein, the club was hoping to repeat the successes of years gone by.

His first year was eventful, and a good squad of players worked their way up the ladder taking on Rangers. A closely fought season saw the whole championship boil down to the last game of the season (for Celtic), where ‘Ten men won the league‘. An incredible game saw Celtic playing Rangers with a man down, yet Celtic came from behind to win the game and seal the league at the death. Sheer brilliance, and a moment up there with the best experienced domestically under Jock Stein’s reign.

The highlight of Billy McNeill’s first foray as Celtic manager was to come in 1980. In the European Cup, a galvanised Celtic team pushed above their weight and reached the quarter-finals to set up a mouth-watering game against Spanish giants Real Madrid. At home, the team put in a workman-like performance and outplayed the lauded opposition (much fancied to easily defeat us) and Celtic won by two goals to nil.

For Billy McNeill, more than at any point he could now come out from under Jock Stein’s shadow, too often an unfair burden, and with this result Billy McNeill could be heralded in his own right. Magnificent. The return leg was never going to be easy, and a pumped-up Real Madrid easily swatted Celtic aside 3-0 at the Bernabeu. Hopes were bitterly dashed but this was Celtic’s best performance in Europe since 1974, and was in large part due to Billy McNeill who deserved full credit.

Celtic is all about players, and in Charlie Nicholas, Billy McNeill had a gem in the same way that Jock Stein had Jinky. A precocious player Charlie Nicholas set the heather on fire in his first seasons and was lauded with praise from all quarters. Nurturing talent like Charlie Nicholas was no easy task but Billy had seen it going both right (Jinky) and awry (George Connelly), so if anything Billy McNeill had experience on how to handle Charlie Nicholas (no easy task). Billy McNeill helped to bring up other great players in his time as manager, but few stand out as much as Charlie Nicholas.

It was a new era beginning in Scottish football, however, as much as that was partially true, a new era was dawning but not for Celtic (or Rangers) but for the ‘New Firm‘ (Dundee Utd & Aberdeen). In the early 1980’s Aberdeen and then Dundee Utd began to battle against the old Glasgow duopoly of the Scottish game. A welcome change for the Scottish league but with the the legendary Alex Ferguson at the helm at Aberdeen. Aberdeen won the league in 1979/80 but Celtic pinched the league back in the next two seasons under Billy McNeill in hard close fought tussles. The squad was well managed and respected, and Billy McNeill was moulding the players together.

One of the more celebrated moments in Billy’s reign was off the field. Back in 1980, en route to Hungary for a European tie, Billy McNeill, after a heated discussion over a match decision (in a recent Celtic v Rangers game) with Gerry McNee (an extreme bawbag & major David Murray sycophant), Billy McNeill invited Gerry McNee to carry on the discussion outside. On accepting the invitation, Billy McNeill famously lamped Gerry McNee once they got outside, although sadly it didn’t knock any sense into his head as Gerry McNee’s future journalistic contributions were to show.

For the incidents, Billy McNeill was fined £500 for the punch and then given a public rebuke. Most fans regarded it (and still do) as a bargain. There was an ironic, and humorous, postscript when the press party eventually arrived at their Hungarian outpost, about four hours drive from Budapest. Billy McNeill invited the travelling hacks to take penalties against him after training, and the only one to score was the bold Gerry. Stories that he achieved this feat while clutching his eye at the same time have never been confirmed.

In truth, the real challenge was off-the-field against the club’s own board. Mismanagement had come back to haunt the club, the board directors having taken little advantage of Celtic’s earlier dominance to build the facilities deserved (for the players as well as the fans), and for Billy McNeill there was to be little financial assistance to help re-build the club back up. After all the previous success there was little in the kitty, and Billy McNeill spent a disproportionate amount of time simply fighting with the board.

The straw that broke the camel’s back was the transfer of Charlie Nicholas to Arsenal, which became a very public fall-out between the Chairman (Desmond White) & Billy McNeill. Losing a talent such as Charlie Nicholas was a real body blow, and at such a young age he still had much development to go through. Celtic had been a selling club for too long despite the club’s size and pedigree, but to lose even the club’s youth players, what then was the manager’s team to work with? In the past, Dalglish and others had at least left after a number of years at the club.

At the end of season 1982/83, Billy McNeill had had enough of the board, and openly said it. He left the club to move to Man City as manager, a sad way to lose a good successful manager. Under him Celtic had won 3 league titles in 5 years, and he could hold his head up high with some wonderful memories left for all the support. As for the board, they were to remain the same for too many more years to come. This should have been the sign that things had to change and modernise but sadly the Celtic support had to wait for a lot longer for that.

Manager: 1987-1991

‘If ever a man was made for a specific club, it was Billy McNeill and Glasgow Celtic. He was never really manager here, or at Aston Villa. His heart was always at Parkhead.’
Peter Swales (Chairman of Man City 1989)

McNeill, Billy (1958-75) - Kerrydale StreetA commonly asked football trivia question in England is: ‘Who was the first manager to to manage two relegated teams in the same season?’. The answer is sadly ‘Billy McNeill‘. His stints between managing Celtic, at Man City & Aston Villa, simply didn’t work out for him although at Man City he did have some initial success, and is fondly remembered for managing them to promotion back to the top tier. His departure from Man City to move to Aston Villa was a mistake, where he moved from one poor board management to an even worse one.

In many ways he was destined to return home to Glasgow, and after Davie Hay was sacked in 1987, Billy McNeill was asked to return as Celtic manager and he said yes almost immediately. It was Celtic’s Centenary Season (1987-88) and it was hoped for something special to celebrate the year. Billy McNeill was hampered by the loss of a number of key individuals (top scorer Brian McClair for example) but he bought and sold wisely, and the season was a sensation as Celtic romped to the domestic double of league and cup.

It was an emotional time and many placed the triumphs high up in their estimations. There were a number of talismans in the squad that season but it was Billy McNeill who helped keep everything in check, a mighty task when you had to blend together the headstrong captaincy of Roy Aitken and the mercurial talent of Paul McStay alongside that of the maverick Frank McAvennie. It was wonderful mix and the side developed over the season.

Celtic had a number of key late victories, most notably the Scottish Cup final, and it showed that the players were all working to the last kick, an attribute instilled in them by Billy McNeill as he himself had when he was a player. The football was a joy to watch and confidence had returned.

However, the squad was young and still weak (possibly one of the weakest Celtic squads to have won the SPL), and things had to be shored up to carry on the success, but it didn’t happen. The problem was that Rangers were rejuvenated and strengthening financially off the field which was paying dividends on the field, and Celtic couldn’t match them in the spending stakes.

Post-centenary season, things turned so much into the red that it was just bewildering. In 1989 if the season was measured by league performances from Jan-Dec, Celtic would have finished second bottom in the table. Losing talisman Frank McAvennie was inevitable (to birds & booze as much to West Ham), but replacing him became impossible for Billy McNeill. A respite for Celtic by winning the Scottish Cup, stopping a Rangers’ treble in 1989, but that was Billy McNeill’s last trophy as Celtic manager. The biggest event was the loss of the signing of Mo Johnston to Rangers in 1989, an event that really signalled the poor state Celtic was in; the signing shook Celtic and Billy McNeill badly.

The nadir for Billy McNeill was the signing of Martin Hayes in 1990. Some say that Arsenal privately laughed over Celtic’s offer price and bit their hand off to sell him to Celtic. Others say that Celtic got a player who was well regarded by the Arsenal fans and played a strong role in past seasons for them. In any case, his signing was nothing less than a disaster with few appearances and no plaudits for anything. Long-term injuries hampered the rest of his time at Celtic.

From then on there was little Billy McNeill could do to repair his current managerial reputation, so bad was it sullied by that signing, and sadly Hayes’ signing is brought up every time Billy McNeill’s management spell is spoken about (in jest as much as in seriousness). The biggest problem is that unlike previous failings in the transfer market this one could not be blamed on the board, which was a staple retort to any criticism ever aimed at the coaching team in years gone by.

The writing was on the wall, and it was only a matter of time. Some good results did come about in his final days, in particular the two live games on TV against Rangers which Celtic won (one dubbed the ‘St Patrick’s Day Massacre‘), however Celtic still ended the season empty handed after an embarrassing exit from the Scottish Cup thereafter to Motherwell. In fairness, the ‘Sack the Board’ events had started to creep in, and so for Billy McNeill there was little help off-field for his predicament.

Billy McNeill was effectively sacked in 1991, and there was a mixed view on how it all happened. The anti-board view, fuelled by the press, labelled it as knifing the club’s greatest stalwart in the back as the story was leaked to the press by a mole in the boardroom. Many say a position to retain him at the club should have been made. Billy McNeill was scathing on how it all happened, especially critical of then Chief Executive Terry Cassidy’s handling of the affair.

On the other hand, there was likely no position for Billy McNeill suitable or worthy for him other than being on the board, but possibly the Celtic boardroom was not suited for him. It’s no easy decision to have to let go of one of the greatest stalwarts in the club’s history, but he was a highly paid manager and results couldn’t hide the failure in his last tenure. A clean break is sometimes for the best. Also working with the incumbents as were on the board at the time would have been a difficult move for anyone.

It was a sorry end to his management career but the good memories definitely outweigh the bad, and the Celtic support will remember him as fondly for having been Celtic’s manager as much as having been one of Celtic’s players.

Post-Celtic Managerial

“Apart from playing for Celtic, I’ll always be a Celtic supporter.”
Billy McNeill

billy mcneil

Years later, Billy McNeill was briefly assisting as a mentor to Jim Duffy at Hibernian, and was interim manager for one game after Jim Duffy was sacked. Hibs lost 3-0 to Aberdeen. It was ironically in season 1997-98, a celebrated season when Celtic finally won the league to stop Rangers charge to ten league titles in a row.

He never took up a frontline role in football again, however in time as Celtic evolved, especially after the Celtic Takeover upheaval had settled down, he was once again heavily involved with Celtic, both officially and in unofficial circles, playing a strong role keeping the spirit of the club alive. Supporters were in awe of him, and he was a living legend to everyone.

In July 2009 Celtic announced that Billy McNeill had been named as the club’s ambassador in recognition of his contribution to Celtic over so many years.

In December 2015, a statue in his honour was unveiled in front of Celtic Park’s entrance, a perfect tribute.

In February 2017, it was announced that sadly Billy McNeill was battling dementia. He was to make an appearance in the draw for the European Cup group stages, and all watching could see the difficulties he was having in performing these tasks as his then frailty was proving to be impossible to hide.

In April 2019, Billy McNeill was awarded the “One Club Man” honour by Athletic Bilbao. “The choice of Billy McNeill as OCM transcends the player’s extraordinary individual career links directly to the team he captained,” said Bilbao. Athletic’s ‘One Club Man Award’ was set up four years previously with the aim of honouring players whose career with one team represents the values of “commitment, loyalty, responsibility, sportsmanship and respect”, which embody the Basque side’s own identity.

Passing Away

‘Where you went others followed’
Tribute line to Billy McNeill on his passing

On 22nd April 2019, Billy McNeill passed away. It was humbling to see the response across football globally to his passing away, with his status acknowledged & recognised everywhere.

An incredible moment happened in the following match, which clearly proved that there is a fairytale aspect about Celtic. The winner in the following match (1-0 victory v Kilmarnock 27 April 2019) was scored by a central defender (Simunovic) wearing the no.5 shirt on the 67th minute with a header (Billy McNeill’s shirt number was 5, he was a central defender and was famous for his headed goals). Incredible, as if it was destined to be so and written in the stars. Simunovic had vowed to score in McNeill’s honour, but what timing. McNeill will have been looking down with pride at what was an emotional time for his family & friends, and Simunovic’s jersey was donated to McNeill’s family members as a tribute for this wonderful moment.

Billy McNeill’s funeral was held at St Aloysius Church in Glasgow, with his cortège passing by Celtic Park for a a final journey.

Fellow Lisbon Lion Stevie Chalmers passed away a week later also in part from the impact from dementia. It reignited discussions on the potential link between the long-term impact of heading in football and the possible impact to the onset of dementia. Billy McNeill, Stevie Chalmers and Jim Brogan all from the same era and Billy McPhail from the 1950s had succumbed to dementia. It was something that should be openly discussed.

One poignant moment was in May 2019, Billy McNeill had been awarded a One Man (Club) award by Athletic Bilbao and was to be presented this at a following match in Spain. However, as Billy McNeill passed away just a week later, in his place long-term friend John Clark and Susan Chalmers (daughter of Billy McNeill) received the award in his honour. The crowd sung along with “You’ll never walk alone” as a giant no.5 hoops circle was placed in the centre circle.

Billy McNeill will never be forgotten, and is immortalised in the club’s history. He is one of the greatest Celts there has ever been, and we will forever be in his debt.

Major Honours as Celtic manager

Scottish League

Scottish Cup

Scottish League Cup

McNeill, Billy (1958-75) - Kerrydale StreetThe Nickname ‘Cesar’

Everyone seems to know that Billy McNeill’s nickname is Cesar, and then have images of the rampaging Roman leader Julius Caesar rising above all others at the Coliseum. When you see the pictures of Billy McNeill holding aloft the European Cup in 1967 on being presented the trophy after the victory over Inter Milan, it is easy to see how the comparisons come about. Cries and headlines of ‘Hail Cesar‘ are not uncommon either when his name is mentioned.

Alas, it is an easy mistake for anyone to make. Firstly note, it’s ‘Cesar‘ not ‘Caesar‘, and the nickname is not actually in reference to the old Roman leader.

His nickname actually derives from being one of the only Celtic team players to own a vehicle at the time, and was inspired by a role in the movie Ocean’s Eleven (the original version) played by the actor Cesar Romero who acted as the crime gang’s getaway driver in the film. Cesar Romero was, at the time, one of the original Hollywood bratpack of Sinatra, Romero, Sammy Davies Jnr, Dean Martin etc, a million miles away from Billy McNeill’s real persona.

Still, the mistake is carried on by many, and even Billy McNeill himself played along with it, with an autobiography of his having been titled ‘Hail Cesar‘, carrying over the spelling difference.

However, there are still plenty of those who still claim otherwise. Lisbon Lion, Bertie Auld says that the nickname ‘Caesar‘ was used long after the original nickname of ‘Cesar‘, and many still stick to that story, although Billy McNeill himself dismissed this.

The original with ‘Cesar‘ as was used by Billy McNeill in his autobiography seems more likely to sit right.

Career Stats

Club Performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup Scottish League Cup Europe Total
1957-58 Div One 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1958-59 17 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 23 0
1959-60 19 0 7 0 6 0 0 0 32 0
1960-61 31 1 8 0 4 0 0 0 43 1
1961-62 29 1 6 0 6 0 0 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 50* 6†
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
Career Total 486 22 94 7 137 4 69 3 789* 37†
________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________ ________
* Includes 3 Appearances in the World Club Championship
† Includes 1 Goal in the World Club Championship

[managerial record to be added]

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  • The Billy McNeill Story (2009)

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