Football Player; Celtic’s inspirational captain was born in the Lanarkshire town of Bellshill on 2 March 1940. McNeill made his debut for Celtic against Clyde in a 2-0 home victory in 1958. He went on to become captain of the team in 1963. A cool and composed defender McNeill was particularly good in the air and was an important attacking asset, scoring important goals for Celtic.
He became one of the key players in Celtic’s domination of Scottish football for most of the Jock Stein era at Celtic Park. McNeill headed one of the goals in Celtic’s 3-2 Scottish Cup Final victory over Dunfermline Athletic in 1965, the club’s first major trophy since 1957. A one club man McNeill played in 831 games for Celtic winning the Scottish League nine times, the Scottish Cup seven times and the Scottish League Cup six times. Under McNeill’s leadership Celtic became one of the top club sides in European football winning the European Cup in 1967 and reaching the final once more in 1970. With Scotland he was capped 29 times.
Billy was voted Scottish Football Player of the Year in 1965. On retiring from playing in 1975 he went into football management and had spells at Clyde, Aberdeen, Celtic (twice), Manchester City and Aston Villa.