By: Newsroom Staff on 19 Dec, 2015 13:01
CELTIC Football Club today unveiled of a new statue in tribute to Celtic legend Billy McNeill. The statue, which will sit at the entrance to The Celtic Way, was created by sculptor John McKenna, who also completed the Jock Stein statue at Celtic Park.
The statue is made in bronze and sits on a granite base. The plinth is engraved on all four sides with Billy’s achievements as a player and manager, the names of the players who brought the European Cup to Celtic in 1967 and a quote from the great Jock Stein reflecting Billy’s contribution to the Club.
Billy made a record 790 appearances for the Club, he has been voted the Club’s greatest ever Captain and in total, he lifted 31 major honours for Celtic.
As a player he won 9 League Championships, 7 Scottish Cups, 6 League Cups and of course the greatest prize of all the European Cup in 1967. As a Manager, he lifted 4 League Championships, 3 Scottish Cups and 1 League Cup.
Billy McNeill said: “I have said this before, but when Peter Lawwell contacted me regarding the statue I was completely taken by surprise, and to now think that I will be honoured alongside such great men as Brother Walfrid, Jock Stein and my pal Jinky, really does fill me with great pride.
“Celtic has been in my blood and a part of my life for so many years and to be recognised in this way, by the club I love, is truly humbling."
Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell said: “I have had the honour and privilege of knowing Billy for many years now, and while there is sometimes caution offered in wanting to meet your heroes, in Billy’s case he is everything you would ever expect from Celtic’s greatest ever captain, and so much more.
“Billy’s statue will stand at the beginning of The Celtic Way, proud and imposing – just as Billy was as a player – to welcome visitors to our stadium, and I am delighted to be part of this very special occasion today.
"I know that Billy, Liz and their family feel honoured by the decision to erect this statue, but as every Celtic supporter would testify, the honour has been ours in enjoying Billy’s lifetime of devoted service to our club.”
Sculptor John McKenna said: “When Celtic asked me to make a statue of Billy McNeill I felt it a great privilege to be creating a monument to Billy, a man who is a legend in his own lifetime.
“I duly set about making the statue based on an iconic 1967 photograph of Billy holding aloft the European Cup. I am grateful for the extensive help, patience and advice from the immediate McNeill family assisting me on achieving the portrait likeness of Billy for the finished statue.
“In this process I met Billy McNeill and his wife Liz, two very genuinely endearing people, who made the whole statue project a great experience for me.”