Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: PSG Pogba swap?

PSG have approached Manchester United about the possibility of directly swapping Neymar for Paul Pogba according to one of Tuesday's UK newspapers.

A complete list of every completed summer 2019 transfer window deal2

Transfer Window: Done Deals

Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pages3

Paper Talk: Ole wants £63m man

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a personal plea to Ed Woodward for the club to 'speed up' a deal for Sporting's Bruno Fernandes, according to the back pages.

Jack Clarke
4

Tottenham close in on Clarke deal

Tottenham are set to complete their first signing in 18 months with the addition of Leeds winger Jack Clarke.

Nick Powell5

Stoke confirm five new signings

A flurry of transfer activity at Stoke saw five new signings announced by the Sky Bet Championship side on Tuesday.

Tributes pour in for Celtic legend Billy McNeill following death aged 79

Billy McNeill
Billy McNeill

Tributes have poured in for Celtic's European Cup-winning captain and former manager Billy McNeill following his death at the age of 79.

As the leader of Jock Stein's famed Lisbon Lions, he became the first British player to ever hoist aloft the 'trophy with the big ears' as he called it after the Hoops' victory over Inter Milan in May 1967.

McNeill also had two spells as boss at Parkhead and Celtic marked the importance of his place in the club's history books when in 2015 they erected a statue outside the stadium of him holding the European Cup.

His death was announced in a statement released by his wife Liz and their five children.

'Our greatest ever captain'

Current Hoops boss Neil Lennon led the tributes, saying: "This is such sad news and I want to send thoughts and prayers to Liz and all the family from myself and all the backroom staff here at the club.

"When you think of Celtic and our incredible history, Billy McNeill is always one of the first names that comes to mind.

"He was our greatest ever captain and one of our greatest ever players, and along with his team-mates, achieved historic things for Celtic in the 1960s and '70s.

"I love Billy's statue, which is the first thing you see whenever you walk up The Celtic Way. It's the perfect image of him, holding aloft the European Cup, and it will remind future generations of supporters of what a great Celtic man he was."

Signed from junior outfit Blantyre Victoria in 1957, he saw out his entire senior career at Celtic Park - playing every minute of his 790 appearances.

As well as claiming his place in Celtic folklore with his part in the club's famous win at the Estadio Nacional in Lisbon, McNeill - who was capped 29 times by Scotland - helped guide the Hoops to nine straight league titles in a row, seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups.

But after hanging up his boots aged 35, he was lured back to Celtic Park three years later, replacing Stein as boss following brief stints in charge at Clyde and Aberdeen.

He made a successful return to Glasgow's east end, winning three League Championships, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup.

Stints at Manchester City and Aston Villa were not so fruitful but he returned to Parkhead in time for Celtic's centenary year in 1987/88, ensuring the celebrations ended with a bang as the Hoops claimed a league and cup double.

Two years ago McNeill's family announced he had been diagnosed with dementia.

Their statement announcing his death said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Billy McNeill.

"He passed away late last night (Monday, April 22) surrounded by his family and loved ones. He suffered from dementia for a number of years and fought bravely to the end, showing the strength and fortitude he always has done throughout his life.

"While this is a very sad time for all the family and we know our privacy will be respected, our father always made time for the supporters so please tell his stories, sing his songs and help us celebrate his life."

While McNeill had been ill for some time, the news still came as a shock to his fellow Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, who told Press Association Sport: "Today's news is a tragedy.

"I was there when the boss signed Billy at 17 years of age and even then he had tremendous presence about him.

"He was a big thin boy with spindly legs but he was majestic in the air, even at that age. He had a tremendous temperament for a centre-back.

"As the months went on, you could see he had this ability to be a leader. Despite being so young, he would give everybody his opinion and everyone respected him.

"I remember in Lisbon, him carrying the ball out onto the park in Portugal. His chest was out and his head was back. He knew we would win and that filtered through the rest of us. He was never arrogant or egotistical. He just believed in himself and the rest of us."

Mutual respect for 'a real gentleman'

Former Rangers captain John Greig was McNeill's rival during their playing days but also a friend.

He told Press Association Sport: "It's very sad news. I've lost a very good friend today.

"We have been close for many, many years. Although we were big opponents on the field we had a mutual respect for each other off it.

"As Old Firm captains, we were asked to do a lot of public engagements together. We were even given doctorates from the University of Glasgow on the same day in 2008.

"Apart from being a great football player and a great captain for a great Celtic side, he was also a great guy, a real gentleman and I'll miss him."

Sir Alex Ferguson, who played directly against McNeill in Old Firm derbies and succeeded his former opponent as Aberdeen manager, said he was "deeply saddened" by the news.

The former Rangers striker told the Celtic website: "He was a giant in Scottish football, a man with an incredible presence. He was also a truly good man and will be a loss to everyone who knew him. Farewell Cesar."

Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: PSG Pogba swap?

PSG have approached Manchester United about the possibility of directly swapping Neymar for Paul Pogba according to one of Tuesday's UK newspapers.

A complete list of every completed summer 2019 transfer window deal2

Transfer Window: Done Deals

Get all the complete signings in the summer 2019 football transfer window from the Premier League, Sky Bet EFL and Europe.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pages3

Paper Talk: Ole wants £63m man

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made a personal plea to Ed Woodward for the club to 'speed up' a deal for Sporting's Bruno Fernandes, according to the back pages.

Jack Clarke
4

Tottenham close in on Clarke deal

Tottenham are set to complete their first signing in 18 months with the addition of Leeds winger Jack Clarke.

Nick Powell5

Stoke confirm five new signings

A flurry of transfer activity at Stoke saw five new signings announced by the Sky Bet Championship side on Tuesday.

Football Tips

A view of Uttoxeter racecourse

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Saturday's best bets

Saturday's Bets of the Day

We have selections from our racing team to help boost those Royal Ascot coffers, plus Richard Mann's cricket advice.

Our guide to the 2019 Copa America

Copa America: Venezuela can shine

The Copa America gets under way on Saturday with 12 teams going for glory. We have all you need to know, including two 40/1 best bets.