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Billy McNeill funeral: Sir Alex Ferguson among mourners for Celtic legend | UK News

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Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish are among mourners paying their respects at the funeral of former Celtic captain and manager Billy McNeill.

The ceremony is held at a church in Glasgow city centre, before the funeral procession makes its way to Celtic Park, where it is thought thousands of fans will pay tribute to the former Celtic player.

Roads in the city centre have been closed so that supporters are able to line the streets as the coffin makes its way through Glasgow.

Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill's funeral is held in Glasgow
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Former Celtic captain Billy McNeill’s funeral is held in Glasgow

One of the first to arrive at Celtic Park was former Rangers player and Manchester United manager Sir Alex.

Also attending were ex-Rangers managers John Grieg and Walter Smith and former Celtic players Tom Boyd, Frank McGarvey and Frank McAvennie.

Former Celtic manager Kenny Dalglish paid his respects at the funeral
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Former Celtic manager Kenny Dalglish paid his respects at the funeral
Alex McLeish arrives at the church in Glasgow
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Alex McLeish (r) arrives at the church in Glasgow

Buses have been provided for mourners from the ground to take them to the church where the funeral is taking place.

Other former Celtic managers, such as Gordon Strachan and Dalglish, also arrived at Celtic’s ground to make their way to the church.

Brendan Rogers was amongst the mourners
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Brendan Rogers (c) was amongst the mourners

McNeill, who won 31 trophies as player and manager for Celtic, died last week aged 79. He had suffered from dementia in recent years.

Addressing the congregation at St Aloysius’ Church, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia shared his memories of watching McNeill from the terraces at Celtic Park in 1965 during a Scottish Cup final game against Dunfermline.

Billy McNeill with the European Cup in 1967.Pic: VI Images
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Billy McNeill with the European Cup in 1967. Pic: VI Images

“As a 16-year-old boy, I watched with overflowing joy as Billy and his Lions lifted the European Cup,” he said.

“Never for a moment did I imagine that I would be conducting his funeral mass.”

McNeill with the Champions League trophy at the group stage draw for the tournament in 2013
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McNeill was captain and manager for Celtic

Martyn, McNeill’s son, said his parents were the “original Posh and Becks”, referencing his mother’s job as a dancer on TV adding: “After 55 years of marriage, I’m glad to say there’s been no Strictly curse.”

Friend of McNeill Archie MacPherson also spoke at the funeral, saying: “In the sometimes hateful atmosphere of Old Firm games Billy was never demonised as so many players can be in that.

“Somehow he seemed to be able to rise above the unfortunate quasi-religious hate-fest that too often it turned into. Why? Because of his appearance, his stature, because of the way he played – athletic, hard but fair.

“And I never saw any gratuitous implosion that felt he was a superior person to the other lot. In that sense he was different.”

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