Celtic legend Billy McNeill to be honoured in Bellshill with comemorative statue

By David Walton

June 16, 2019

Plans to have a statue of Celtic legend Billy McNeill built in Bellshill are progressing nicely.

According to the Motherwell Times, North Lanarkshire Council are pledging £15,000 to the plans through the Local Area Partnership.

There have already been two successful public meetings about the plans too. These have been hosted by Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle, Bellshill councillor Jordan Linden, and local man Edward Lynas. From the meetings, a committee has been set up to try and progress the plans following Cesar’s death back in April.

Billy McNeill was born in Bellshill (Simon Bruty/Allsport/Getty Images)

Speaking to the Motherwell Times, Mr Lyle gave an update on where we’re currently at on the plans.

A new dawn beckons for Celtic in Europe, as Joe Hart shows his class once again

“I’m pleased that the committee has now been established in order to progress the tribute to Billy McNeill. As someone who has never had intense interest in football, this matter is one really about supporting the creation of a tribute to a sporting hero from Bellshill.

“Putting Bellshill on the map and recognising there is an opportunity to inspire future generations of young sports people to aspire to represent Scotland and our community on a European and international stage.

“I look forward to continuing to support the committee as they explore their plans further and I hope that local people will get behind supporting this community-led idea.”

Swatting rivalries aside remains key

As Mr Lyle says here, this isn’t about paying tribute to a big Celtic man. This is about inspiring youngsters and helping them to aspire in pursuing their dreams in sport. That’s what McNeill represents – a man whose honesty, hard work, and drive helped him achieve his ultimate goals.

Cesar’s statue at Celtic Park is iconic (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee. That’s what the new committee group have named themselves. But it’s unclear as to how many people this will include, however.

It would also be interesting to see what the statue would look like too. McNeill iconically looks out at the front of the Celtic Way at Parkhead with his statue at Celtic Park. He proudly hoists the European Cup aloft, in what was a fitting tribute at the time of its release back in 2015, and still is to this day.

Hopefully, this is something the local community in Bellshill can get behind. Cesar may very well be the only Scot to ever captain a Scottish team to European Cup success ever again. What a way to help inspire the youngsters in Bellshill who could pass the statue daily.

There won’t be another like McNeill (Getty Images for Nike)

No confirmed sites have been identified as of yet. The Motherwell Times states that the council has given support to consider potential sites for its placement.

But in any case, this is terrific to see. Hopefully, therefore, the process goes smoothly and is met with widespread approval across the community.