Michael Nicholson speaks as new tribute to Celtic icon Billy McNeill is unveiled

By Euan Davidson

March 10, 2022

Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson seems like a man of few words, but he got them right when he spoke about Billy McNeill today.

McNeill, the iconic captain of the Lisbon Lions, was honoured today with the opening of a new sport facility – a state-of-the-art 4G pitch at Our Lady’s High School, Motherwell.

The school, whose graduates include Kieran Tierney, Bobby Murdoch, Matt Busby and Stephen Pearson, unveiled the new pitch today, with members of McNeill’s family and Celtic Football Club in attendance.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The new facility, costing £600,000 [Celtic FC], replaces an ash pitch which a pupil described as “rubbish”. Our Lady’s High was established in 1888, and has a proud history of producing sporting talent.

Michael Nicholson, representing Celtic, heralded the impact of Billy McNeill not just in Scottish sport, but as a worldwide footballing figure. He said [Daily Record]: “Billy will forever be regarded as an icon of sport, not just in Scotland, but globally, for all he achieved.

“While achieving such greatness, Billy also represented Celtic and Scotland with professionalism, dedication and humility.

“I am sure that Billy’s family will be very proud that through this new sporting facility named after him, these values will continue to live on as a true example to young people for generations to come.”

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67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Michael Nicholson gets it bang on as Celtic icon Billy McNeill gets another lasting tribute

When we lost Billy McNeill in April 2019, we lost the most iconic, recognisable and legendary player in Celtic’s history.

A member of both the Scottish Football Hall of Fame and the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, McNeill’s legacy is formidable. In 2015, Celtic erected a statue of McNeill outside Paradise. The accolades and tributes are almost endless, and quite rightly, too.

This one will mean a lot to his family. Liz McNeill, Billy’s wife, said [Celtic FC]: “We’re very proud indeed, all the family, and Billy’s parents would have been extremely proud too.”

Photo by VI Images via Getty Images

Given the Alma Mater of Our Lady’s High, Motherwell, pupils clearly don’t have to look far for inspiration.

And it also means that kids coming through the school who didn’t know McNeill’s legacy will have the spark to see what he was all about.

They’ll find a lion-hearted leader, a devoted family man and a Celtic captain beyond compare. A man who won the European Cup, 9 league titles, 7 Scottish Cups and 6 League Cups as a player.

4 League titles, 3 Scottish Cups and a League Cup as Celtic manager.

Celtic CEO Michael Nicholson got it right; Billy McNeill will always be an icon.

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