Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Billy McNeill; A dying breed


Like the rest of the football world, Ibrox Noise was saddened to hear of the passing of Billy McNeill yesterday.

The 79-year transcended the Old Firm divide, just like his dear friend John Greig, and brought about a mutual respect, admiration and true friendship where bitterness and hate could have been more justified.

McNeill truly was one of the nice guys in the sport, a true gentleman who Rangers have only respect and good words for – the tribute provided on the official site to our old friendly adversary summed up the spirit of dignity that this modern Scottish game sadly has long since forgotten.

Indeed, it is so sad that it takes the passing of a legend like McNeill to wake some people up to just how different it used to be – he lifted the European Cup, as the first Brit to do so, and not even today’s acrimony between Rangers and Celtic lessens the significance of that.

Just like 20 years ago when Celtic fans held a banner at Ibrox in honour of Slim Jim, there was a time when guys like McNeill and Baxter symbolised an honourable rivalry on and off the pitch, and true friendship as well.

That time is sadly a distant memory, but we’re extremely pleased that so much of Scottish football and indeed our own club can bury hatchets with contemporary aggro for a while and give a good man a fitting tribute and send off.

Guys like McNeill were rare – genuinely decent gentlemen who showed respect to their rivals and summed up a level of class about them that feels alien to this post-Brexit/indyref/Trump world of constant aggression and spite.

We could use his likes around more these days, but unfortunately they’re a dying breed.

Ibrox Noise, and we’re sure our readers too, would like to express our condolences to McNeill’s family and friends, and to the Celtic family who lost one of their own.

RIP sir.

8 comments:

  1. rip billy mcneill celtics greatest ever player ,pure class

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  2. Respect where's it's due, great player horrible illness, RIP Billy

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  3. Well, well said. My first ever trip to England was to see Scotland v England. We lost 9-3. It was McNeils first cap. A year later at Hamden we won 2-0. The half back line was Crerand McNeil and Baxter. Our two goals were scored by Davy Wilson and Eric Caldow of the Gers. The following year we won at Wembley when slim Jim scored both goals. Davy Wilson’s greatest game playing in a team with 10 men for 90 mins. Billy didn’t play that game but many years later I met him in London with Pat Crerand. Great guys. But all the fans today are not dickheads. I still entertain Celtic guys at Ibrox. And vice versa. It’s a pity we can’t all do it. I detest independence and Brexit. We are all Jock Tampsons bairns. Read Robbie Burns. RIP Billy.. Thanks for wonderful memories.

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  4. Billy McNeil was a true Celtic legend and great captain who acted with class and dignity. His passing reminds us and also emphasises what an embarrassment the current captain is.

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  5. I've always respected Billy McNeill as a player and a gentleman of the game. One of my funniest ever moments when Celtic beat us at Parkhead and Billy was giving an interview just after the game near the dressing rooms as the Rangers players were passing him by. And then BANG, big Terry Butcher booted the door in behind Billy with rage and marched right passed him. Billy got a bit of a fright but he just calmly said as you can see a few rangers players are frustrated with the result, or along those lines. I could not stop laughing for days. Billy never made any drama about big Tels frustration, because he knew more than most how much old firms means to the fans and players. Thoughts to Billys family and friends. The big man is most certainly a legend in the game.

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  6. Absolute gent . If there is a minute silence or applause at the weekend, let’s not have any idiots not respecting it.
    Good article.

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  7. Agree Great Man ...Let's send a true Ibrox Message of real respect and condolence on Sunday

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  8. Strange that they didn’t get game called off🤔

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