Rod Petrie recalls 'legend' Billy McNeill's time at Hibs

Hibs have paid tribute to legend Billy McNeill following his passing, aged 79.

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 12:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 1:14 pm
Billy McNeill in action against Hibs. Picture: SNS

The Scottish football great is most remembered for his playing career at Celtic where he was a one-club man. In 1967 he became the first Briton to lift the European Cup after the Parkhead side defeated Inter Milan in Lisbon.

He would go on to manage Celtic on two separate occasions, as well as spells at Aberdeen, Clyde, Manchester City and Aston Villa.

Interestingly he had a one-game caretaker spell with Hibs in 1998.

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Billy McNeill in action against Hibs. Picture: SNS

McNeill, a "popular and hugely respected figure", had been brought in during the 1997/1998 season to act as "a mentor to then-manager Jim Duffy", according to the Hibs website.

Hibs were struggling in the Premier Division and the icon's presence wasn't enough to safe Jim Duffy from the sack before he was replaced by Alex McLeish.

In February McNeill oversaw a 3-0 defeat at former club Aberdeen.

The club were relegated at the end of the season.

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie said: “Billy was brought to the club at Jim Duffy’s suggestion to mentor Jim and subsequently helped transition to the Alex McLeish era following Jim’s departure.

“Billy looked back fondly on his time with us and as a club we were glad to have someone of his stature in the game – a legend – with us.

“He always carried himself with great dignity and is affectionately remembered by all who were fortunate enough to meet him.”

The thoughts of everyone at Hibernian are with Billy’s family and friends at this difficult time.