Remembering Billy McNeill and his ‘presence’…

On this day 12 months ago the world of football lost a great in Billy McNeill. The man they called Cesar in Glasgow passed away aged 79 following a battle with dementia.

As a player, he was a one-club man, starring for Celtic for 18 years and leading the club to European Cup glory in Lisbon in 1967.

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As a manager, he also enjoyed considerable success not only with the Parkhead side but also at Manchester City.

His stature in the game was colossal, so much so he scared ‘the living daylights’ out of former Hoops star Anton Rogan when he first came across Billy in 1987 after an unsuccessful stint in charge of Aston Villa.

Anton told the Talkin Fitbaw podcast:

“I remember the first day he walked into training. I was sitting in the corner, I had just moved into the first-team dressing room.

“When you walk in through the door, there’s a big pillar just to your left and I used to be stuck behind that, that was my little perch.”

“But big Billy walked in and the presence of him was just immense.

“I looked at him and he scared the living daylights out of me by just walking in!

“Although I knew of him I had never spoken to him but I already had so much more respect for him because he was such an imposing presence.”

His return to Celtic proved to be a successful one as he led them to the league and cup double in their centenary season in 1988.

Anton was speaking to Derek Clark, follow him on Twitter and download the Talkin Fitbaw podcast.

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