Since the news broke about Billy McNeill’s passing so many great stories have come to light but not just from Celtic fans and ex-Celtic players but from people outside the club.
Anyone who has met the great man uses the word ‘respect’. The European Cup winner oozed class and was always a gentleman.
One story which has come to light today in RecordSport is from former Ibrox captain Richard Gough who was the Rangers captain during their nine-in-a-row spell when Celtic were on their knees financially.
Gough notes that after the Ibrox club had made it to nine-in-a-row one of the first people to call him back in 1997 was Billy McNeill
“At the moment, only Billy and I have captained Old Firm teams to nine in a row.
“We both knew the pressures of that and I will never forget his reaction when Rangers did it in 1997.
“One of the first calls I got the next day was from Billy. He just said to me, ‘Richard, congratulations to you and Rangers. I didn’t think it would ever be achieved again’.
“That always stayed with me. It summed up Billy’s class. He showed true respect to Rangers.
“As an Old Firm captain, I always looked at John Greig and Billy as an example of how to conduct myself. Billy was a top player and a fair player. He was a true man. I took a lot from him.”
McNeill and Stein achieved the feat together back in Celtic’s golden era and Billy was gracious enough to make the phone call which he didn’t have to do.
Celtic would win the title the following year under Wim Jansen and stop the Ibrox club from taking away the history books.
The bhoys now have the chance to beat the record set by the Stein back all those years. Eight-in-a-row is nearly there, do we have two more in us?