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BILLY McNEILL: FAMILY STATEMENT

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BILLY McNEILL’S family have issued an update on the Celtic legend’s health to end “upsetting” rumours.

The Lisbon Lion, who turned 79 at the start of the month, is receiving treatment for dementia in hospital.

McNeill, who captained the Hoops to their historic European Cup triumph in the Portuguese capital on May 25, 1967, has been the subject of false rumours.

The untrue tales were circulated on social media over the weekend with some stating that the family had been called to his bedside.

But the former Celtic and Scotland icon’s family have set the record straight.

A statement read: “Further to speculation circulating on social media we would like to confirm the following.

“As is widely known, our father, Billy, has been battling dementia for some time. He is currently in hospital receiving treatment for an illness.

“However, at no time have the family been called to his bedside and reports of his death are untrue.

“Whilst we appreciate the love and appreciation shown towards our father, the current rumours are upsetting to us as a family.

“We would appreciate if people would refrain from spreading such stories and respect our request for privacy in this matter.”

McNeill made over 780 first team appearances for his only club, after making his debut in a 2-0 League Cup win over Clyde at Parkhead in August 1958. He played his last game for the Hoops in the 3-1 Scottish Cup Final victory over Airdrie at Hampden in May 1975.

He won nine league titles, seven Scottish Cups, six League Cups and, of course, the European Cup as a player.

McNeill also had two stints as manager of the Parkhead side and was also appointed as a club ambassador.

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