Thousands will gather at Celtic Park and along the funeral cortege route this morning to pay their final respects to Billy McNeill. My guess is that he will have met most of them at one point in his life. He was available to at least three generations of Celtic fans. Hundreds of thousands shook his hand, got an autograph or photo and listened to the great man talk about Stein, Jinky, Paul McStay, Seville or whatever the subject of the day was.
All the greats of the future will not have lived in our communities as kids, or remain here as they grow old. They will fleet in and out our lives.
When we lost Jock Stein 34 years ago, we knew there would never be another like him. The same is true of Billy. We can hope and dream for European greatness again. Nine-in-a-row will surely be ours soon, but it will never be the same. There will never be another titan like Billy McNeill.
Those who live on in our hearts never die.