A BRONZE statue of Celtic legend Billy McNeill was today unveiled in Bellshill.

McNeill - nicknamed Cesar - grew up in Abbotsford Place in the town in North Lanarkshire and was immortalised with a statue near where he grew up.

Liz McNeill, wife of Billy, attended the unveiling along with family, friends and fans this afternoon.

The statue was erected after a two-year fundraising campaign with more than £80,000 raised by the Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee who are fundraising to support youth footballers in Lanarkshire.

The Lisbon Lion passed away in April 2019, aged 79, after being diagnosed with dementia - with Scottish football united in mourning over the news.

McNeill spent his entire professional career playing with Celtic making a record 832 appearances for the Parkhead club. 

The iconic Celtic captain was the first British player to lift the European Cup after their triumph over Inter Milan in 1967. 

A statue of McNeill holding the trophy aloft is in place outside Celtic Park.

He also won nine league titles with Celtic, seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups in a trophy-laden career at Parkhead.

He would then go on to manage Celtic where he led the club to four title, and four cup wins.

A spokesman for the Billy McNeill Commemoration Committee said: “The boy from Abbotsford Place went on to be one of the most respected gentlemen in world football and will finally get the recognition that he has so earned and deserved in his boyhood town of Bellshill and Mossend. 

“We hope Liz and family are pleased and proud.”