Forrest wants Celtic to pay rousing tribute to McNeill

James Forrest wants Celtic players to join Hoops fans in giving Billy McNeill a rousing and fitting tribute against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Interim boss Neil Lennon described Celtic as “a club in mourning” following the announcement on Tuesday that McNeill, captain of the famous ‘Lisbon Lions’ side who won the European Cup in 1967 and who also went on to manage the club, died aged 79 following a battle with dementia.

The McNeill family urged fans to “tell his stories and sing his songs” as the club prepares to pay tribute at the visit of Killie in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Forrest was launching the McDonald’s & Scottish Football Association grassroots awards at Milton AFC, one of last year’s winners ,and he told Press Association Sport: “Billy was obviously really important to the club and he meant so much to so many people, so hopefully we put on a good display on Saturday. That’s what everyone wants.

“Everyone knows what he did for the club and how big a legend he is.

“We have seen stuff from his family calling for the crowd to make a lot of noise and pay their respects that way and I think it will definitely be a good turnout and good for the fans to do that.

“It will be a good atmosphere and I hope we can give the fans something to cheer about as well and help everyone through it.”

Celtic are nine points ahead of second-placed Rangers with four fixtures remaining.

If the Hoops beat Killie they could be crowned champions for the eighth successive time should Rangers slip up against Aberdeen on Sunday.

Scotland international Forrest said: “Hopefully we get a step closer on Saturday and wrap it up as soon as we can.

“Everyone is wanting to make sure it gets wrapped up as soon as possible and it doesn’t matter if it is this weekend.

“Kilmarnock have been really good this season and it is a credit to their players and management.

“Every time we play them it is a hard game and it will be no different on Saturday.”

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