Just Billy

EVERY football fan will be saddened by the death of Billy McNeill who had such a commanding presence when you met him. Most of us know the story that Billy's original nickname was "Cesar" after actor Cesar Romero but it morphed into "Caesar" when Celtic won the European Cup. Journalist Alex Gordon, who compiled the book Billy McNeill In Praise of Caesar" checked with Billy's wife Liz which she preferred and she gave the touching reply: "I'm not fussed. I've never had to write either on a Christmas or birthday card. I've always called my husband Billy."

What's in a name

BILLY was of course both captain and later manager of Celtic. Former goalie Peter Latchford told the story that when Billy was appointed Celtic manager he got the players together to tell them that there was now a divide between him and the players. He went on at length about how he was no longer "Big Man" or whatever, and that he was now "The Manager" or even "Mr McNeill". At the end of his speech he asked if there were any questions and Danny McGrain replied: "No, I think you covered all the bases, Billy.'"


WE recall Billy at a Herald book event telling the audience that the basic wage when Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 was 40 quid a week. The next year, the players sent Captain Billy in to see formidable manager Jock Stein about a rise. Says Billy: ''I eventually came back to the players and told them, 'Well I did my best, but you know what the Big Man's like, no chance.' The real story is that I went in, said the lads thought they were due a wage rise, and Big Jock said, '**** off'. There was no point in arguing with him. I then went and sat in the toilet for half an hour so that the lads would think we had at least had meaningful negotiations.''

Last laugh

WE mentioned the presidential election in Ukraine. Entertainer David Walliams put the BBC story "Ukranian comedian elected president" on social media and added the comment: "Mmm, this has given me an idea." His remark was topped though by a Gareth McCarthy, who replied: "You going to become a comedian?"


RISING Scots singing star Lewis Capaldi is as unpretentious as they come, and he told his fans on social media that he had reached a certain landmark in his career at a gig the other day in Glasgow – it was the first time fake Lewis Capaldi t-shirts were sold outside the gig. Said Lewis: "Heard there were boys selling fake merch outside my gig for the first time so I went and bought some to mark the occasion." One fan, Jared Armour, cheekily replied: "I witnessed said dodgy deal taking place! I believe he said, 'Five pounds mate' and you said, 'Change of a 50? It’s the smallest note I carry now'."

Hard to swallow

WE reckon a few folk can identify with Jo Diggity, who commented: "A waiter asked me 'Would you like to know the one thing on the menu we’re out of tonight?' and I replied, 'No no, I’ll find it thanks'."

Cracked it

MUCH debate already about US President Donald Trump being invited on a state visit to Britain in June. As a reader phones us to say: "Well at least waiting till June gives the shops time to replenish their egg supplies after Easter."

Read more: All smiles now, but an ‘unpleasant’ night lies in store