Willie O'Neill

Lisbon Lion and Celtic hero Willie O'Neill was born in Glasgow on 30 December 1940. Died 28 April 2011, aged 70

O’Neill signed for Celtic in 1959, aged 18, and made his debut in the 1961 Scottish Cup Final replay against Dunfermline. Although O’Neill did not play in Celtic’s victory in the 1967 European Cup Final, he was an important member of the first team squad, making 32 appearances in the 1966–67 season. O’Neill made many of those appearances during the first few months of the season, as Jim Craig had temporarily dropped out of the team due to his dentistry studies.

At the time of O’Neill’s death, Craig remarked that O’Neill was a defensive-minded full-back, who rarely made forays into the opposition’s half of the field. This style of play was in keeping with the traditional function of the position, but full-backs were being expected to attack more by the mid-1960s. Indeed, fellow full-back Tommy Gemmell scored the equalising goal in the European Cup Final victory.

O’Neill made a total of 86 appearances for Celtic, 55 of those in Scottish Football League matches. O’Neill represented the Scottish League once, in 1968. He left Celtic in 1969 for Carlisle United, but was forced to retire just two years later due to an ankle injury.

Willie O'Neill in the news

Read all the news mentioning Willie O'Neill.

The Celtic Star · Nov 27, 2018

Celtic’s League Cup Wins, No.4 – Willie O’Neill saves the day against Rangers

Everyone knows that 1966/67 was the season in which Celtic won everything including the European Cup.

The Celtic Star · Sep 3, 2018

Jim Craig – Jimmy Johnstone and Willie O’Neill share historic Celtic moment

On this day in 1966, there was a crowd of around 20,000 packed into Love Street, in Paisley, the home of St Mirren for the visit of Celtic in a League Cup tie...

The Celtic Star · Aug 3, 2018

Willie O’Neill’s goal-line clearance. David Potter on Celtic’s League Cup Triumphs – Win No.4

Everyone knows that 1966/67 was the season in which Celtic won everything including the European Cup.

The Celtic Star · Apr 28, 2018

Remember today, the Lisbon Lion Willie O’Neill

ON 28 APRIL 2011 we heard of the passing of Lisbon Lion Willie O’Neill...

VideoCelts · Oct 30, 2017

Celtic fans turn on Michael Kelly over Lisbon Lions snub

Kelly claimed that the Lions consisted of 11 players while almost every fan recognises the part played in the success by players such as John Fallon, John Hughes, Joe McBride, Charlie Gallagher and Willie O’Neill...

Celtic Underground · Sep 15, 2017

Unsung Hero – Willie O’Neill

Willie O’Neill’s Celtic first game in a Celtic jersey came about in the strangest of circumstances...

Daily Record · Apr 28, 2011

Tributes pour in after ex-Celtic star Willie O’Neill passes away aged 70

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