CELTIC fans have flocked to Parkhead this morning to lay flowers and pay tribute to Lisbon Lion Billy McNeill.

The former Celtic captain died at the age of 79, his family announced earlier today.

McNeill, who played for Celtic his whole career, was captain of the famous 'Lisbon Lions' side who won the European Cup in 1967 and he also went on to manage the club.

The Evening Times visited the East End to speak to devastated fans who gathered at a statue.

Supporter Mary Taylor said: “I’ve come to pay my respects for one of the greatest Celts ever. I’m absolutely devastated.

READ MORE: Celtic fans across the globe in mourning as Billy McNeill dies

“It’s a tough one for everyone at Celtic.

“He just embodies what Celtic meant: a gentleman, a family man and Celtic to core.

“He was a player, a captain and a manager. He went right through the ranks and was a well respected and kind man.”

Paula McMullen and her seven-month-old baby Alfie headed to Celtic Park when she heard the news.

Paula worked for the club 15 years ago and remembered meeting McNeill on many occasions.

She said: “He was such a nice man, a gentlemen.

“Even though he was busy, he’d always find the time to chat to you.

“He was always full of life and considering eventhing he did, everything he’s achieved in his lifetime, it’s just so sad.

READ MORE: World of football pays tribute as Lisbon Lions captain Billy McNeill dies

“Now you realise how much football players get, and he did all that for the club for nothing.

“Younger players will look up to people like him, he was so inspiring.

“Celtic is a family and my heart goes out to his own family. I know he was battling with things for quite a while.”

Andy Seabrook came down to Celtic Park with three of his friends to “pay his respects”.

He said: “It’s history - obviously the first European Cup.

“It’s a pretty sad, strange feeling. We’re here from England, but were up here to see family and we’re big Celtic fans.

“Everyone knows what he’s done for the club.

“I think people will come together. We’re very much a family club. I think a lot of people will come to pay their respects. It’s a testimony to the man himself.”

Barry Monaghan added: “He’s an icon, isn’t he? He’s a legend.

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“I’ve come to pay my respects to one of the greatest captains.

“I heard a few weeks ago he’d passed, but then his family said it wasn’t true. Then I woke up this morning and saw it, so I was kind of prepared, but it doesn’t get any easier.

“We will maintain his memory, but he’ll be sorely missed.”

“Fans can come up and pay their respects at the statue. I reckon this place will be completely covered by end of day.

“It’s a sad day for Scottish football.”