SCOTT Brown is hoping Celtic's first game since the death of Billy McNeill is a celebration the legendary Parkhead captain's life and career

Brown, the current skipper of the Glasgow club, was saddened to learn that McNeill had passed away after a long illness earlier this week.

The midfielder recalled how the centre half had gone out of his way to help him settle after he signed from Hibernian in 2007.

He admitted that he was honoured to have met and got to know the man who had lifted the European Cup after the historic 2-1 win over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967.

Brown will lay a wreath at the statue of McNeill that stands outside Parkhead before kick-off in the Ladbrokes Premiership game against Kilmarnock today.

And the 33-year-old expressed the hope the game would be a fitting tribute to the memory of a man who also managed the East End club twice.

There will be a 67 second applause before the league match in honour of their Greatest Ever Captain.

"I think we have to celebrate his life for what he did for Celtic as a player and as a manager," Brown told Celtic TV. "He is an absolute hero.

"It is an honour to have known him, met him and spent time chatting away to him.

"When I first came to the club he always had time for the new players. He would come in and chat away. If he was in the directors’ room he would come out and make sure you felt at home."

He added: "As a man, what he did for the club, winning trophies and captaining the club to their greatest ever honour in 1967, was incredible. He was a great ambassador for the club as well.

"I think you have got to remember the good times that he gave us. It was sad to see him in the last couple of years. But I will always remember him chatting away to me and being the fantastic gentleman that he was. To have known him puts a smile on my face.

"He is Mr Celtic. For me, there is nobody else who will ever be bigger at this club. When you speak to all of the older guys, like (John) Clarkey, they have still got so much respect for him for what he did both playing with them and as a manager as well.

"For somebody to have that much respect from every single fan and every single person at the club as well is amazing. It was an honour to even know him."