Club

Bilbao-Glasgow connection

Today, 9 years ago, Celtic visited San Mamés for the first time, in a relationship reinforced last year with the delivery of the One Club Man to Billy McNeill

Bilbao-Glasgow connection
Bilbao-Glasgow connection
Mar 26, 2020

Nine years ago, on March 26, Celtic visited The Cathedral for the first time for friendly match supporting football of Bizkaia.

The result (a 0-0 draw) was the least important thing of a match that raised great expectations. The day before the match, many supporters came to Lezama to watch the Glasgow training session, a team that just as the then-coach Neil Lennon pointed out, bears many similarities to Athletic: ‘Both clubs share a similar philosophy, tradition and history’.

The following day, Saturday, March 26, over 32,000 supporters, several hundred spirited Scottish supporters amongst them, gathered at San Mames. After offering flowers to the bust of Pichichi, the tradition for any team visiting the Cathedral for the first time, the match took place in a festive atmosphere that left beautiful images at the stands of The Cathedral.

Billy McNeill, One Club Man
The relationship between the two clubs was further strengthened last year with the presentation of One Club Man’s latest award to the historic Glasgow Celtic player, Billy McNeill.

Sick for months, his death on 22 April 2019, just days after the award was announced, prevented McNeill from collecting the trophy.The Athletic Club delegation led by José Ángel Iribar travelled to Glasgow on 18 April to hand to Martin McNeill, Billy’s youngest son, his father’s One Club Man Award.

In addition, last year, on Sunday May 12, at San Mames, at half-time of the match between Athletic Club and Celta Vigo, his daughter Susan and John Clark, McNeill’s former partner in the Celtic defense, collected the award again so that Billy received a posthumous ovation from the more than 42,000 spectators that were gathered at the Cathedral.

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