It’s been revealed that Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh attempted to secure knighthoods for Old Firm legends Billy McNeill and John Greig back in 2017.
“Billy at that point was more diminished in his health and it seemed to me that it was perhaps a useful opportunity at that time for him to receive such an honour,” said Archbishop Cushley in an exclusive interview with STV News, 17 June.
“John Greig was also a very distinguished sportsman and I thought there would be some symmetry about that…Both these men are great heroes to their respective communities and football clubs.”
Archbishop Leo Cushley tells STV special correspondent Bernard Ponsonby how he tried to secure knighthoods for Old Firm legends Billy McNeill and John Greig: https://t.co/0CBQIppV2Z pic.twitter.com/KKhkOoftoK
— STV News (@STVNews) June 17, 2019
Archbishop Cushley explained how he believed that McNeill, who lifted the European Cup as Celtic captain in 1967, should have been made a knight before his death in April of this year.
So, in 2017, the Archbishop wrote to the Lord Lieutenant of Glasgow, Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, to request that she petition Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, to knight both Billy McNeill and John Greig, the former Rangers captain and manager. No reply, however, has yet been received.
“It would have completed something that has warmed the hearts of many people in Celtic Football Club and beyond,” Archibishop Cushley said.
During his lifetime, McNeill did receive an MBE in 1974. Meanwhile John Greig also received an MBE in 1977.