United Kingdom

Grandson of Celtic legend Billy McNeill is found dead in Amsterdam

The 21-year-old grandson of Celtic legend Billy McNeill has been found dead in Amsterdam, his mother revealed today. 

Matthew McCombe had been missing since he left his hotel in the Dutch capital on March 14, during a holiday to celebrate his 21st birthday. 

After a two-week search which was hampered by the coronavirus outbreak, Matthew's body was found in a canal on Wednesday morning. 

'Matthew was much loved by all and our hearts are broken', his mother Paula McCombe - the daughter of the Scottish football legend - said in a tribute today.  

Matthew McCombe (pictured left) had been missing since he left his hotel in the Dutch capital on March 14 (he was seen in the lift, right), during a holiday to celebrate his 21st birthday

Matthew McCombe was the grandson of Billy McNeill (pictured), the captain of the Celtic side which won the European Cup in 1967

Matthew's mother said today: 'It is with great sadness that we are announcing our son Matthew McCombe's body was found this morning. 

'We would like to thank everyone who has helped in the search for Matthew and for the love, compassion and kindness that has been extended to us since our arrival in Amsterdam.'

Amsterdam police said the body had been found this morning in Duivendrecht, south-east of the city centre. 

Police had been searching the Amstel river since Matthew was last seen in the early morning of Saturday, March 14. 

The country's National Underwater Search Team had been using sonar technology from an inflatable boat to search the river.  

Matthew had left his Novotel City hotel at 6.15am on the Saturday morning, where he was seen in the lift. 

Shortly afterwards, he was seen jogging over a bridge near Amstel station, but was not seen again after that. 

Matthew McCombe's mother Paula, the daughter of Billy McNeill, announced her son's death this morning and said 'our hearts are broken' 

Matthew, pictured, had not been seen since March 14, when he left his hotel early in the morning and was subsequently seen jogging over a 

Pictured left: Billy McNeill's greatest triumph, collecting the European Cup for Celtic in 1967. He is pictured right in 2012 

Matthew's mother Paula and father Charlie travelled to Amsterdam to assist the search, but rescuers had to keep their distance from each other.  

His family urged people to look in the river and canals when they walked past, but people have been urged to stay at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Police were also understaffed because of the demands of managing the outbreak and lockdown rules, Matthew's family said.  

Celtic FC and former player Kenny Dalglish had led the appeals to help find Matthew because of his connection to the Glasgow team.  

Billy McNeill, who died last April aged 79, was captain of the legendary Celtic side which won the European Cup in 1967. 

The team was known as the Lisbon Lions after the venue where they beat Inter Milan in the final, becoming the first British team to win the trophy. 

McNeill spent his entire 18-year career at Celtic and played 790 games. Although a defender, he scored 34 goals including a crucial one in the 1967 campaign. 

He subsequently had two spells as Celtic manager, leading the side to four Scottish titles in the 1970s and 1980s.  

When he died last year the club hailed him as 'Celtic's greatest ever captain'.   

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