McNeill is in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame, and was voted Celtic's greatest ever captain in 2002.
"He will be sadly missed".
McNeill's current successors as Celtic manager and player also paid tribute. He steered the club to runners-up spots in the league and Scottish Cup but after only 11 months, again urged by Stein (now in charge of Scotland), he returned to Celtic as manager.
Tributes have been pouring in to Billy McNeill, the first British player to lift the European Cup as captain of Celtic's all-conquering 1967 side, who has died at the age of 79 after a battle with dementia in his later years.
"He was loved by all the players and you don't hear that about all managers".
"Though the man known as "Cesar" to Celtic fans is predominately known for his club career, his Scotland career also saw him help the team to new heights - in his first match as captain of Scotland he led the team to a 1-0 victory over England in front of more than 133,000 fans at Hampden Park".
McNeill's Aberdeen had finished runners-up in the league that year, their best showing since 1972 and three places better than Celtic, but predictably he felt the call from his old club and manager too hard to turn down.
Sharks' Pavelski exits Game 7 with scary injury
Making matters worse, Couture was also given a penalty on the play and Vegas scored to take a 4-3 lead on the ensuing power play. In another unbelievable turn of events, the Golden Knights tied it up with 47 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
A statement issued by McNeil's family read: "It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our father Billy McNeill".
He retired from playing in 1975 after winning his final trophy, the Scottish Cup, and retained a strong association with the club throughout the rest of his life, becoming an ambassador in 2009.
The Scottish Professional Football League tweeted: "The SPFL are saddened to learn of the passing of @CelticFC legend Billy McNeill".
Celtic Football Club's deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers go to Billy's wife, Liz, their children, Susan, Paula, Libby, Carol and Martyn, grandchildren and all his many family and friends at the extremely sad time.
"He was a great man and at this sad time my thoughts are with Liz and her family".
While McNeill had been ill for some time, the news still came as a shock to his fellow Lisbon Lion Bertie Auld, who told Press Association Sport: "Today's news is a tragedy".
Manager Neil Lennon said: "I love Billy's statue, which is the first thing you see whenever you walk up the Celtic Way".