Family of Billy McNeill ‘heartbroken’ after grandson found dead in Dutch canal

By Douglas Barrie, PA Scotland

The grandson of Celtic FC legend Billy McNeill has been found dead in a canal in the Netherlands.

Matthew McCombe was last seen early in the morning of March 14 near Amstel train station in Amsterdam.

Appeals were made on social media for sightings of the 21-year-old – including from the club his grandfather captained.

But Amsterdam police said on Wednesday that a body had been found in the water at the Molenkade in Duivendrecht, about four miles south-east of the city.

A police spokesman confirmed the body was that of the missing Scot.

He said: “This morning we found a corpse in the water at the Molenkade in Duivendrecht.

“Our colleagues discovered that this is the missing Matthew McCombe.

“We are investigating the cause of death.”

Mr McCombe’s mother Paula posted a family statement on Facebook saying their “hearts are broken”.

It is with great sadness that we are announcing our son Matthew McCombe’s body was found this morning. Matthew was…

Posted by Paula Jane Mccombe on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

She said: “It is with great sadness that we are announcing our son Matthew McCombe’s body was found this morning.

“Matthew was much loved by all and our hearts are broken.

“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.

“As a family we would kindly ask for our privacy to be respected in these sad times.”

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said in a statement: “The passing of Matthew is devastating news for the entire McNeill family and our thoughts and prayers are very much with all family members at such a very difficult time.

“We know the search for Matthew has been long and difficult and everyone at the club is hugely saddened that it has concluded in this way, with such a heartbreaking result.

“For such a fine young man to be taken so early in his life is a real tragedy.

“Clearly, we will be here to offer the McNeill family our absolute, heartfelt support.”