Celtic offer condolences to Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly after father dies at cup final
Monday 19 March 2012
Celtic have offered their condolences to the family of Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly after his father died at the end of yesterday's Scottish Communities League Cup final.
Jack Kelly, 59, suffered a suspected heart attack in the stands at Hampden within moments of the final whistle.
He received emergency treatment yards from the Kilmarnock dugout after his son had helped his team to a 1-0 win over Celtic.
"Celtic Football Club would like to offer its sincere condolences to the family of Kilmarnock midfielder Liam Kelly whose father Jack tragically died following Sunday's Scottish Communities League Cup final at Hampden," a statement from Celtic read this morning.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon expressed his shock at the news.
"All of the management team, players and backroom staff wish to offer our thoughts and prayers to Liam Kelly's family," he said.
"Myself and the entire team are shocked and saddened with this news and our heartfelt condolences go to Liam."
Liam Kelly, 22, was told the news as he and his team-mates celebrated on the pitch and was visibly distraught before being moved away from the scene as paramedics treated his father.
The rest of the Kilmarnock players lifted the trophy oblivious to the unfolding tragedy, but manager Kenny Shiels was aware of the situation and looked on in serious concern.
Kelly rushed to the nearby hospital where his father was taken, but he died shortly afterwards.
The rest of the players were told the news as they toured the Ayrshire town on an open-top bus.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell added: "Everyone at Celtic is devastated by this terrible news. All at the football club are thinking about Liam and the entire Kelly family at this very sad time."
Kilmarnock captain James Fowler admits the cup final win feels hollow after the tragedy.
Fowler said in the Daily Record: "All I could think about was Liam and his family, yet the streets were lined with fans cheering and going crazy about what had happened at Hampden a few hours earlier.
"Of course they were totally unaware of what had happened with Liam's dad.
"The players were genuinely delighted for the supporters as they deserved their moment in the sun after 15 years without a trophy. But we were all just going through the motions. None of us had the stomach for a party."
Fowler added: "As a group we are extremely close and when something like this happens then it has a huge effect.
"I don't think any of the boys can begin to imagine what Liam is going through at the moment. It is desperately sad, particularly as it would have been one of the proudest days of Jack's life.
"Given what happened it feels like we actually lost the cup final."
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