Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 17:19 UK

Ex-footballer found dead in canal

Brian McLaughlin
Brian McLaughlin played for clubs including Celtic, Motherwell and Falkirk

Ex-Celtic player Brian McLaughlin has been found dead in a canal in Falkirk.

The 54-year-old's body was pulled from the Union Canal, near the Falkirk Tunnel, at about 1200 BST on Thursday.

His family said his death was a "tragic accident". Police said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.

McLaughlin made his debut for Celtic in 1971 and also played for Ayr United, Motherwell, Hamilton Accies and Falkirk. He coached St Mirren.

His wife Marion, 53, said: "Brian lost his life due to a tragic accident, which we are all trying to come to terms with.

"The family is devastated by his loss - he was a grandfather, father, brother and husband and will be missed by everyone who knew him locally and beyond.

"Brian played football for a number of teams in Scotland over the years and loved the game."

A statement on the Celtic website said: "Everyone at Celtic Football Club is deeply saddened by the news of the sudden passing of former player Brian McLaughlin.

"The talented midfielder, who made a total of 20 appearances between 1971 and 1977, has passed away at the age of 54."

The statement continued that McLaughlin was regarded by his peers as one of the finest players to emerge from the youth system.

He made his debut for the club as a 16-year-old in a league cup quarter final against Clydebank, which Celtic won 6-2.

A severe knee injury, caused by a bad tackle, in 1973 meant that his career in the top level was, in effect, over.

However, he did score for Celtic in a five-nil European Cup clash against Jeunesse D'Esch in 1977 and after leaving the club he had a successful spell with Ayr United.

Celtic FC said the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club were with Brian McLaughlin's family.

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