Tributes have been paid to former East Kilbride Thistle manager and player Alan Paterson following his shock death at the age of 44.
The father-of-two was found unresponsive at his home in The Murray this morning.
His family and the local football community have been left devastated by his tragic loss, as they try to come to terms with the news following a traumatic few months for his partner Julie and his two sons Kian, 6, and Aiden, 10.
In April this year, Alan suffered a violent assault on a night out in the town that saw him rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The former Claremont High School pupil was left with a large scar on his face and serious head injuries.
The trauma of the incident forced him to step down from his role as joint-manager of Thistle, as well as announcing he was taking time away from the game after a 40-year career.
A postal worker for Royal Mail, Alan was a popular figure in the town and as well as managing and playing for Thistle, he previously played for and managed Cambuslang Rangers.
He also coached at East Kilbride FC, where his two sons play for their youth teams, and both EK Thistle and EKFC issued a statement this afternoon.
Alan’s former assistant boss at Thistle, Billy Dolan, has been left heartbroken and told Lanarkshire Live Sport : “I can’t get my head around it. I’m still numb.
“He was a bundle of laughs but when it came down to football he was serious and he was a winner.
“He was a great guy and the two of us just clicked right away. Before Thistle we were together at EK Amateurs and we took most of those boys down to Thistle with us.
“Every one of us thought so much of Patsy as a person and a football man.
“It’s just hard to imagine I’m not going to see him again, but it’s more for poor Julie and the kids. It’s terrible.
“It will be such a shock to the whole of East Kilbride because so many people knew him and had such good things to say about him. It’s gut-wrenching I won’t be able to have a laugh and a chat with him again.
“My heart is breaking and I am going to miss him so much.”
Former Jags striker Steven McClung said: “He had a heart of gold and he was an absolute gentleman.
“He would do anything for anyone. He was always lively, cracking jokes, and always there for you on the end of the phone when you needed him, or phoning you to see how you were getting on.
“He was an unbelievable guy and I’m absolutely heartbroken. We were just down at the Showpark on Saturday watching the Thistle, I can’t believe it.”
Current EK Thistle defender Barry Russell commented: “It’s horrible news. Patsy was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
“He was always there for you. He was the kind of guy who put everyone else before himself and he was a real football man. He was a really genuine guy and I’m just so shocked.
“He has two wee boys and I’m just really thinking of them and his wife Julie right now. I had been trying to get him back to EK Thistle, but he really wanted to spend his time watching his boys play football.
“It’s just terrible.”
Cambuslang Rangers co-boss Billy Campbell, who is a former team-mate of Alan’s, said: “I’ve known Alan for a long time. He followed Cambuslang as well so we talked very regularly.
“I’m devastated and I just can’t get my head around somebody that young, with such a young family, being gone.
“I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.
“He was such a lovely guy. I know he was struggling after the incident that happened to him, but he had time for everyone.”
Another of his former clubs, amateur side East Kilbride YM where his brother Ian is manager of their Greater Glasgow Premier League team, posted: “Everyone at the Club would like to express our sincerest condolences to the family of Alan Paterson who passed away today.
“Alan played with and captained the YM Caledonian team. Our thoughts go to Julie and his family and his brother Ian who manages the GGPL team. Terrible news.”