Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish has paid tribute to former club captain Jackie McNamara after the latter’s recent battle with illness, writing in his Sunday Post column (16/02 print edition, Post Match supplement, page 11).
As reported by BBC Scotland last week, McNamara collapsed near his home and has spent time in intensive care at Hull Royal Infirmary after an operation and induced coma.
However, in recent days it’s said he is conscious and speaking with family.
McNamara played under Dalglish in the late 1990s when he had a short stint as manager and the former Hoops forward also played alongside Jackie’s father in the 1970s.
In his column this weekend he’s written a glowing tribute, telling The Sunday Post (16/02 print edition, Post Match supplement, page 11): “I was left stunned last weekend by the news that Jackie Mcnamara had collapsed at home in Yorkshire. He went through an emergency operation on Monday and, thankfully, good progress appears to have been made in the past few days.
“I obviously know Jackie’s dad, Jackie Snr, from our playing days together, and young Jackie was at Celtic Park when I returned in season 1999-2000. He was a smashing fella to have around the club.
“Jackie wasn’t the tallest of players, but – my word – he has a heart the size of a lion.
“He would never shirk a 50-50, and gave everything for the jersey. He was a guy every team-mate would want in the trenches beside him.”
Hopefully, we hear more positive updates about McNamara’s condition over the coming weeks. His sudden rush to hospital was a shock to Celtic supporters everywhere.
Personally, he was one of my favourite players growing up and I completely concur with Dalglish’s assessment. He was a fearless competitor who raised his game to an elite level at Celtic Park.
He would give everything asked of him in a Hoops jersey and must have been a brilliant teammate.
Certainly stars past and present, such as Henrik Larsson and Greg Taylor, have been full of praise for him over the last seven days.
The endorsement of a global footballing legend like Dalglish is no small thing and the Hoops icon has summed up why Jackie was so popular with supporters.