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Larne Rangers fan Ryan Baird (39) dies as supporters bus overturns on way to match

The scene of an accident near Bowhouse Prison in Ayrshire, as tributes have been paid to a 39-year-old man who died following a Rangers supporters' bus crash which left 18 other people in hospital. Picture by John Linton, Press Association
John Monaghan

A FOOTBALL fan from Co Antrim has been killed after a coach carrying Rangers fans to a match at Ibrox overturned.

Ryan Baird (39), who was engaged to be married, was originally from Larne but lived in Sanquhar, a town in Dumfries, in the south-west of Scotland.

A total of 37 people were on board including the driver. Three were seriously hurt in the crash, with 18 people in total taken to hospital.

The coach, which was carrying members of the Nith Valley Loyal Rangers Supporters Club, overturned at around 1.15pm on Saturday on the A76 near Kilmarnock and ended up on a grass verge.

One passenger said the bus had "swerved" before landing on its side.

The fans had been travelling to watch Rangers play Partick Thistle at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow in the Scottish Premiership.

Mr Baird's fiancée, Sarah Hughes, shared a poem on social media, written by a fellow fan from the supporters club.

It read: "You wake up and plan, what you are doing today. But never do you think, it will end this way."

"A young lad from Ulster, came here to stay. Cheerful and cheeky and for him I do pray.

"Not even 40, in the prime of his life, engaged to a princess, going to be his wee wife."

The Larne Rangers Supporters Club extended its condolences to Mr Baird, who it said was a former member.

"The committee and members of Larne RSC would like to express our sympathies to the family of Ryan Baird who sadly passed away today on his way to watch his beloved Rangers, Ryan was a ex member of our club and left to start a new life in Scotland a few years ago. Let's raise a glass to absent friends."

Ulster Unionist Antrim and Newtownabbey councillor David Arthurs described Mr Baird as a "great fella."

He said: "I spent many a trip to Ibrox with Ryan when he was a member of Larne RSC before he moved to Scotland a few years ago. He was a great character and was a true Bluenose.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Ryan's family and friends. No-one should go to watch a game of football and not return home. Today puts life in perspective."

The managing director of Rangers FC, Stewart Robertson, said: "Everyone at the football club and every member of our Rangers family is thinking of all of those caught up in this terrible accident.

"While winning today's match was of vital importance everything that happened on the pitch between 3pm and 5pm pales into insignificance in light of this awful news."

Celtic and Linfield also paid tribute to Mr Baird and expressed support for those affected by the crash.

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