Northern Ireland news

Rangers manager attends funeral of Larne fan Ryan Baird who was killed in bus crash

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Magheramorne Presbyterian Church in Larne for the funeral of Ryan Baird. Picture by Justin Kernoghan,
Suzanne McGonagle and Press Association

THE manager of Glasgow Rangers joined mourners at the funeral of Co Antrim fan Ryan Baird who died in Scotland on his way to a match.

The 39-year-old, originally from Magheramorne near Larne, was killed when the coach he was travelling in crashed near Kilmarnock on October 1.

The father-of-two had had been on his way to Ibrox with the Nith Valley Loyal Rangers Supporters Club when the bus overturned.

Almost 20 people were taken to hospital, three of whom were seriously injured.

Hundreds of mourners, including Rangers manager Mark Warburton and several club officials, packed into Magheramorne Presbyterian Church in Larne on Saturday for the funeral.

Mr Baird had been due to marry his fiancee Sarah Hughes next year.

Mourners heard that the former Larne High School pupil had been a Rangers fan since the age of two, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Arty, a life-long devotee of the club.

His funeral followed a memorial service in Sanquhar in Scotland on Thursday where well-wishers wore Rangers scarves and formed a guard of honour outside the the town's St Bride's Church.

Further tributes were paid at the Rangers v Inverness Caledonian Thistle game on Friday when a minute's silence was held in his memory.

Rangers fans also unfurled a banner to the crash victim which read "RIP Ryan Baird".

Following the collision, both Celtic and Rangers issued statements passing on their condolences to Mr Baird's family.

Rod Stewart, a Celtic fan, was among those who donated to a fund, saying: "At sad times like this we are one big football loving family."

Mr Baird, who had been living in Sanquhar for the past four years, is survived by his partner, two adult sons as well as two brothers and two sisters.

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