Tributes pour in for former Rangers keeper

Michael Duke in action for Kilsyth Rangers
Michael Duke in action for Kilsyth Rangers

Tributes have been paid from across Scottish football to former Kilsyth Rangers goalkeeper Michael Duke.

The Albion Rovers goalkeeping coach died suddenly at the weekend, and the club broke the news on their website on Sunday.

It wrote: “It is with great sadness and shock that the club has learned of the passing of our goalkeeping coach Michael Duke.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very sad time.”

Albion Rovers postponed its reserve match away to Airdrieonians as a mark of respect.

Albion Rovers u19s coach Josh Gardner said: “Gutted to hear this news. Never meet a nicer a guy, always had time for everyone. He will be missed heavily by all his friends, family and everyone at the club. Sleep tight Dukesy.”

After spells with Armadale and Dalkeith, Michael became a fixture at Duncansfield for a decade being granted a testimonial last year before heading to Cliftonhill..

Kilsyth Rangers tweeted: “Devastating news that our good friend and ex-player Michael Duke has died. Everyone associated with club is gutted. RIP.”

Those who knew him on and off the pitch paid tribute to a man with a ‘heart of gold’..

Scotty Watson said: “Absolute cracking guy. He helped me a lot when I was at Kilsyth five years ago as a youngster.

“He could make anyone laugh ... always gave us good confidence. He had a heart of gold was shocked when I heart the news. Rest easy big man!”

John McGowan added: “Devastating news. The big man was an absolute gent, had the pleasure to play in the same team and share a dressing room with him. Thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Gavin Wallace said: “Played 5s with Mikey years ago and played against him when he was at Armadale. So sorry to hear this horrendous news. Sleep tight Mikey. Thoughts with his family friends and ex-team mates.”

Murray Cockburn said: “Made everyone laugh at school growing up. Thoughts with his family and kids. Always lit up a room with his jokes and wit. Such sad news.”

Cumbernauld United offered solidarity with their neioghbours, tweeting: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Cumbernauld United go to his family and to all our friends at Kilsyth Rangers.

“He was a larger than life character who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. RIP Dukesy.”

Cumbernauld United manager Andy Frame added: “So sad to hear this terrible news. Absolute gentleman, I was talking to him yesterday (Saturday).

“Gutted for the big man’s family. You can see from everyone’s reaction what people thought of him. A real good guy. RIP Dukesy.”

Hundreds of heartfelt tributes poured out as clubs, players and fans learned of the news.

Dunipace tweeted: “Terrible news. A nicer guy and bigger character you wouldn’t find.

“Helped out our under 20s a few times earlier in the season and was top drawer with them. Condolences to the big man’s family from all at Dunipace.”

Jon Connolly said: “Condolences from all at Fauldhouse United, even more devastating as I came to know the big fella on a personal note through our love of goalkeeping and gloves.””

Ex-team mate Lee Sichi said: “Absolutely gutted to hear this sad news, great team mate and lovely big guy. One of the good guys of the game.”

Former Aberdeen goalkeeper Jamie Langfield said: “Awful news. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and also to the Albion Rovers family.”

Martyn Meek said: “So sad, cracking big goalkeeper every time I played against you big man. Thoughts are with the family, rest easy.”