HEARTBREAKING tributes have been paid to a “one in a million" former football boss after his sudden death at just 44.
Alan Paterson, who was an ex-manager and player at junior side East Kilbride Thistle, tragically passed away yesterday.
It is understood the devoted dad was found unresponsive at his home in the Lanarkshire town following a medical incident.
His family and local football community have been left distraught by the hugely popular Royal Mail worker's death.
The tragedy follows a difficult few months for Alan’s partner Julie and his two sons Aiden, 10, and Kian, six.
Back in April, Alan – who also previously managed Cambuslang Rangers and was a talented juniors star in his playing days – was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries after an attack on a night out.
He was left with a huge scar on his face and serious head injuries.
He stepped down from his role as joint Thistle manager following the incident and announced he was taking time away from the game.
Scores of tributes have been paid to the former coach – known as Patsy – on social media.
East Kilbride Thistle paid tribute to the "well-loved figure in the town" in a heartfelt statement on Facebook.
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The club wrote: "The club are devastated to learn of the sad passing of former player and manager Alan Paterson.
"Patsy was a well loved figure in the town and at the club where he served as a player and manager twice.
"Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his family at this time."
Current EK Thistle player and ex-teammate Barry Russell said: "Rest in peace Alan Paterson still can’t believe it you were one in a million and loved your football and took me under your wing when a first signed with East Kilbride . Will miss your football chat and your patter thinking of all Alan’s family at this horrific time."
Radio DJ Suzie McGuire wrote: "Rest in Peace Alan. Thoughts with Julie and your 2 gorgeous wee boys."
Lowland league side East Kilbride FC – where Alan's young sons play in the youth set-up – said: "East Kilbride Football Club is saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Alan Paterson, a dear friend and former youth coach at the club.
"Condolences to his wife, Julie, and sons Kian & Aidan, who currently play in our youth team structure.
"Alan will be sadly missed."
A fundraiser has been set up since Alan's death in a bid to raise money for his family.
Many have taken to the page to pay their respects.
One wrote: "RIP Alan always good to have the odd wee chat with you. One of life’s good guys."
Another said: "RIP Alan…gem of a guy! Love and strength to all your family."
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A third wrote: "Condolences to Julie and the boys. Absolute gem of a man. Never without a smile on my face when he was around."
And one more said: "RIP Alan what an amazing guy."
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