Sport International Soccer

Sunday 23 September 2018

'I will always remember that wee boy who never gave the ball away' - Stars bid farewell to Liam Miller

Shaun Maloney (left), Aiden McGeady (centre) and Martin O'Neill (second right) attend the funeral of former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller, at St. John the Baptist Church in Ovens, County Cork
Shaun Maloney (left), Aiden McGeady (centre) and Martin O'Neill (second right) attend the funeral of former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller, at St. John the Baptist Church in Ovens, County Cork
Roy Keane (centre) and Martin O'Neill (right) arrive for the funeral of former Celtic and Manchester United footballer Liam Miller

Celtic legend Willie McStay has played a glowing tribute to former Ireland international Liam Miller, who lost his battle with cancer on Friday.

McStay supervised Miller's arrival in Glasgow as a talented schoolboy who made his debut in 2000.

"Nothing seemed to faze him - and to me he seemed like a Celtic player," said said McStay at Miller's funeral mass in Cork..

"Liam became a favourite of the Celtic support...and he fulfilled his boyfriend dream of playing for the two clubs he loved as a boy (Celtic and Manchester United)."

"But I will always remember that wee boy who never gave the ball away and who could run all day."

"It was a joy to work with him and to know him.

"Liam - you will Never Walk Alone," Mr McStay said as he vowed that the Millers will always remain part of the Celtic family.

As well as playing for Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland, Miller also played for Sunderland, Leeds, QPR, Hibernian, Cork City as well as clubs in Australia and the US.

Former Republic player and manager Steve Staunton, Roy Keane, Martin O'Neill and John O'Shea were among the mourners.

Miller's former Republic team-mates Kevin Doyle and Aiden McGeady also attended.

Miller grew up in Ovens, a village in County Cork, and although he played Gaelic football, his real passion was soccer, with a fondness for Celtic taken from his father Billy, a Scotsman from Motherwell.

Amid a flood of tributes, one from Celtic's official Twitter account said: "Everyone at #CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA."

Celtic players wore black armbands in Mr Miller's memory during their William Hill Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

David Beckham and Wayne Rooney were among those who led the tributes to their former Manchester United team-mate.

Beckham posted: "Our thoughts are with Liam's family .. Rest In Peace".

Both played with the 36-year-old during his two-year spell at Old Trafford in the 2005/06 season and the club expressed their sympathy on Saturday.

A tweet read: "Manchester United is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our former midfielder Liam Miller. We extend our condolences to his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."

Manchester United players wore black armbands during the team's Premier League clash at Newcastle on Sunday in memory of Miller.

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