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Ex-Celt found dead in canal

Exclusive by Deborah Anderson

EX-CELTIC player Brian McLaughlin has been found dead in a canal.

The 54-year-old former midfielder, who also played for Ayr United, Motherwell, Hamilton and Falkirk was discovered around 11.30am yesterday.

Police divers recovered his body from the Union Canal in Falkirk.

Although a post mortem was due to be held, there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances.

McLaughlin's body was found close to a canal tunnel near Falkirk High rail station.

His sudden death comes just weeks after former Motherwell player Paul McGrillen, 37, was found dead at his home in Hamilton.

As a Celtic youth signing, McLaughlin was one of the most promising and gifted youngsters in Scotland and the Falkirk-born 16-year-old became professional for Celtic in 1971.

Highly regarded by Jock Stein, he was given his debut in September of that year in the 6-2 League Cup win against Clydebank and within two years took his place in the first team.

In July 1973 against Dundee in the Drybrough Cup in a 4-0 win and went on to play in the final of that tournament. Later that season he starred in an Old Firm victory for Celtic at Ibrox.

Weeks later McLaughlin was badly injured in clash with Clyde's Willie McVie and although he returned from injury he failed to return to form.

He was loaned to Finn Harps in Ireland for the start of the 1976-77 season but his days with Celtic were numbered.

After 20 appearances and one goal McLaughlin went to Ayr United in November 1977. That season he inspired Ayr to a memorable 2-1 win over Celtic with a brilliant individual goal.

He quit playing at senior level in 1987 but went on to coach St Mirren



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