Clyde defender Mark McLaughlin has urged his devastated Bully Wee team-mates to earn promotion to League One as a tribute to late former team-mate Chris Mitchell.
Mitchell, who left the Broadwood club in January to pursue a full-time job outside the game, tragically died on Saturday after being hit by a train at a level crossing near Stirling.
News of the 27-year-old’s death broke as Clyde returned from their clash at Elgin City, having secured a play-off semi-final aggregate win over the Black and Whites.
Experienced former Hamilton centre-half McLaughlin insists the former Falkirk, Bradford and Queen of the South player was a hugely popular figure during seven months at the club.
And McLaughlin hopes Clyde can commemorate the life of their one-time colleague by overcoming Queens Park in the play-off final, starting in tonight’s first leg.
McLaughlin said: “The mood after the game on Saturday was great, you’ve reached the final.
“But it was obviously dampended with the sad news that we lost one of our team-mates.
“It was disbelief when we heard it. To be honest, I still don’t think it’s sunk in, I can’t believe it.
“You won’t meet a nicer guy, he was a lovely, lovely guy.
“The time he was here, all the boys got on great with him. He was quiet but you got a bit of banter with him as well.
“He left because he got the chance of a job and he couldn’t work it in with his football.
“Even after he left, a lot of the boys still spoke to Mitch as well.
“Emotions will be running high because he was a character in the dressing room and the club.
“It will be a hard night but hopefully at the end of it we get the result we desire. Hopefully we can do it for Mitch.”
Clyde are planning a minute’s silence in memory of Mitchell before tonight’s match and McLaughlin admits it will be emotional evening for everyone at the club.
He added: “We’re hurting as a team.
“You see all the players and ex-players talking about him. It just shows how much he was loved in the game and it’s a sad, sad loss.
“It’s a hard one to take but on Tuesday we need to make sure we go and play the game.
“We remember him with a minute’s silence then we go out and give it our all, and hopefully get the result.”
Clyde manager Barry Ferguson recruited Mitchell from Queen of the South last summer and went on to hand the player a total of 18 appearances.
Ferguson said: “We’re all totally devastated by the news.
“I signed Chris and got to know him as his manager; he was an important part of our team.
“On the park he was great for me and he had one of the best set piece deliveries I’ve worked with in football.
“In addition to that I can honestly say, hand on heart, I never had a minute’s trouble with Chris. He was an excellent professional.
“He was a great guy around the dressing room. It’s sometimes easy to say these things after tragic news, but it’s completely true.
“I was really disappointed to lose him from the squad in January, but I had to respect the opportunity he had in full-time employment.
“We were both open to the idea of him coming back to Clyde in the future.
“Our condolences go out to Chris’s family and our thoughts are with them. I know that the boys will give it everything in the play-off final this week for Chris, to do him and his family proud.”