Retired firefighter saves heart attack victim at Old Firm game

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A RETIRED firefighter saved the life of a fellow Celtic supporter who collapsed with a suspected heart attack during the Old Firm clash earlier this month.

But David McManus is furious at stewards who he claims failed to give the man medical help and initially ordered him to “get back”.

The 57-year-old pushed past the stewards and battled to save the life of the unknown supporter for eight minutes before paramedics arrived.

David, from Haddington, East Lothian, said he had just been on a first aid course and that the skills learned there helped him keep the casualty alive.

 

Mr McManus' quick reactions helped save the man's life before the match kicked off
Mr McManus’ quick reactions helped save the man’s life before the match kicked off

 

David, who now works as a supervisor at a primary school, said he had been told by Celtic that the fan he saved was set to make a full recovery.

The lifelong Bhoys supporter was at Celtic Park on September 10 to watch the clash with Rangers.

The father of three, a firefighter for 26 years, was only at the game because he had taken the ticket meant for his son, also David, who was not able to attend.

David had just sat down in the North Stand ahead of kick-off when he heard a woman’s scream for help through the crescendo of noise prior to the Scotland’s biggest match starting.

After battling his way past stewards, David, found the man, thought to be in his 60s, slumped in his seat and knew he had to act.

 

A photo taken from the Rangers end of the scene among the Celtic crowd
A photo taken from the Rangers end of the scene among the Celtic crowd

 

He said: “The woman was screaming for a medic. I was lucky to hear her over the noise inside the stadium.

“The stewards didn’t react. All they said was, ‘get back, get back’, but I didn’t and went to the man. They’re all meant to be first aid trained and some fans have now put in a complaint about how they reacted.

“The man was slumped in his seat. I didn’t think he was going to make it. He was gasping for air and his colour was changing so I knew I had to act.”

He continued: “I checked for breathing and his pulse, which was very weak. I opened his jacket, lifted his jersey and opened his shirt.

“I started CPR and did that for about eight minutes until the first aiders had managed to make their way through the crowds to get to us.

“One of his friends told me that he had suffered a heart attack two years ago and had stents and had apparently been breathless on the walk up the stairs to the seat.

“Celtic got in touch with me recently and told me that the guy is expected to make a full recovery, which is great news.”

David then helped get the man onto a stretcher before returning to his seat and watching his team beat Rangers 5-1 in the two side’s first league encounter in four years.

“It was quite surreal. I was trying to save a life and 58,000 people had no idea what was going on,” he said.

“Apart from my section, everybody was shouting and cheering.”
Celtic have since thanked David for his heroic actions and offered him and his son a hospitality package at a match of their choice.

He said: “The crowd were patting me on the back and I thought nothing more of it until I got a call from Celtic last Thursday.

“They’d reviewed the CCTV and invited myself and David to a match of our choice. There’ll be hospitality and a chance to meet the players.

“I’m just gobsmacked. I just did what I had to do and thankfully the chap looks like he is going to make a full recovery.”

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