It is with deep sadness that we have to inform of the passing on Saturday evening of Matthew Craig, aged just 22, a former youth academy player here and one of our senior Academy Coaches.
Matt, from East Kilbride, was a defender and had played for us from u11s through to u19s, and had also played for the Scotland schoolboy u18 team as well. He was part of a great youth team with players coming through the various age groups together – in a squad that included Stephen Hendrie, Craig Watson, Ryan Finnie, Andy Ryan, Dominic Green, Stuart Urquhart, Alan Cairns and Mikey Thomson. Darren Lyon was another who joined that group soon after, along with others like Aldin El Zubaidi and Eamon Brophy, James Martin, Greg Docherty and Scott McMann who were with Matt at u17s, u18s.
He had to initially quit playing through a stomach illness, from which he recovered and came back to play, however he soon switched to coaching and became an academy coach here. Matt was well organised here and was hugely popular with the kids and ran our ever popular after school kids community coaching programmes as well as our easter, summer and October school holiday kids football camps. Matt also was involved in coaching our junior academy teams as well.
However, he was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2016 and bravely fought the illness. He still popped in regularly to visit us and kept us up to date, and he was visited by players and staff.
Head of Youth and Community George Cairns commented, “I am absolutely devastated by this news. I had coached Matt from an early age and had known him from his first day here. He was a huge part of a great squad that we had coming through and progressing well through all the age groups, players that did really well for us like Andy Ryan, Stephen Hendrie, Craig Watson, Stuart Urquhart who moved to Rangers, Ryan Finnie, Dom Green, Mikey Thomson, Alan Cairns and others. They were a great bunch, a real pleasure to work with and watch them all develop, and I can recall a great match at u13s when they defeated Rangers 8-1, Matt was magnificent that day. It’s a very sad day for me.”
Matthews’s funeral is on Friday 2nd February, 2.45pm at South Lanarkshire Crematorium, High Blantyre G72 0TL