Tayside and Central Scotland

Former footballer Darren Wilcox dies from cancer aged 21

Darren Wilcox
Image caption Darren Wilcox during his time at McDiarmid Park

Tributes have been paid to former St Johnstone, East Stirlingshire and Kilmarnock footballer Darren Wilcox, who has died of cancer, aged 21.

The left-back was the youngest ever player to make an appearance for Saints, aged 15 years and nine months.

Most recently, the Perth man had been with junior club Luncarty.

Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin, who played with him at Saints, tweeted: "Shocked at the news. He was a great lad and a pleasure to have coached."

It is understood that Darren had been battling the illness for more than 18 months.

A spokesman for Luncarty Juniors, who play in the East Region Central Division, said: "He was a very talented young lad who had so much going for him and sadly passed away on Friday.

"He will leave a great gap in so many lives. We as a club are very proud to have had Darren as part of our team and he will be sadly missed."

Wilcox joined his local club, St Johnstone, at under-14 level and progressed to the fringes of the first team before signing as a full-time professional in the summer of 2007.

Minute's silence

He became their youngest player when he made an appearance against Brechin City in a Forfarshire Cup tie, but he left to join Shire in 2008.

After a short spell as part of Kilmarnock's youth set-up, he returned to the Third Division club then joined Luncarty during the 2009-10 season.

St Johnstone said on Twitter: "Club very sad to learn of the death of former youth player Darren Wilcox, who lost his fight against illness."

Shire plan a minute's silence before Saturday's Scottish Football League match at home to Peterhead at Ochilview.

Head youth coach Derek McKenzie said: "The youth department at the club was devastated to hear of this sad news.

"Darren was an excellent footballer as well as being a great person to have around the club and our thoughts go out to his family."

Former St Johnstone team-mates Alan Main, Stevie May and Bobby Barr were among those to also pay tribute on Twitter.

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