Football rallies round Glentoran skipper Kane after death of baby son
Glentoran manager Mick McDermott said there has been support from across Irish League football for player Marcus Kane following the death of his baby son.
The Glens captain and his wife Aimee tragically lost Harrie Marcus Kane last week.
At Saturday's match against Carrick Rangers a minute's silence was held for Carrick footballer Jerry Thompson, who passed away earlier this month, with fans and players also paying their respects to the Kane family.
Mr McDermott said: "Everyone at the club is thinking of Marcus and his family. It's a terrible and sensitive time for them, especially with Christmas so close, so he's taking this time to spend with his family.
"Marcus is our captain. He's our leader. He's highly thought of not only by our players, but all around the league, and that was clear from what happened at the match against Carrick on Saturday.
"No one wanted to take away from the other player who had lost his life, but the players at Carrick made the choice to dedicate part of the minute's silence to Marcus and his son.
"It was a very strong gesture and reflects how highly he's thought of, and how much people are thinking of him.
"The club stands behind him, and we'll be ready to welcome him back at any point he feels ready."
The Glens manager confirmed the player would make his own decision about whether to play the team's Boxing Day clash against Linfield. He added: "He will make that decision. It's 100% up to him, we will not be asking him or putting him under any pressure whatsoever, we'll let him have his time and he can make that decision."
In a tweet posted on Saturday, Glentoran FC said: "Deepest condolences to our captain Marcus Kane, Aimee and their daughter Mollie on the tragic loss of their baby boy, Harrie Marcus Kane.
"The love and thoughts of everyone at Glentoran is with the Kane family at this saddest time."
Support also rallied online, with Linfield FC and Coleraine FC sending their condolences to the player and his family.
Linfield FC posted a message on Twitter saying: "Deepest condolences from the staff, players and fans of Linfield FC to Marcus and his family at this very sad time." Glenavon goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey said: "Condolences and deepest sympathies with Marcus Kane, his wife and family at this time."
Former Linfield star Winkie Murphy said: "Thinking of Marcus and his family at this sad time."
Detroit City FC, a club the Glens have a close relationship with, tweeted: "Heartbreaking news from our Glentoran friends. Sending our sincerest condolences from across the Atlantic to Marcus Kane and his family."
Some fans online have also called for a tribute to be paid during the Boxing Day match, with suggestions that supporters join in an applause in the third minute of the game. The move was backed by Linfield and Glentoran fan groups.
1st East Belfast Glentoran Supporters Club posted: "Losing a child is one of the most tragic things that could happen to anyone.
"A parent having their son or daughter taken from them will likely be the most painful experience that could possibly be imagined."