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Thousands gather for final farewell to former Rangers captain Fernando Ricksen

The cortege stopped briefly outside Ibrox Stadium before heading to Wellington Church in Glasgow for the funeral service.

The funeral cortege halted outside Ibrox to allow fans to pay their respects (Jane Barlow/PA)
The funeral cortege halted outside Ibrox to allow fans to pay their respects (Jane Barlow/PA)

By PA Scotland Reporters

Ex-teammates of Fernando Ricksen have joined his family and thousands of fans for a final farewell to the former Rangers star, who died after a long battle with motor neurone disease.

Supporters of the Glasgow club gathered outside Ibrox Stadium as the funeral cortege of the former Light Blues captain halted briefly outside.

The Rangers first team stood at the front door of Ibrox to join supporters in paying tribute to the Dutchman.

Ricksen’s wife Veronika and their family, wearing black football tops with his surname and the number two on the back, left the cars and went into the stadium for a few minutes.

Shortly before the cortege’s arrival at the ground, Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and the first team were dropped off by a coach.

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A Rangers fan holds an order of service for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen. The funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium later today before making the journey to Wellington Church. (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Fans applauded the squad’s arrival and continued as two other coaches drove past – with one carrying nurses who had cared for Ricksen, as well as club legends Mark Hateley and Richard Gough.

Mourners also gathered at Wellington Church in Glasgow, where the funeral service is being held.

A number of Ricksen’s former Rangers teammates, including Tore Andre Flo, Nacho Novo, Neil McCann and Peter Lovenkrands, arrived together.

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon attends the funeral of former Rangers footballer Fernando Ricksen at Wellington Church, Glasgow. (Andrew Millilgan/PA)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who came up against Ricksen in his playing days, was also in attendance.

Jim Boyd, who had come to Ibrox from Livingston, West Lothian, where Rangers play on Wednesday night, told the PA news agency: “He was solid, he was just brilliant.

“It’s sad but proud as well, it just shows you how much people liked the guy as a footballer and a person.

“I’d met him a couple of times at the training and he always took time out to take pictures and sign stuff.

“He could have a laugh with you and stop and talk to you, he was really good.”

Another fan, Stefan Souttar, had only watched highlights of Ricksen but said: “You see all the different clubs here (among the tributes). I’ve seen a Villarreal scarf and all the Celtic tops.

“It just shows he was a well-liked guy. Even though there’s the Rangers and Celtic rivalry, they still come together for respect.”

PA

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