Tributes have been paid to a talented young Fife footballer and Dundee student who was tragically killed at the weekend.
Family, friends and teammates of Ross Cook, who played for Newburgh Juniors Football Club, have expressed their sorrow after the promising 19-year-old passed away while visiting his family in Dumfriesshire.
It is understood Mr Cook, who is originally from the Borders, was struck by a train at Kirkconnel following a night out with friends on Saturday.
British Transport Police were called on Sunday morning to investigate a report of a body by the railway track, and officers believe Mr Cook’s death was the result of a tragic accident.
The sad news has shocked the student community at Dundee’s Abertay University, where he was studying and played football for the university’s men’s team, and also those who knew him in junior football circles.
Newburgh’s game away to Coupar Angus in the East Region North league on Saturday has also been postponed as a mark of respect.
His sister Ashley took to social media on behalf of the family to thank everyone who had sent messages, flowers and cards in the wake of her brother’s passing, adding that she had lost the “best wee brother and a special friend”.
“We are heartbroken and nothing will be the same again without Ross, he was one in a million,” she added.
Mr Cook’s funeral is due to be held at St Bride’s Church in Sanquhar at 10.45am on Saturday morning, with a collection being organised for Sanquhar Academy PE Department and Abertay University FC – both of which held a special place in his heart.
James Nicholson, director of student services at Abertay, said: “Ross was a well-regarded student, classmate, footballer and friend to many, who was flourishing in the academic environment.
“Our thoughts are with his family at this time and support is being offered to our students.”
A spokesperson for Newburgh Juniors confirmed the club had been given permission to cancel this weekend’s fixture as players and staff try to come to terms with what happened.
“Ross signed for Newburgh in season 2016-17 and re-signed to the club on his return to Abertay University in September 2017,” the club said.
“Everyone at Newburgh Juniors’ thoughts are with Ross’ family and friends at this sad time.”
Amid a flurry of tributes and messages on Facebook dedicated to Ross, Abertay University Football Club also paid its respects.
“All members from past and present understand how tightly knitted Abertay Football Club are as a group,” it said.
“Ross just entered his second year with the club and was evidently Abertay daft within a number of training sessions after his arrival.
“Ross not only greatly contributed on the park as a regular in the first team but also contributed greatly to every night out and will remain in the hearts of everyone at Abertay FC.”
A British Transport Police spokesperson said officers had been called to Kirkconnel at around 11am on Sunday after a body was discovered.
“Officers attended along with the ambulance service but sadly a man was found to have died at the scene,” it added.
“His family have been informed and his death is not currently being treated as suspicious.”