Current Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson has spoken of his “shock” that one of his Tannadice predecessors, Jackie McNamara, had suffered a suspected bleed on the brain.
Neilson sent his well wishes to the former Dunfermline, Celtic and Scotland player and his family as it emerged he was awake just days after being placed in an induced coma.
Darren Jackson, first-team coach at United during McNamara’s reign, confirmed his close friend had spoken to his loved ones.
Jackson – who plans to visit the 46-year-old at Hull Royal Infirmary – said: “We’ve just heard he’s up speaking. He’s in and out of consciousness.
“They were thinking seven to ten days he was going to be in an induced coma but he’s speaking today so that’s very positive.
“I think it’s one step at a time right now and I don’t think they were expecting what’s happened today.
“I don’t think anybody will be getting carried away.”
🗣'My thoughts are with Jackie McNamara and his family'
— PLZ Soccer (@PLZSoccer) February 11, 2020
Neilson, who had been speaking with McNamara recently, backed him to show the same fight that served him so well on the pitch now that he is being treated in hospital.
“Everyone is wishing Jackie and his family the very best,” he said.
“He was here at Dundee United as manager and I also know him well through football and I hope he gets better soon. I have played against him a lot of times and I also in a few Scotland squads with him as well.
“It is a very difficult time for Jackie and his family and we just have to pray that he pulls through.
“He has had a lot of success at Dundee United, taking the team to cup finals, and he also brought through a lot of young players so he can be proud of his time in charge of this club.
“He was a fighter on the pitch and I am sure he will be the same now.”
Neilson added: “Look at his career – he is one of the most successful Scottish players we have produced for a long, long time for medal counts, his time at Celtic and his international appearances.
“Everyone in Scottish football will be feeling it. It just brings it home how life is precious and you have to make the most of it.
“I saw Jackie a couple of weeks ago because he was doing a bit of work at Dunfermline.
“He was at one of our games and I was speaking to him and so this news has come as a bit of a shock.
“He is 46 and looks after himself. We just hope Jackie will pull through and I am sure he will.”