Hibs star John McGinn pays tribute to Brandon Walker

John McGinn visited Brandon in hospital.

John McGinn visited Brandon in hospital.

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HIBS star John McGinn visited Brandon at the Sick Kids Hospital after learning of the teenager’s illness.

The midfielder was devastated to hear that the 14-year-old supporter had died.

McGinn said: “Last week I got a call as Paul Kane wanted me to go along and see the wee boy so I was more than happy to do it.

“But I came out the cinema on Friday and I found out he passed away and I couldn’t believe it. It hit me like a ton of bricks and it was so sad. It puts football into perspective so I’m sure all the boys will be wanting to get the win [against Falkirk] on Saturday.

“On behalf of all the players, we’re all thinking about his family and his friends. It was a pleasure for me to put a smile on his face for his last few days and it’s something I’ll treasure.”

McGinn said the pair talked about nothing but Hibs during the visit last Monday.

He said: “He asked me about the drive into training and how Jason Cummings does his hair.

“He said I was his favourite but that Jason wasn’t far behind. We were talking away, he was Hibs daft and had his strip on and I gave him one of my strips framed.

“I couldn’t get it out of my head on Friday night. I was affected a lot more by it than I thought I would be.

“He was an infectious character and I was so surprised by the news. I was in bits, but my mum said to me that it was good I got the chance to put a smile on his face. I would do it every day if I could. It was priceless. When the funeral comes I’ll talk to his family and if I can do anything I will.”

Hibs’ match against Morton on Saturday was called off, but McGinn said he had been desperate to win in Brandon’s memory.

He said: “I was as pumped up as I’ve ever been for a game, but common sense with the weather prevailed. He was a massive, massive Hibs fan and all he wanted was a league-winning team to watch.

“He was talking about hopefully going to the Queen of the South game, which makes this so sad. We moan a lot as footballers but a lot of clubs do good things at this time of year especially.

“We’re all willing to help in any way we can and it’s a privilege if we’re able to put a smile on some faces. There was a couple of kids who weren’t well when I was at St Mirren and I loved spending time with them. They’re aware of the illnesses they have but they just get on with it and they’re so strong, just like their families.

“They don’t have a ‘normal’ life but they try the best they can. We can take these things for granted, when we have everything on a plate.”

McGinn said he was sure that the club would honour Brandon’s memory.

He said: “I saw a minute’s applause was mentioned by the fans as a possibility and we’ll be doing anything we can to help with any dedications.

“It’s a great club for things like that. I’m really glad I met Brandon and it’s just so sad how it’s turned out.”

A Hibs spokesman added: “Everybody at the club was very saddened to hear what he happened and everybody’s thoughts are with his family and friends.”

NEIL McGLADE

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