A PHYSIO suffered a massive heart attack while celebrating his side scoring a goal.
Keep-fit fanatic Jeff Gray, 54, collapsed in the dug out at Penicuik Athletic’s home match against Bathgate on Saturday after his team took a 2-0 lead.
The referee abandoned the match while a paramedic and fireman in the crowd rushed to help him.
But their efforts proved to be in vain and the dad-of-two died en route to hospital.
Jeff had been on the club’s staff for 12 years and Penicuik manager Craig Meikle, said the club was in shock.
He said: “It was the 62nd minute in the match and we had just scored the second goal.
“I thought he had just fainted as it was a lovely warm day and he was often animated on the sidelines.
“We tried to attend to him and there was a paramedic at the game who rushed to his aid and an off-duty fireman gave him CPR for a good ten minutes before the ambulance arrived.
“We were all together when we got the phone call from his wife to say he hadn’t made it. Everyone at the club is devastated, it is such a massive loss.”
Jeff, a taxi driver, was said to “live and breath football” and was a fitness fantastic who always encouraged the players to train hard.
He joined the club when it reformed in 2002 at its then new home at Penicuik Park.
The club had been enjoying a successful start to the season with Saturday’s fixture a top of table clash in the East Premier League.
Friends and family said they took consolation knowing he had died watching his beloved team.
Craig added: “I’ve been speaking to his wife Jane and we both said the fact the last thing he’s seen is us scoring to go 2-0 up is a bit of a comfort.
“It’s the club he has loved and supported over the years. He’s been a father figure here to a lot of the boys and they are going to be lost for a wee while.”
Flowers have been left in the park by players past and present while other clubs have taken to Twitter and Facebook to post their condolences.
Ryan Gay, 27, the longest serving player in the current squad, said “football won’t be the same again.”
He said: “I spoke to Jeff on a daily basis, he was just such an approachable guy. As soon as you met him, you felt like you had known him all your life.
“It won’t be the same here again without Jeff, football in general won’t be.”
Fellow player Keith Barr said his death would leave a “massive hole” at the club and on a personal level.
Club president John Fraser said: “He was a great friend to everyone at the club and he thought the world of the players that he treated.
“The players are devastated and in total shock. It will take a while for it to sink in. He meant so much to everyone here.”
He leaves wife Jane and children Stephanie and Paul.