A giant of junior football has his funeral today after losing a brave fight against Covid-19 - with just a handful of mourners present.

Franny McNeill - known as “Mr Pollok” because of his long association with the club - died on April 2 at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in south Glasgow aged just 70.

And rather than the 500 or so people who would have wanted to pay their respects, only 10 people will be at the service at Craigton Crematorium under strict new social distancing rules.

In a sign of the desperate times faced by families across the land, it will be close family only for the service.

Franny - second from the right, front row, as a bustling striker with Dalkeith Thistle in 1970

Franny, a dad-of-two and grandad-of-two, became ill even after adhereing to lockdown rules.

Son Paul, 39, who himself played for the south Glasgow junior club, said:”He went to one committee meeting only and went to the pub once.

“Then the new strict rules came in and he stuck to them.

“He became unwell and had to go to the Queen Elizabeth.

“He had been coughing mucous and then became delirious. It happened so quickly.

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“After admission we were told he had pneumonia in both lungs and that he was very ill.

“He then tested positive for coronavirus.

“Although he was poorly we still had hope and he seemed to rally.

“But at 6.45 am last Thursday my sister Michelle got the call we were dreading.”

Franny’s death is even more devastating because his widow Elizabeth, 71, is being shielded by the family.

It means Paul and Michelle, 44, and the wider family have to keep their distance from their grieving mum.

Paul said:”She is being brave about it and we are staying in the garden and that kind of thing, but I think when we leave she has her moments.

“These are tragic times.

“My dad is so well-known in the junior game that in normal circumstances there would probably be about 500 people at the funeral, but the undertakers have told us the limit is 10 and we understand why.

“We know that my dad got the best care at the Queen Elizabeth.

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“He was so strong and if it can happen to my dad it really can happen to anyone.”

Franny was a legend at Pollok and also played for other clubs in his prime as a player.

Pollok FC said had had left an “enduring legacy” in the junior game and would be “dearly missed” by all at Pollok.

In a tribute the club said:”It is with great sadness that we must report the passing of Pollok stalwart Francis McNeill after a short illness. “Known to all and sundry inside and outside Newlandsfield as Franny, he left behind an enduring legacy in junior football.

“During a long playing career as a centre-forward, Franny featured for clubs in both the East and West regions including Dalkeith Thistle, Camelon, Petershill, Arthurlie and of course, Pollok.

“A prolific goalscorer, Franny netted 11 times from 17 starts in his one season at Newlandsfield as a player.

“After retiring from playing, Franny finally settled at home at Pollok.

“He joined the general and match committees in 1985 and served as match secretary from 1992 till 2019, and a four year spell where he served as Vice President and President.

“Franny’s presidency of the club was hugely successful and saw the club win both the league and Evening Times cup.

“Above and beyond his own achievements at Pollok, Franny was immensely proud of the fact that his son, Paul, had excelled at the club before his own career was ended by illness.

“In recent years, Franny took a step back from day-to-day committee work, resigning as Match Secretary, but remained an active part of life at the club. Franny served on the management committee of the West Region and also acted as the club’s delegate to the Junior FA.

“Franny was often heard to say at committee meetings that ‘the sign above that door says Pollok Football Club and it’s bigger than every one of us’.

“This encapsulates many of the great qualities that Franny possessed, his humility, his endeavour and his belief in the common good.