Tributes have been paid to a well-known footballer from Dumbarton who lost his life to cancer last week.

Ross McCuaig, 43, had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer more than two years ago, far outliving the original outlook of two to 12 months.

He prioritised spending time with wife Lesley, son Robbie, and daughters Abbie and Erin, as friends and family rallied around to show their support.

Ross starting playing football with the Boys Brigade and then played for Duntocher and Hibs youth team.

He debuted for Dumbarton FC when he was 16 in the 1995-96 season, and scored when he was 17 in the Scottish Cup. Ross later played amateur for Rhu, Dumbarton Academy, Cardross, and Bishopton.

Dumbarton FC said in a statement on Friday: "It is with very deep sadness that we have learned that Ross McCuaig, who played for Dumbarton from 1997 to 1998, has passed away at the age of 43.

"Ross had courageously been battling illness recently.

Read more: Former Dumbarton FC player describes fight with cancer at charity match

"He made his debut for the club in February 1997, away to Queen of the South. He went on to reach a total of 18 games for Sons, scoring one goal.

"That goal, in a Scottish Cup tie away to Lossiemouth in January 1998, was the only goal of the game and put Dumbarton through to a third round tie with Motherwell at Boghead Park.

"The game with Motherwell, which Ross also played in, ended in a 1-1 draw before Dumbarton were beaten in the replay.

"Ross left the club at the end of that season and went on to play in local amateur football.

"The thoughts of everybody at Dumbarton FC are with Ross's family and friends at this extremely sad time."

David Muir, honorary president of Dumbarton Academy FP, with whom Ross also played, said: "It is with the deepest sadness that we have to report that we have lost one of our own. Ross bravely lost his fight against a terrible illness and passed away earlier today.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all of his family and deerest friends at this extremely sad time. RIP Ross.

"Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

Rhu Amateurs, for whom Ross also played, said in a social media statement: "Everyone at Rhu AFC is saddened to hear of the passing of former player Ross McCuiag.

"The thoughts from everyone associated with Rhu goes out to Ross’s family and friends."

Rhu observed a minute's silence before their match against Colquhoun United in Helensburgh on Saturday in memory of their former player.

As well as a football career, Ross also worked for five years as a postman in Helensburgh and for George Boyd Ironmongery.

Friends also shared their condolences on Ross's Facebook page, where he had been open about his cancer journey.

Chriss Quinn wrote: "Incredibly sad to hear of your passing mate…you were and will continue to be an inspiration to me and I am proud to have called you my friend and my team-mate - god bless you and your family ’Rossco’."

And Mandy Sweeney said: "Where to start what a warrior you put up one big fight. So saddend you have been taken - you are in my thoughts and prayers."

Ross attended a charity football match in May - between Rhu Amateur FC old boys and Dumbarton Academy FP old boys - despite being unwell, to see thousands of pounds raised for the Beatson.

Speaking after the match, Ross said he didn't feel inspriational.

He said: "Once you get cancer, you just get into a mode," he said. "The person I am, I was always going to fight.

"Folk said to me, 'You've always been a fighter on the park, so if you fight the way you did on the park, you'll give yourself a chance'.

"I don't feel I'm doing anything spectacular compared to anyone else or that I'm better than anyone else."

But he told others to make the most of life.

"Don't take life for granted," he said. "I try to get across to people, focus on things that matter, like family. If you've got kids, do as much as you can with people.

"Because you you never know when it's going to change.

"And I've had that bad news, but I could have just stuck my head down. Make what you can out of life.

"You see how close you are to your family. A lot of stuff is negative with cancer.

"But the positive is, look at the bigger picture: because of my attitude, and I have got quite a positive attitude and I'm quite a jokey person and I try my best to make light of things."