Former Celtic captain Jackie McNamara told how a life-threatening brain haemorrhage changed his outlook on life - and he was touched by messages of support from rival fans.

McNamara, 46, suffered a brain haemorrhage in February which he was lucky to survive.

The former Hoops player, who lives in Malton, North Yorkshire, had major surgery at Hull Royal Infirmary.

He said the health scare woke him up to the things he truly valued in his life - and had spooky echoes of the tragic death of former Rangers winger, Davie Cooper, who died aged 39 of the same condition in 1995.

Glasgow Times:

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McNamara said: “I know how close I was to death.

“Now and again, I still get a bit emotional about it.

“I’ve thought about Davie Cooper a lot – I know he passed away from the same thing which happened to me.

"He wasn’t as lucky as I have been in surviving it.

“I was lucky my wife Sam was beside me and was so quick to call the emergency services.

"Fortunately, there were paramedics nearby to our house in Malton at the time.

“Within five minutes, they were with us. Had they not been as close by as they were, I don’t think I would have made it.

"They got fluids into me and got me to hospital in York. So feeling lucky is the biggest emotion I have right now – 100 per cent.

"I know I was struggling, I know how touch and go it was.”

After a diagnosis at York Hospital, McNamara was transferred to a specialist unit in Hull.

His recovery has not been straightforward and he has had to return to hospital twice but has been told he doesn’t need further surgery.

He said: “Immediately after the initial operation, when they had to put me into an induced coma, they told Sam I might not wake up.

“That was obviously unbeknown to me at that point, but scary for Sam and the family.

"It’s another reason I’m just so grateful to be here today.”

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Henrik Larsson latest Celtic legend to send love to stricken Jackie McNamara after 'brain bleed'

The ex-Scotland defender said he was moved by messages of support from Rangers fans, as well as Hoops supporters.

He said: “All of the well-wishing I received was incredible.

“There were obviously so many messages from Celtic fans, but also from Rangers fans, which I really appreciated.

"That was so nice and really helped me and the family.”

McNamara is making a gradual return to work as head of his Consilium Sports Group, a sports and entertainment management firm based in Edinburgh.

Their charity arm will be supporting Headway, the brain injury association, to raise funds and also increase awareness of the issues he has faced.

He added: “Because you’ve been close to death, the health specialists speak to you about the possibility of suffering post traumatic stress disorder.

“My outlook on things has definitely changed.

"There are things in life you can take for granted.

"I felt I was as fit as any 46-year-old and then this happened to me.

"So it’s given me a different outlook on life, on being happy, on appreciating your friends and family and not worrying about things which would have bothered me before.”