Graffiti in support of Petrov painted on Free Derry Wall

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A message of support for former Celtic footballer Stiliyan ‘Stan’ Petrov has appeared on the iconic Free Derry Wall.

The graffiti, which reads “Stan Petrov Ledgend (sic), Get Well Soon xo” appeared on the Free Derry gable wall over the weekend.

Petrov, a former Celtic star and now captain of English Premier League side Aston Villa, was last week diagnosed with acute leukaemia and was due to start treatment yesterday (Monday).

Patrick ‘Pearsey’ Gallagher of Derry’s Paul McStay Celtic Supporters club said while they understand the sentiment behind the graffiti, there are more appropriate ways to show support.

“While we understand people wanting to show support for Stan Petrov there are better ways than defacing Free Derry Wall. They should follow the example of Celtic fans who stood and applauded at Parkhead on Saturday, not deface a national monument.”

He says everyone connected to the Paul McStay Supporters club wish Petrov “all the best’” in his battle with leukaemia.

Paddy McCallion of Derry Number One Celtic Supporters Club also said local fans are right behind the Bulgarian as he battles his illness.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” he says.

“Everyone at the club is right behind him. He was a tremendous player when he was with Celtic and he is still highly thought of by Celtic fans.

“We are all praying for him.”

At Villa Park on Saturday, the former Celt received a standing ovation from both sets of fans during the Villa versus Chelsea game.

Celtic fans also gave Petrov a standing ovation during their game with St Johnstone.

That show of support was choreographed for the 19th minute, the number of shirt which ‘Stan’ wore at both Celtic and now Villa.