Dieter Van Tornhout suffers father loss after Kilmarnock exit

Van Tornhout scores the winner in the 1-0 victory over Celtic at Hampden
Van Tornhout scores the winner in the 1-0 victory over Celtic at Hampden

Dieter Van Tornhout's father has died only days after the striker terminated his contract with Kilmarnock to be closer to his terminally ill parent.

And he has sent a message of thanks to the Scottish Premier League club for their support and offer of an extended summer break back in Belgium.

"It was very kind, but it was unfair to ask them to do that," he said.

"I hope that I can continue to play in Belgium, near my home, my wife and my family."

Van Tornhout had signed an 18-month contract with Kilmarnock in January after leaving Cypriot club Nea Salamis Famagusta.

The 27-year-old, who started his career with Club Brugge, failed to become a regular starter with the Rugby Park outfit, making 13 appearances, more than half from the substitutes' bench.

But he contributed one of their most famous goals - the winner against Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup final.

"I would like to thank everyone at the club - the players, the staff and the supporters for their amazing welcome and for sharing what has been a terrific time for me with Kilmarnock FC," he told Kilmarnock's website.

Lee Johnson, Van Tornhout and Ben Gordon celebrate their League Cup win
Lee Johnson, Van Tornhout and Ben Gordon celebrate their League Cup win

"I was very glad to score such an important goal in the League Cup final, but the goal was for every player, every supporter, every member of staff and for the manager and the chairman.

"I have had a wonderful time at Killie and will never forget my few months in Ayrshire.

"The gaffer and the chairman have been incredibly supportive and understanding."

Kilmarnock had hoped that Van Tornhout would remain at Rugby Park but paid tribute to the striker who has been on trial with Maastricht.

"Everyone at Kilmarnock Football Club was saddened to learn from Dieter Van Tornhout that his father had passed away on Monday afternoon," said a website statement.

"During the course of the summer break, the club offered a variety of solutions to Dieter to allow him to remain at home to spend time with his ailing father.

"Dieter returned to Scotland last weekend to terminate his contract with the club after deciding that he would be unable to continue his career in Scotland, away from his parents.

"The chairman, management, players and staff of Kilmarnock Football Club offer their sincere condolences to Dieter and all of the Van Tornhout family on their sad loss."

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