The victim was white and the attackers of Asian appearance – and the scene of the attack on Glasgow’s South Side is close to where white teenager Kriss Donald was abducted and killed in a racist killing that stunned the UK.
But last night Strathclyde Police stressed they had still to establish the motive.
Detectives said they could not rule out the possibility that the attack on William McKeeney, originally from Malin Head, was racially motivated but there was no evidence at this stage to suggest that it was.
The 57-year-old victim, a lorry driver, was found seriously injured on Melville Street in Pollokshields, just yards from his front door.
He had been out to a nearby chip shop and was attacked as he made his way home early yesterday.
Detective Chief Inspector David Gailey, who is leading the investigation, said: “At the moment, it would appear that it was a completely unprovoked and violent attack.
“Mr McKeeney had been out locally, socialising in the Pollokshaws Road and Nithsdale Road areas. I do not know at this time if he met the two men responsible on his way home or close to his house.
“The natural route home for William, who was well known in the area, would have been via Darnley Street. There is the possibility that someone heard or saw something that will help us catch those responsible for this vicious murder.”
Mr McKeeney was taken to the Victoria Infirmary but he died a short while after arrival.
The suspects, who ran off towards Darnley Street, are both described as being “of Asian appearance”.
One is 6ft 4ins tall, of thin build and was wearing a light coloured hoodie and light grey tracksuit bottoms. The other is said to be of average height and build and wore a navy tracksuit.
A female neighbour of Mr McKeeney said: “William had been coming home with a chippy. He was lying just outside the close with fish and chips spilt all over the street.
“William was then taken on to a stretcher and his wife came out of the flat and went in the ambulance with him to hospital.
“He was a really friendly, helpful good neighbour. I know him and his wife, Ann, and she is going to be just devastated.”
There is widespread shock in Malin Head and surrounding areas today at news of the murder.
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