Former Hearts player Sandy Jardine dies at 65

Sandy Jardine, right, and Alex MacDonald in 1988

Sandy Jardine, right, and Alex MacDonald in 1988

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Tributes poured in today for former Hearts and Scotland footballer Sandy Jardine, who has died aged 65.

He said: “His class on the pitch was only matched by his class off the pitch. He really was a classy individual. There was no arrogance. He was an assured, but private man. He had a high level of professionalism that he was able to demand from others.

“He was a massive influence on the Hearts team.

“Alex MacDonald wanted a player/assistant manager and Sandy came in and had a great influence. You only have to look at his fellow defenders like Craig Levein, Dave McPherson and more latterly Alan McLaren, who all went on to play for Scotland. Sandy would have had a big part to play in their development.”

Former Hearts chairman George Foulkes said: “Quite apart from being a football legend, he was a really nice guy so his loss is doubly sad.

“He retained his interest in Hearts right to the end and it was positive and helpful advice he gave us.”

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson described him as a “noble and courageous man”.

Jardine was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago and died peacefully at his Edinburgh home last night, surrounded by his family.

Born in Edinburgh, he spent most of his playing career with Rangers, making his debut aged 18 in a match against Hearts.

He appeared for the Glasgow club more than 600 times, scoring 77 goals in the process. He moved to Tynecastle to play for his boyhood team in 1982 and was appointed co-manager of Hearts alongside Alex MacDonald in 1986.

While MacDonald ran the team from the sidelines, Jardine was still turning out as a player and, aged 38, he was named Scotland’s player of the year for the second time – 11 years after he had claimed the prize whilst playing for Rangers.

Hearts’ official Twitter feed stated: “Heart of Midlothian FC is deeply saddened at news of death of club legend Sandy ­Jardine.

“Our condolences to his family at this time.”

Rangers manager Ally McCoist said Jardine was a “truly remarkable human being”.

He said: “He was respected not only by Rangers fans, but also the wider football community and he is a huge loss to the game.

“We will never see his like again in the modern era.”

The life and times of a ‘classy man’

1948: Born in Edinburgh on December 31.

1967: Made Rangers debut against Hearts, aged 18, and went on to start in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final.

1970: Won first major trophy, the League Cup, after a 1-0 win over Celtic in the final, and made his Scotland debut as a substitute against Denmark.

1972: Won Cup Winners’ Cup with Rangers, having scored in a 2-0 semi-final win over Bayern Munich.

1974: Played in all group matches for Scotland in the 1974 World Cup finals.

1978: Played at second World Cup finals, with one appearance against Iran.

1979: Won last of his 38 caps (nine as captain) against Belgium.

1982: Joined his boyhood team, Hearts on a free transfer at age 33.

1986: Part of Hearts team that came within one game of winning the league title as well as the Scottish Cup. Voted Scottish Football Writers Player of the Year. Promoted to joint-manager alongside Alex MacDonald.