Hearts legend Dave Mackay passes away

Dave Mackay - pictured in 2000. Picture: Paul Chappells
Dave Mackay - pictured in 2000. Picture: Paul Chappells
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TRIBUTES have been paid to former Hearts and Scotland midfielder Dave Mackay following his death at the age of 80.

Mackay, who was part of Tottenham Hotspur’s 1961 double-winning team, passed away at a hospital in Nottingham yesterday, the Barclays Premier League side announced.

Edinburgh-born Mackay won all three Scottish domestic honours with Hearts in the 1950s.

He also starred for Derby County, where he won the First Division title as manager in 1975.

In a statement, Tottenham said: “We were saddened to hear of the death of our former captain Dave Mackay who passed away at the Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham, this evening (Monday March 2). He was 80.

“He was a superb player who possessed all the technique, passing ability and talent to be the complete footballer.

Spurs captain Dave Mackay is crowned by teammate Jimmy Robertson after victory in the 1967 FA Cup Final. Picture: Getty

Spurs captain Dave Mackay is crowned by teammate Jimmy Robertson after victory in the 1967 FA Cup Final. Picture: Getty

“He was the heartbeat of our 1961 ‘Double’ side, was then a key member of the team that retained the FA Cup the following season and, although injury kept him out of our 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph, he had played a vital role in getting us there.

“He formed a marvellous midfield combination with Danny Blanchflower and, when the Northern Ireland international left us in 1964, Mackay took over as Spurs captain and led us to another FA Cup triumph in 1967. He twice broke the same leg in our cause but, each time, came back stronger than ever.”

Mackay, who earned 22 caps for Scotland, began his career with Hearts in 1953 and captained the side to the Scottish League title during the 1957-58 season.

The Edinburgh-born player moved south of the border to join Spurs in 1959 and helped the north London club become the first English side to win the league and FA Cup double during the 1960-61 season.

Mackay helped Tottenham retain the FA Cup the following season and was captain when Spurs lifted the trophy again in 1967.

Dave Mackay’s last newspaper interview with The Scotsman in 2009

He joined Derby in 1968 and helped Brian Clough’s side win promotion to the First Division the following year before taking up a player-manager role at Swindon Town in 1971.

A year later Mackay left the Robins to manage Nottingham Forest for a brief spell before succeeding Clough as Derby manager in 1973, with the Rams winning the First Division title in 1975.

Mackay, who was admitted to hospital with a chest infection in 2012, also managed Walsall, Doncaster, Birmingham and several sides in the Middle East.

Hearts also paid tribute to Mackay, who won four trophies in six years with the Edinburgh side.

“Heart of Midlothian FC was deeply saddened to learn of the death of legend Dave Mackay earlier this evening,” a statement on the Scottish Championship club’s website read.

“Dave lost his long battle with illness at the age of 80 with his family at his bedside in Nottingham.

“A fearless defender regarded as the club’s greatest-ever player, Dave won the league title, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup (twice) with Hearts before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County.

“Our sincerest condolences go to his family at this extremely sad time.”

The Scottish Football Association have confirmed a minute’s applause will be held in honour of Mackay before Scotland’s friendly against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park on March 25.

A statement released on the SFA website read: “The Scottish FA is deeply saddened by the news of Dave Mackay’s death.

“He was a legendary figure with Heart of Midlothian, Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County; an inspirational pillar for the clubs with whom he played with distinction and, of course, his country.

“Dave played 22 times for Scotland and was instrumental in helping his country qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals in Sweden in 1958.

“His last international appearance occurred against Northern Ireland in 1965 and the Scottish FA believe it is appropriate that a minute’s applause should be observed in his honour prior to the forthcoming match against Michael O’Neill’s side at Hampden Park on Wednesday, 25th March.”

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