Gary Mackay: Dave was ‘the Real Mackay’ of Hearts

Despite living in England, Dave Mackay always did his best to attend Hearts-related functions
Despite living in England, Dave Mackay always did his best to attend Hearts-related functions
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We might have shared a surname and the privilege of being able to play for Heart of Midlothian, but I think it’s safe to say history will show that Dave was very much “The Real Mackay” of our great football club.

Having the same name didn’t put any extra pressure on me as a Hearts player because I was realistic enough to know that he was on an entirely different level to myself.

By the time I eventually played for Hearts, I was under no illusions that anything I would do in the game would pale in significance compared to Dave Mackay’s phenomenal achievements.

As a Hearts supporter growing up, people couldn’t speak highly enough of him.

While most kids of my age were being read bedtime stories, I was being told by my grandfather and my nana about how good Dave Mackay and the rest of the Hearts players from that golden era in the 1950s and 60s were. Dave’s name was always high on the list of those mentioned, if not top.

Bearing in mind that he didn’t play for the biggest clubs in either Scotland or England, what he achieved as an individual was absolutely magnificent.

As a Hearts player, he was pretty much peerless.

I had the privilege of meeting him a few times and he was a great man. Although he remained in England, he always did his utmost to attend Hearts-related events if he could.

I remember when the father of Brian Cormack, who is on the board of the Foundation of Hearts, met Dave at one of the Hall of Fame dinners and he was like a young child. This was a mature man and the highlight of his night was getting to have a conversation with Dave Mackay.

Seeing a man like Mr Cormack, who was old enough to remember him as a player, almost starstruck just highlighted to me the stature of Dave Mackay as a Hearts player.

It was fitting that Hearts served up a record-breaking 10-0 scoreline as a farewell to somebody who is unlikely to be surpassed in Hearts’ history. Dave Mackay’s legend will live on for years and years to come.