OF the many people at Junior games in and around Edinburgh tomorrow feeling pain following the death of Jackie Myles at the age of 52, chief among them is likely to be Newtongrange Star manager Alan Miller.
Myles and Miller came through the ranks together at Edina Hibs before becoming team-mates in a successful Bonnyrigg Rose side.
Myles, one of Scotland’s most-capped Junior players who also had spells at Musselburgh, Dunbar, Dalkeith and Arniston, died earlier this week in the Western General Hospital following a short battle with brain cancer.
“It’s a very sad time for me,” admitted Miller, his voice filled with emotion as he paid tribute to his long-time friend. “I knew Jackie since we were 14 and played in the same juvenile team at Edina Hibs.
“We were also in the same midfield for four seasons at Bonnyrigg. We had a great group of players back then and I was saying to Ronnie Tolmie that Jackie is the first one to pass away. As a player, Jackie was a born winner. As well as having ability, he was also hugely enthusiastic. The fact he played until his mid-40s showed his love of football. He had a great knack of scoring goals from midfield. He was very fit and timed his runs into the box to perfection.
“I remember going through to Kilbirnie Ladeside with Bonnyrigg for a National Drybrough Cup semi-final.
“A corner was played back to Jackie who hit it on the volley and it went in off the crossbar. He turned to me and said ‘that’s 30 for the season’. As a person, he was a great family man who was very proud of his son, young Jackie, and also his daughter, Kirsty. He loved fishing and shooting.
“I saw him recently down at Olivebank when Musselburgh were playing Linlithgow. He was just an ordinary guy and a good friend.
“Our lives were intertwined and he will be missed at a lot of grounds in the East Region.”
Bonnyrigg’s New Dundas Park will certainly be one of them and so, too, will Newbyres Park in Arniston.
Myles had two spells there as manager – the first as a player-manager – and his passing away has left the South Division club stunned.
“Jackie was a great servant to Junior football and will be sadly missed,” said Arniston secretary Alan Walker. “Everyone here appreciates what he did for this club.
“With Jackie as player-manager, we won the Fife & Lothians Cup and also secured promotion from the old B Division.
“He was a winner and wanted nothing but the best from his players. He did not suffer fools gladly, that’s for sure.”
In recent times, Myles had become a regular at Musselburgh games after Jackie Jnr moved to the Olivebank club earlier this season. Myles also had a spell as ’Burgh manager and his charges then included David McGlynn, the man who succeeded him and is the current boss.
“Jackie’s death is a tough one for us all,” said McGlynn. “I played under him to start with here then took over as manager.
“I also did his plumbing work and I talked to him regularly about things that were going on in the game.”
Like most of Myles’ former clubs, Musselburgh will observe a minute’s silence in his honour before tomorrow’s Emirates Scottish Junior Cup clash at home to Pumpherston (1.45pm kick-off).
“We will be trying to win it for him,” declared McGlynn, who will leave the decision to Jackie Jnr about when he feels he’s ready to pull on his boots again for the Super League side.
“He can take as long as he wants. He might want to start playing again soon or it might take weeks. We’ll let him decide.” Bonnyrigg will also be aiming to win their Super League clash at Sauchie in honour of a man who was described by the club’s former chairman Tam Milligan as “a legend in Junior football”.
Rose boss Max Christie added: “I never actually saw Jackie play but I know he was someone who wore their heart on his sleeve. His name is still talked about affectionately at this club and it would be nice if we could win for him this weekend.” Dunbar, for whom Myles made more than 100 appearances, will hold a minute’s silence before their home game against local rivals Haddington tomorrow. “Jackie was an exceptional Junior player whose commitment and work ethic was second to none,” said Dunbar secretary Graham Cairns.
“He was one of the quiet men of the game that let his football do the talking.”