Sir Alex Leads Dave Mackay Honours

24 March 2015, 19:16

Football legends have joined hundreds of supporters and mourners to pay their final respects to former Hearts, Tottenham and Scotland captain Dave Mackay.

The Edinburgh-born midfielder died in hospital earlier this month at the age of 80.

Former team-mates and famous football faces including Sir Alex Ferguson, Denis Law, Frank McLintock, Ian St John, Alan Mullery and Bertie Auld attended Mackay's funeral in Edinburgh today.

The cortege left from Tynecastle Stadium, the home of Hearts, for a remembrance service in Mansfield Traquair in the capital.

Streets around the stadium were lined by hundreds of fans who applauded the cortege as it drove past, with some throwing scarves and flowers on top of the funeral car.

Mackay won all three Scottish domestic honours with Hearts in the 1950s and was a key part of Spurs' famous 1961 double-winning team.

Hearts described him as the club's greatest-ever player and the current squad of players, who recently won the Scottish Championship, were in attendance along with manager Robbie Neilson and owner Ann Budge.

Spurs were represented by former players including Pat Jennings, Terry Medwin, Alan Gilzean, Steve Perryman, Mike England and Clive Allen.

Hearts chaplain Andy Prime led the service, which started with FA Cup hymn Abide With Me.

Former Hearts striker John Robertson did a reading at the memorial while Sir Alex and Mackay's former Spurs team-mate Cliff Jones spoke about their memories of the 80-year-old.

Sir Alex recalled the only time he played against Mackay.

"I was playing for Queens Park reserves against Hearts reserves at Tynecastle and the great Mackay was playing because he was coming back from a broken toe," the retired Manchester United manager said.

"He tackled me and I thought 'Christ', but in those days you had to get up no matter what.

"So I got up, had a look at that big barrel chest of his and he just said 'are you alright, son?'.

"That was a great memory, the only time I played against Dave Mackay and I'll never forget it."

Sir Alex also lamented the fact Mackay won only 22 caps for Scotland.

"Everyone talks about his courage and bravery but he was a fantastic footballer, he was skilful, he could play anywhere and he proved that.

"He was a fantastic guy and it's a privilege to speak here today. I think we've seen the passing of a true, great legend."

Jones joked how he needed an interpreter to understand Mackay when he first joined Spurs, but the pair remained friends after their playing days.

The Welshman said: "It's an honour to talk about someone who gave so much to football.

"Whenever I hear the bagpipes playing Flower of Scotland, I think of Dave - a proud Scotsman who never forgot his roots.

"He would be so proud that Hearts have won promotion from the Scottish Championship this week.

"On behalf of myself and Tottenham Hotspur, we thank Dave for his football legacy. It was an honour to know him and, until we meet again, rest in peace."

Flowers adorned the coffin as it travelled to the memorial service and then to a private family service at a crematorium in the capital.

One set was shaped like a large football with the maroon and white colours of Hearts.

Another wreath was in the shape of the Hearts crest while a large bouquet had a note from players and staff at Tottenham, describing Mackay as a "legend".

During the service, Tommy Mackay read a tribute of behalf of his mother Val, Dave Mackay's eldest daughter.

It said: "Dad would do anything for anyone. He was so generous and had an extraordinary caring nature. But woe betide any bullies he came across.

"We will miss your smile, your thumbs-up and your kindness.

"We are so proud of you and what you did. You were an absolute genius, and most comforting of all we were able to tell you this a few weeks ago."

Mackay captained Hearts to the Scottish League title during the 1957-58 season and joined Spurs in 1959, helping the north London club become the first English side to win the league and FA Cup double during the 1960-61 campaign.

He was named Footballer of the Year in both Scotland and England and also starred for Derby, where he won the First Division title as manager.

After the private family service at Warriston crematorium, Mackay's family, friends, former colleagues and football dignitaries returned to Tynecastle Stadium for a reception.

A book of remembrance was opened by Spurs at White Hart Lane for fans to sign, and the London club have said plans for a memorial service in Enfield are being discussed with the Mackay family.