Dave Mackay: Former players, managers and pundits reflect

Dave Mackay in action for Derby
Dave Mackay was admired at every club he played for

Dave Mackay, the former Scotland, Hearts, Tottenham and Derby midfielder,

Born in Edinburgh in November 1934, he began his career with Hearts in 1953 and captained the side to the Scottish League title during the 1957-58 season.

In 1959 he joined Spurs and helped them win the league and FA Cup double, plus two further FA Cups in 1962 and 1967.

He won 22 Scotland caps and played in the 1958 World Cup finals in Sweden.

Hearts described Mackay as "a local hero... a legend and a man who will be sorely missed and well remembered".

Here, key characters in the Scottish game share their memories of one of Scottish and British football's greats.

Former Scotland manager Craig Brown

Dave Mackay
Mackay helped to launch a book in 2007 about the great Hearts team of the late 1950s in which he played

"He would be in my all-time greatest Scottish team, no doubt about that.

"I watched him play for Hearts in the '50s. I was a boy at the time, and any time Hearts came to the west of Scotland my father took me to see them to see Dave Mackay.

"My dad used to say, 'I'm taking you to see Dave Mackay'; it wasn't Hearts.

"He'd run out into the centre circle with the ball in his hand and then back-heel it from there into the goal - that's how he led Hearts out.

"I remember watching him do that, it was a brilliant piece of skill, to back-heel the ball on the half volley from the centre spot into the goal was an impressive sight.

Dave Mackay takes the applause of fans at White Hart Lane when Hearts were the visitors in 2011
Dave Mackay takes the applause of fans at White Hart Lane when Hearts were the visitors in 2011

"He was inspirational in everything he did, a wonderful player.

"I met him in his latter years when I was at Derby and we were in the play-offs against West Brom.

"He was supporting Derby and he was very modest - like the big stars, the Billy McNeills, the John Greigs, the Lawrie Reillys, the Gordon Strachans, very modest indeed.

"He was an absolutely perfect midfield player and today he would be worth a fortune. You wonder what Dave Mackay would be worth in the modern market. He was in every respect an outstanding exponent.

"He was hard and respected by his team-mates and opponents alike."

Former Hearts striker John Robertson

Hearts legends poster at Tynecastle
Dave Mackay featured in a Hearts legends poster at his beloved Tynecastle

"It's a sad day for football. Dave Mackay was an absolute gentleman and a wonderful football player.

"He was part of the team that was the standard bearer for everybody at Hearts - to show what could be done.

"I was lucky enough to meet him on several occasions and he was always the same - a really nice man.

"He was the complete player. He had energy, he could get about the pitch, he could tackle and he could play when he got the ball. He was a world-class player at the time.

"He was inducted into the Scottish and English Halls of Fame - that shows you just how good a player he was."

Former BBC commentator Archie Macpherson

Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner
Dave Mackay told journalist Ian Abrahams in 2010 he felt the iconic image of him and Leeds' Billy Bremner in 1966 "portrayed me as a bully"

"He was a giant of a player. You get players who, when they emerge from the tunnel, immediately they dominate - he was that kind of player. I saw him in the early days at Hearts.

"He was a ferocious tackler and because of that he gained a reputation of being a hard man.

"Sometimes people thought he was a dirty player - he was nothing of the kind. He was bold, vociferous, a leader. He dominated so many games.

"You've probably seen that famous photograph with him and Billy Bremner, holding him up like a wee rabbit that he'd caught in the back garden.

"If you look at it, it's almost playful. There's a kind of chuckle about it. He was a lovely man. When you see that photo, think of a man who could chuckle as well as hit hard.

Former Scotland team-mate Tommy Docherty

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Dave Mackay lifts FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1967

"He was a tremendous player, world class, right side of midfield, left side of midfield, it didn't matter.

"He was a great tackler and a great passer of a ball. If you wanted to play football, he'd play football; if you wanted to rough it, well, you picked the wrong man.

"He reminds me of the young Duncan Edwards at Manchester United. Dave Mackay was word class as a player and as a person.

"I tried to buy him when I was a coach at Chelsea. I told the manger Ted Drake to buy him from Hearts. He signed for Tottenham.

"Dave Mackay just wanted to play football; he didn't worry about what he was getting paid.

"He was great company."

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