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Former Spurs midfielder dies

03 March 2015, 13:10

London - Dave Mackay, the former Scotland, Hearts and Derby County midfielder and member of Tottenham Hotspur's famous double-winning team of 1961, has died aged 80.

Tottenham said in a statement Monday that their former captain was "one of the most influential players of his era" and "the complete footballer".

"We were saddened to hear of the death of our former captain Dave Mackay," the Premier League club's statement said.

"Dave Mackay will certainly always be remembered here as one of our greatest ever players and a man who never failed to inspire those around him."

Mackay died in hospital in the English city of Nottingham on Monday, the club said.

Born in Edinburgh, Mackay began his career with the club he supported as a child, Heart of Midlothian, and won all three Scottish honours in the 1950s.

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Mackay is still regarded as the club's "greatest-ever player", according to a tribute released on the Hearts website after his death.

He joined Spurs in 1959 as an established Scottish international, and helped win "the double" in 1961 as Tottenham became the first club in the 20th century to achieve the feat of winning both the FA Cup and the English League championship in the same season.

Known as a tenacious, skilful but hard player, he won 22 caps for Scotland.

A 1966 photograph of Mackay grabbing tough Leeds midfielder Billy Bremner by the scruff of the neck, after a crude tackle from the fellow Scot, became an iconic football image still sold as a poster.

"He twice broke the same leg in our cause but, each time, came back stronger than ever," Tottenham said.

After leading Spurs as captain to win the FA Cup in 1967, he left for Derby County in 1968 and was named joint "Footballer of the Year" the next season.

Northern Ireland footballer George Best is said to have described him as "the hardest man I have ever played against, and certainly the bravest."

Mackay went on to play for Swindon Town and managed a string of clubs into the 1990s.

Football commentator Derek Rae remembered Mackay as a "Scottish great and proud Edinburgh man" in a tribute on Twitter.

Mackay "Will not be forgotten by those who cherish Scottish football history" Rae wrote.

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