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TRIBUTE: Tommy 'Tucker' Thomson, a local football legend who played for Ross County, Inverness Thistle and Clachnacuddin, has died at 83

By Alasdair Fraser

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Tommy 'Tucker' Thomson
Tommy 'Tucker' Thomson

By John MacLeod

A legendary Ross County and Inverness goalscorer of the 1960s has died at the age of 83.

Tommy 'Tucker' Thomson, remembered for his skills in bamboozling a Rangers and Scotland international great in a famous cup tie, passed away peacefully last week in the care of Highview House care home in Inverness.

'Tucker', as he was affectionately known, was a key member of the first County side to win the Highland League in 1967.

His first club was Inverness Thistle and he was working for Grant's Furniture shop in Academy Street, Inverness, in 1963 when he was approached by County director Hugh 'Aultbea' Urquhart, who asked him to sign for the Dingwall club.

As he was getting paid on a game by game basis by the Jags, no transfer fee was involved.

Probably the game Tucker will be remembered for most is the Scottish Cup second round tie against Rangers at Victoria Park in February 1966.

The occasion was a dream come true for Tucker as he was a big Rangers fan.

Although County lost 2-0, Tucker stood out against illustrious visitors as the star of the show.

He ran Scottish internationalist Davie Provan ragged that day and, in one magic moment, nutmegged the towering defender.

Recalling the incident some years later, Tucker said: “I always found if you put the ball through the legs of a big defender, he gets so frustrated he forgets about the ball.”

Tucker Thomson (far left) runs out for Ross County against his heroes Rangers in 1966. Behind him (dark top) is goalkeeper Benny Sutherland and Peter Borley.
Tucker Thomson (far left) runs out for Ross County against his heroes Rangers in 1966. Behind him (dark top) is goalkeeper Benny Sutherland and Peter Borley.

Looking back on another memorable incident in a previous round against Forfar Athletic at Victoria Park, Tucker recalled: “I remember it was very frosty and the ground was rock hard. I went to a shoe shop in Grant Street the day before the game and bought a pair of baseball boots and I played in them.

“During the game, I stood on Archie Knox's ankle. He was just 18 at the time, but when he came up off the ground he threw a punch at me and got sent off.”

County beat the 10 men of Forfar 4-3 with Tucker scoring one of the goals. He scored twice in the next round, one from the penalty spot, in a 5-3 win at Alloa.

In fact, Tucker has the remarkable record of scoring 14 consecutive penalties for County, never having missed any.

Tucker scored six times in the championship winning season before damaging his cartilage in January 1967. But he was back in the team before the end of the season as the club clinched the title for the first time in its history.

Tucker moved on to play for Brora Rangers in season 1968/69, and prematurely hung up his boots at the age of 31 whilst playing for his boyhood heroes Clachnacuddin in his last season in the Highland League.

Tommy Tucker Thomson featured in Ross County's match programme
Tommy Tucker Thomson featured in Ross County's match programme

One of the highlights for Tucker was playing alongside his brother Lenny. It was the first time the pair had played in the same team together.

Tucker stayed active in later life and took up bowling, while he was a regular attender of Ross County home matches.

Former team-mate Colin Brett said: “Tucker was a one-off, he will be greatly missed.”

Tucker’s funeral will be held on Thursday next week.

A D. Chisholm & Sons funeral notice for the Ross County legend reads:

THOMSON: Peacefully in the care of Highview House, Inverness on 16th November 2023, Tommy Tucker Thomson, aged 83 years, Mackenzie Park Gardens, Inverness (Ross County legend and Clach player), a dear partner, dad, grandad, great grandad, brother, brother-in-law, father-in-law, uncle and good friend to many. Funeral Ceremony on Thursday 30th November 2023 at 1pm in D. Chisholm & Sons Funeral Home, Huntly Street, Inverness; thereafter to Inverness Crematorium. All welcome to attend. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired in memory Tommy towards Clachnacuddin Youth Development may be given at the door.

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