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Tributes pour in for 'legendary' Nairn County FC former player Tommy McGillivray who has passed away

By Rachel Smart

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Tommy McGillivray.
Tommy McGillivray.

A former football player and a stalwart of Nairn community has passed away.

Tommy McGillivray was Nairn County FC's oldest surviving former player, having been a regular in the team in the 1950s.

In a statement the club said: "We have all been deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our oldest surviving former player.

"Tommy is a legendary figure at Station Park, having kept goal for us in the 1950s and continued as a supporter of the club and regular attendee at our home fixtures throughout the rest of his life.

He was a regular in the team by 1951 and even showed his versatility by playing outfield as he filled in at inside right for a match against Peterhead in February 1952.

"His finest hour came in the run to the 1952/53 North of Scotland Cup final. After Forres Mechanics were despatched in the opening round, a narrow 3-2 win over Caledonian in the semi finals took us to the final for the first time since 1938, thanks mainly to Tommy almost single-handedly keeping the Caley forwards at bay as he turned in a fantastic performance in goal, pulling off a string of epic saves to ensure we made it through to the final despite the Inverness side's dominance.

"The final took place on April 4,1953 in front of a bumper crowd of 5,200 fans at Telford Street in Inverness but it was Inverness Thistle who took home the trophy thanks to a 3-1 win.

"As his Nairn career progressed, Tommy was involved in a dual with another local goalkeeper, Les Cameron, for the number one jersey as we went through a spell of being blessed to have two superb shot stoppers at the club at the same time."

"Tommy continued his career at Rothes after leaving Nairn, moving to MacKessack Park immediately after their sole Highland League championship triumph in 1959.

"A legend beyond the boundaries of Station Park and throughout the town, Tommy was always an immaculately turned out gentleman who always had the time to stop for a chat and a catch up. He will be sorely missed by everyone at Nairn County."

"We extend our condolences to all of the McGillivray family at this sad time."

There was a minute's silence prior to yesterday's match against Turriff United in memory of Tommy and another ex-Nairn County player, Alex Young, who also sadly passed away this week.

Tributes have poured in for Tommy, with friends and fans describing him as a 'legend' and 'a true gentleman'.

Donald Wilson wrote: "Always a pleasure to be in Tommy’s company who faithfully followed the club to be the very last. Condolences to all the family. Nairn has lost someone very special."

"Always took time to chat and share a story - such a sad loss for the town - will be strange to think of Nairn without him," said Jane Kelly.

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