Tartan Army legend Ally McLeod, dies aged 72

Scottish football united to mourn the death of the former Scotland manager, Ally McLeod, who died yesterday morning.

McLeod, who led his country to the 1978 World Cup finals in Argentina, passed away peacefully at his home in Ayrshire at the age of 72 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease. A left-winger in his playing days with Hibernian and Blackburn Rovers, McLeod began his management career at Ayr before moving on to Aberdeen.

He returned to club management with Motherwell and Airdrie after Scotland's poor World Cup showing in Argentina, when defeat against Peru and a draw against Iran prevented them progressing from the group stages.

The former Scotland international and Liverpool player Kenny Dalglish, whose Blackburn side played a testimonial game for him in 1993, led the tributes. "Ally was a real larger than life character," he said. "He brought a great deal of humour into whatever company he was in." The Scotland legend Joe Jordan added: "He was always the optimist, he loved his football."

A Scottish Football Association spokesman said: "Everybody is saddened to hear of his death and although he is perhaps best known as the Scotland manager in '77 and '78, Ally devoted his entire life to football.

"He was at Hampden as recently as last July to accept an award from the Tartan Army in appreciation of his services to the national team and to Scottish football in general."

The Ayr director John Dalton said: "It's devastating news for every Ayr United supporter because he meant so much to us. He took Ayr United from nothing to a team to be reckoned with. He was an absolute legend."

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