THE immediate adjective that springs to the lips of anyone fortunate enough to have seen Tommy Pearson play is ''graceful''. Perhaps only Gordon Smith of Hibernian had the same fluid-ity of movement.

In a rather unusual career, Tommy Pearson, who has died just days short of his 85th birthday, had the very rare distinction of having played for both England and Scotland in international matches between the two.

His first selection, for England against Scotland, came about in December 1939 as a direct result of wartime conditions. An unof-ficial international had been arranged for St James' Park, Newcastle, and Pearson was then a Newcastle United player, having turned professional with them in 1933 at the relatively advanced age of 20. Pearson had gone to the match in the capacity of spectator when the news came through that Eric Brook of Manchester City, the selected English left-winger, had been involved in a car crash and would be unable to play.

The laxer arrangements of wartime football led to Pearson being asked to turn out for England and become the fifth Newcastle United player on the field, a situation which owed more to local crowd pleasing than to maximum national strengths. Pearson could not be capped but he was given a special framed certificate by the FA to commemorate his part in a 2-1 win.

Eight years later and still a Newcastle United player, the Edinburgh-born Pearson turned out at Wembley for his native land and was prominent for Scotland in a creditable one-all draw. Although he won only one more cap, he could reflect that his international partners included Stan Matthews and Raich Carter in white shirts and Jimmy Delaney and Billy Steel in blue.

In 1948 and seemingly in the twilight of his career, he came north to Aberdeen but astonished sceptical supporters by giving the Dons a splendid further five years' service. He was part of a very attractive side which persistently entertained but just as persistently failed to win anything.

In the way in which Alan Morton's trademark was the lob and Jimmy McGrory's the bullet header, Pearson's party piece was the double shuffle. Every Scottish back of the day swore blind that he knew how it was done, none of them could stop it happening.

In 1953 he finally retired and for a while was in journalism. He was lured back to his beloved Pittodrie as manager in 1959. In this role he was respected and well regarded but unable to repeat recent Aberdeen successes such as the league championship of 1955 and the cup final appearances of 1953, 1954, and 1959. He left the Aberdeen post in 1965 and for a short while covered Scotland as a scout for his old team, Newcastle United.

Hugely popular as a player at St James' and Pittodrie, Tommy Pearson was also a good all-round games player and an accomplished golfer of more than local repute.

He is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.