SCOTTISH men's hockey has lost one of its greatest heroes, Dave Brodie, the former Scotland and Great Britain Olympic goalkeeper, who has died at the age of 86.

Brodie was an exceptional sportsman. He was above average at many games but excelled at two in particular, football and hockey. It was football which dominated his youth with the junior game very much his forte. He also had the distinction of playing in a Junior Cup final.

The experience gained as a football goalkeeper proved invaluable when he turned to hockey with the Renfrew club Babcock and Wilcox and at the exceptional age of 37 he won the first of his 17 Scottish caps in 1947.

Twelve months later he was one of five Scots who played for Great Britain in the London Olympics and inspired them to the silver medals.

Great Britain lost the final 4-0 to India, who at that time were the sport's dominating force and whose triumph in London was the fourth of six Olympic gold medal victories. The Indians that day were the complete masters. They totally dominated the game and had it not been for the brilliance of Brodie, whom the Indian captain Kishan Lal described afterwards as ``the greatest goalkeeper he had ever played against'', India might easily have quadrupled their winning margin.

Brodie's heroism was all the more remarkable for goalkeepers in those days had the minimum of body protection. A pair of working boots and a pair of cricketer's pads was their basic equipment. In the course of the game he suffered severe injuries - so much so that he was unable to play in goal again for some six years.

This however did not stop him from playing the game, for he turned out for his club and the South West District at centre half before returning to the Scotland goal in 1955.

Dave Brodie was the first in a long line of great Scottish goalkeepers. Indeed, it was his influence and heroism which influenced so many of Scotland's great goalkeepers of recent times - such as George Black, Alistair Tait, who followed him some years later in the Babcock goal, and Veryan Pappin, who was a member of the Great Britain squad which won the gold medals in the 1988 Seoul Olympics to the highest level of goalkeeping efficiency.

An appreciation by Joe Dillon.