TOMMY Ring, who has died at the age of 67, won 12 international caps for Scotland at a time when his rivals for the left-wing position in the national side included such as Willie Ormond of Hibernian and Bobby Mitchell of Newcastle United.

He was a left-winger in the classical mould, barely of medium height but his stocky build offered strength and, less expectantly, swiftness. His background too could have served as a classic apprenticeship. It started with St Mungo's Academy, a footballing school which produced, among others, his teammate Billy McPhail. From there he moved to one of the top Glasgow junior clubs, Ashfield, before becoming a Clyde player in 1949.

Clyde were in the middle of an astonishing Scottish Cup spell. Between 1939 and 1958 they won the trophy three times and were beaten finalists once, a feat the more startling in that there was no such competition between 1940 and 1946 inclusively.

The Shawfield side of the day was noted for its cultured football, starting from full-back where Haddock was not only a sound defender but an elegant prompter. For much of his career Ring was lucky enough to have Archie Robertson as a frontline colleague. Robertson appeared ungainly, almost stiff at times, but his intelligent purveying brought out the best in Ring.

It was a strange time. Clyde could and did win the Scottish Cup but they found it difficult to stay in the First Division. On both occasions when Clyde went down Ring scored more than 20 of the goals that brought them back.

He thrived on the big occasion. When he won his first Scottish Cup medal in 1955 it was his goal which decided the replay. When he played against England at Wembley in 1957 he scored in the first minute, taking advantage of an error by Stanley Matthews of all people. His grief at the eventual 2-1 defeat would have been tempered by is pride in being selected when a Second Division player. No-one has managed this since.

He was still at Shawfield when Clyde won the Cup again in 1958 but the signs were ominous now for the Bridgeton club. The population of Glasgow's East End was being decanted to the New Towns and times were hard. A modest #8000 transfer fee took him to Everton in 1960 but he had stayed perhaps two or three seasons too long with Clyde and he never secured an assured berth on Merseyside. Significantly, he was almost two years at Goodison Park but receives no mention in a book of the time, The A to Z of Merseyside Football.

The rest of his career was the all too familiar anti-climax which beset most players. There was an uneventful 18 months with Barnsley and then a hand-ful of weeks with Aberdeen. Thereafter the road led through Highland and non-league football into retirement.

With his dark hair and immaculate turnout, Tommy Ring showed his skills just before the years in which football became showbusiness. When he started out it was still possible for a club such as Clyde to be a power in the land and to attract quality players - there were three internationals in their Cup-winning side of 1958. Tommy Ring was powerful, fast, clever, possessed the ability to shoot strongly and centre accurately. That is the epitaph of the classical Scottish winger, which is what he was.