THEY were once one of the most famous and successful clubs in Scotland before disappearing following financial mismanagement.

But now, Third Lanark are about to come back from the dead almost half a century after going bust with plans to join a pyramid structure, starting with becoming a Junior club, which could steer them back into the Scottish professional league.

The Cathkin Park organisation closed in 1967, only six years after finishing third behind Rangers and Kilmarnock in the country’s top division.

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And 50 years ago today, the assets of the collapsed club were sold off in an effort to pay its outstanding bills. But, following moves by die-hard fans Pat McGeady, the uncle of former Celtic star Aiden, and Matt Curry, a Thirds amateur team was re- established in 2008.

Now the club has found a major benefactor, established a thriving youth set-up, and their chairman, Ian Alexander, wants them to climb back into the higher echelons of the Scottish game.

He said: “We have 60 boys in our academy, all playing in authentic Thirds strips and they are headed up by Campbell Hughes – who was at Partick Thistle for more than 30 years – and 11 other coaches. We have 29 signed amateur players, managed by David Ampleford and two assistants. The team plays in the Glasgow Amateur League and are top of their division, playing exceptionally good football. It is definitely realistic to see Third Lanark back in the Scottish League set-up. The Caledonian and Lowland Leagues are making overtures, but I see us ‘going’ Junior in the next one to two years.

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“The Academy was invited to take part in this year’s Glasgow Cup and that was a big statement – playing against Celtic, Rangers, Clyde, Partick Thistle, Queens Park, Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.”

Thirds were one of the original 12 members of the Scottish League in 1890, won both the League and Cup, and finished third as late as 1961, finishing third and scoring 100 goals in 38 games.

But they were run into the ground by William G Hiddleston, who became the main shareholder of the club. He stopped paying players’ wages and made the manager and trainer one job, all for the purpose of selling Cathkin Park to property developers.

Mr Alexander has worked hard to ensure the new organisation is on a healthy monetary footing, allied to securing a prominent sponsor.

As the phoenix rises from the ashes, Third Lanark’s board hold committee meetings at Queens Park premises, showing the affinity between two of the founder members of Scottish football.

Mr Alexander added: “It just wasn’t right to let this club disappear. Cathkin Park is like the Marie Celeste at the moment, but we are very much alive and kicking.”

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“We have applied to the Scottish Charity Regulator to form a community trust charity and have a major benefactor in John Sweeney, a Glasgow expat, who lives in Ontario, who is a Glasgow expat, who lives in Ontario who was brought up next to Cathkin Park, and he and his family have always been Thirds supporters.”

“He is literally the Glasgow boy who made good and wants to put something back into his home city.”