FORMER Dundee and Tottenham striker Alan Gilzean has died at the age of 79 after a short illness.

The 22-time capped Scotland international had been diagnosed with a brain tumour just a few weeks ago.

Gilzean, known as the ‘King of White Hart Lane’, moved to Spurs in 1964, scoring 133 goals in a 10-year spell.

He spent seven years at Dundee, winning the 1961/62 league title and helping the club reach the European Cup semi-finals the following season.

HeraldScotland:

Gilzean is escorted off the pitch as Dundee fans try to reach him after seeing their team win 3-0 to secure the league title in 1962

During that campaign he scored twice against Cologne followed by a hat-trick against Anderlecht and a further hat-trick against Sporting Lisbon.

During his time at Tottenham, Gilzean won the FA Cup, two League Cups, and was part of the side that won an all-English Uefa Cup final against Wolves in 1973.

A statement from Spurs read: “Everyone at the club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our legendary former striker Alan Gilzean.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

His first professional club said: “Everyone at Dundee Football Club is devastated to learn that club legend Alan Gilzean passed away this morning after recently being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Alan’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

A message on Greaves’ Twitter account said: “Very sad to say Alan Gilzean passed away today.

“Another one of the greats has gone RIP from all of us associated with Jimmy. He loved you and always said you were the best striking partner ever,”

HeraldScotland:

An Arsenal defender dashes in to block a shot from Alan Gilzean during a reserve game between Arsenal and Spurs at Highbury in February, 1970  

In his 22 appearances for Scotland Gilzean scored 12 goals and in 2009 was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Among Dundee’s most popular former players, he has never been forgotten by their fans and his name was immortalised in the long-runing cult fanzine “Eh Mind O’ Gillie”.

On one occasion he scored four goals in a 5-1 victory for Dundee over Rangers at Ibrox.

His entry on the Scottish Hall of Fame website states: “A creative player and deadly marksman, Alan Gilzean is particularly remembered by a generation of Dundee and Tottenham Hotspur fans for his prowess in the air.

“In the dark blue of Dundee, Gilzean became a household name scoring over 100 goals in the top division of Scottish football.

“Perhaps his most memorable goal for Scotland, a trademark glancing header, came against England in a 1-0 victory at Hampden Park in 1964.”

Commenting on the goal after being inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame he said: “It was a great thrill to me. Scotland had beaten England twice in the previous two years and that was the third time so three times over England I think that was a record.”

Talking about his time at Dundee he said: “The seven years was fantastic. We had a great blend of young players and old player and a lot of young players coming through and we surprised ourselves really by winning the league, but we were a good side.

“I wanted to go because my dream was to play at Wembley and I can remember Dundee wanting to sell me to Sunderland and I said I didn’t want to go because they don’t go to Wembley too often.

“I decided then that I was going to go and I went to Tottenham Hotspur and it was the best move ever for me.

“When you move in football you have got to go to a club where you feel it was right for you and the two clubs I played for everything was right for me and I had great players around me.”

Gilzean joked that the reason he felt comfortable at Tottenham was because he cost the club £72,000, but fellow striker Jimmy Greaves cost £100,000 “so you could always point the finger” if something didn’t go well.

After his playing career had ended Gilzean returned to England after a spell in South Africa and later worked for a transport company in Enfield, only a short distance from White Hart Lane.

He said: “I watch football on television, but I don’t go to many big games. I always said when I finished with football I would get away from football. There were new kids on the block and it was up to them to do the talking.”