TRIBUTES have poured in for Ian St John, the Scottish football legend turned one half of one of the finest double acts in sports broadcasting who has died at the age of 82.

Born in Motherwell in 1938, he was a star of the Liverpool FC team that climbed from the English Second Division to win the First Division title in 1964 and went on to enjoy a successful punditry career after hanging up his boots, striking up a TV partnership with ex-England forward Jimmy Greaves to helm the popular Saint and Greavsie on ITV.

It was the English Premier League champions Liverpool FC that first broke the news of his passing yesterday morning.

A statement released by the club on the behalf of St John’s family read: “It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that after a long illness we have lost a husband, father and grandfather.

“He passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside.

“We would like to thank all the staff at Arrowe Park Hospital for their hard work and dedication during these very difficult times.

“The family would be grateful for privacy at this extremely sad time.”

A spokesperson for the club said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of a true Anfield legend, Ian St John.”

Mr St John had 21 caps for Scotland, scoring nine goals, and made his debut in a 3–2 friendly victory against West Germany at Hampden Park on May 6, 1959.

The current Scotland captain Andy Robertson was among those who led the tributes saying that he was a “man of warmth, humour, knowledge, wisdom and joy”. He added: “Scotland and Liverpool has lost a true giant. My love goes to his family. Rest in peace Ian St John.”

Ex-Liverpoolcaptain now Rangers manager, Steven Gerrard said: “He’s someone I’ve met on numerous occasions. A fantastic guy. He was really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.

“So I’m really devastated to hear that news to be honest with you. Shocked as well, so I’d like to pass on my condolences to all his family and everyone close to the Saint.”

Six years ago it emerged that the former Scotland star had his bladder and prostate removed while fighting cancer.

One of Liverpool’s all-time greatest players, he said at the time that he had bladder cancer for two to three years.

He became a household name, when he struck up a successful TV partnership with fellow ex-footballer Jimmy Greaves with their wise-cracking Saint and Greavsie programme which ran for seven years until 1992 and included interviews with non-football legends including Mike Tyson, Frank Bruno and Chris Eubank.

The pair’s popularity was demonstrated by the fact they were both made into puppets for the popular ITV satire show of the time, Spitting Image.

Mr Greaves said said he was “very sad” to hear of the passing of his former TV sparring partner, adding: “Ian St John and I had great fun working on the Saint and Greavsie. He was a lovely man and will be sadly missed by many many people. We must also remember he was a great footballer for Bill Shankly’s Liverpool and beyond.”

Once Saint and Greasvie came to an end, Mr St John remained working as a co-commentator and pundit.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Frank Bruno in paying his own tribute recalled his appearances on the show. “I went on the show a few times and how Ian used to hold it together when Jimmy Greaves was so funny live on TV was amazing. A real TV old school host.”

He started his football career with home side Motherwell.


In 1961, he signed for Liverpool, where he stayed for a decade, making more than 400 appearances.

He played for Scotland between 1959 and 1965 and managed Motherwell and Portsmouth in the 1970s.

The first of his nine international goals came a came ina 3–2 friendly defeat at the hands of Poland on 4 May 1960.

In 2008, he was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Both the Scottish FA and Motherwell FC paid tribute saying they were "saddened".

“The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish FA are with Ian’s family and friends.”

He hung up his boots in 1973 and became Motherwell manager for a single season, moving onto Portsmouth for three years.

After short spells as assistant manager at Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry, St John moved into punditry.