Former footballer

Born: 21 February, 1929;

Died: 10 February, 2015

TOM McQueen, who has died aged 85 after a short illness, was a footballer who spent most of his life in Kilbirnie, in Ayrshire and whose goalkeeping talent was spotted by another man from Kilbirnie, the great George Stevenson, who took McQueen to Motherwell as a 17-year-old. McQueen's sons Iain and Gordon also went on to make significant contributions to the game: Gordon, by winning 30 Scotland caps and captaining his country; Iain by becoming a leading administrator in junior football.

The Junior grade meant a great deal to Tom McQueen. He was born in West Calder, and after leaving school, began to serve his time as a joiner before being spotted by Stevenson.

The young keeper did not make the breakthrough at Fir Park, moving on to Leith Athletic, then Alloa Athletic, before, in 1948, he was reinstated to the Junior ranks and returned to Kilbirnie to play for the local junior team, Kilbirnie Ladeside. He back-stopped The Blasties' great Scottish Cup run of 1951-52, during which their semi-final with Lugar Boswell Thistle attracted a then record crowd of over 30,000 to Rugby Park.

Ladeside won that tie, before going on to beat Camelon Juniors 1-0 in the final at Hampden Park. To make that season even more special for McQueen and his team-mates, they also won the Western League.

McQueen's form earned him a second chance in the senior game and in the close season he signed for Hibs, then the reigning Scottish Champions.

With Tommy Younger established in the Hibs' goal, opportunities would be limited and McQueen managed a mere three games in that season. He first stood in for Younger in a 3-0 Easter Road win over Dundee, in November 1952. He then went back to the Reserves, before filling in again for Younger in a 4-2 loss to Raith Rovers at Stark's Park and a 3-1 win over Falkirk at Brockville in January 1953. In all three of his appearances, the Famous Five formed the Hibs' forward line.

He was always grateful for the opportunity to share a dressing room with the legendary quintet and when Iain's then team, Irvine Meadow, were drawn against Hibs in the Scottish Cup two or three years ago, he was looking forward to a return to Easter Road and a reunion with Lawrie Reilly, but, sadly, illness meant he was not fit to attend the game.

At the end of the 1952-53 season, McQueen was sold to Queen of the South, but, he was soon on the move again, entering the English League with Accrington Stanley, for whom he made more than 80 appearances in a four-year spell, before he returned to Scotland to play out his career with East Fife, Berwick Rangers, then Stranraer.

On retirement, he returned to life in Kilbirnie, working in the joinery trade during the week, then faithfully watching Ladeside on a Saturday, although he always found time to support son Gordon in his career with Largs Thistle, St Mirren, Leeds United, Manchester United and Scotland.

Away from football, McQueen was a successful and keen breeder of canaries. He was also a Salvationist, playing the cornet, and later the bass drum, for the local Salvation Army band.

He finished his working life as a security guard at the Linwood car factory, during its ownership by Chrysler.

He was married twice. He was pre-deceased some 25 years ago by Millie, mother of Iain, Gordon and Hazel. He then married Mary, who survives him, along with his three children, six grand-children and one great-grand-child.