Footballer and manager

Born: March 1, 1939;

Died: January 22, 2016

TOMMY Bryceland, who has died aged 76 after a short illness, was a brilliant inside forward (attacking midfielder in today's terminology) who in any other era would have played for Scotland. Unfortunately, the combination of being a contemporary of the great John White and playing for unfashionable clubs, in St Mirren and Norwich City, meant he was never capped.

A native of Greenock, Bryceland, who had been capped at schoolboy level, joined St Mirren from Gourock Juniors in 1956. He opted for Saints, who wanted him to join them immediately, in preference to Celtic, who had already signed his brother Hugh, but wanted the 16-year-old Tommy to remain with Gourock for another year.

He quickly broke into the first team, where his combinations of artistry, incisive passing and goal-scoring made him a regular. He was one of the stars in the Buddies' run to Scottish Cup glory in 1959. He missed the quarter-final, but scored in every other round, including a hat-trick in Saints' 10-0 beating of non-league Peebles Rovers in their opening tie. He then, in front of an almost deserted "Celtic End" scored the final goal in Saints' 4-0 semi-final humbling of Celtic, before opening the scoring in their 3-1 final win over Aberdeen, in the last Scottish Cup final, without at least one of the Old Firm involved, which drew a 100,000-plus crowd to the old Hampden Park.

The following season, he and two-goal Gerry Baker scored as Saints beat Rangers 3-1, to record the club's first victory at Ibrox in 54 years. That St Mirren squad scored goals for fun, with five of the cup-winning squad, including Bryceland, who is sixth, in the list of all-time club goalscorers.

He was a "gallus" type of player and older Saints fans still speak of the day he and Jim Baxter indulged themselves in a "nutmegging" competition during one Rangers v St Mirren game – Bryceland won. The Saints team of the time was a good cup side. They reached the 1961 semi-final, but lost to the eventual cup-winners, Jock Stein's Dunfermline Athletic, before reaching the 1962 final, where Saints, including Bryceland, lost 2-0 to Rangers. Along the way to that final, they beat Celtic 3-1 in a semi-final, notorious for the Celtic fans' vain effort to have the game abandoned, such a beating were their favourites receiving.

The following season, in September of 1962, after nearly 100 games, and a more-than-healthy 60-plus goals, Bryceland was transferred to Norwich City, then in the English Second Division (the Championship today). At Carrow Road, he was an immediate hit, going on to play 254 games, scoring 55 goals.

One of the highlights of his time with the Canaries was playing in the club's famous 1967 FA Cup win over a Manchester United team which included "The Golden Trinity" of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law. He was one of the inaugural inductees when the Canaries instituted their Hall of Fame – nominated by the club's fans.

He then had a short spell with Oldham Athletic, joining them in 1970. At Boundary Park, he played 66 games, scoring 10 goals, before his career turned full circle with a return to Love Street, as St Mirren player-manager, in 1972. The move, however, was not a successful one and he left after only one season.

However, in that time, he recruited several young players who would go on to find success as members of the Alex Ferguson managed "Fergie's Furies", in particular future club captain and manager Tony Fitzpatrick – like Bryceland, who was inducted in 2007, a member of the St Mirren Hall of Fame.

During his first spell with St Mirren, Bryceland had been a part-timer, working as a trainee television engineer, with a company in Moss Street, Paisley, whose proprietor was a St Mirren fanatic who gave his young charge all the time off he required to train and play with Saints.

In all, Bryceland played 104 games for Saints, scoring 69 goals, at an average of 0.66 goals per game. This is a tremendous average for a midfielder, given that the bench-mark for a "great" striker, far less a midfielder is 0.5 goals per game.

After football, he worked in insurance, before becoming a shop-keeper; he had, for a time, a grocer's shop in Copland Road, in the shadow of Ibrox Stadium. He then settled in Ayr, where he and his wife ran the Craiglea Hotel for many years, before retiring to a retirement apartment complex next to Ayrshire Hospice, where he passed away, after being diagnosed with stomach cancer last year.

Tommy Bryceland is survived by his wife Maureen, son Marcus and daughter Marieanne, two grand-children, one of whom, Marieanne's son Luca is already in the Academy system at Brighton, where he lives.