Scottish Cup-winning Hearts captain

Born: September 7, 1927;

Died: January 1, 2019

FREDDIE Glidden, who died aged 91, was one of the unsung heroes of the Hearts team which beat Celtic 3-1 in the 1956 Scottish Cup final, thus ending a 50-year barren spell for his club in that competition.

That final was called the stand-in captains final, injury having denied Hearts' Bobby Parker and Celtic's Jock Stein the respective club captains and the possible honour of lifting the trophy. As it transpired, Glidden (who thought: “I only got the job because I was the centre-half”) had the best moment of a career which blossomed towards the end.

Born in Bonkle, the Lanarkshire hamlet now in a football context better-known for referee Hugh Dallas, Glidden crossed the border into West Lothian to be raised in Stoneyburn. He attended Bathgate Academy, leaving to join the West Lothian Water Board. He continued to work for them for many years, being a part-timer throughout his career, and often only meeting his mainly full-time team-mates on a Saturday.

He played for juvenile Murrayfield Rovers, then Whitburn Home Guard, where as one of the “Private Pikes”, his name was noted by Hearts. He then had a short spell with Whitburn Juniors, before, on signing for the Maroons in 1947, he was farmed out to Newtongrange Star, where he won two Junior Scotland caps – his only representative honours.

His progression, once called up by Hearts, was gradual: third team, a lengthy apprenticeship in the reserves, then into the first-team, initially as a right-half, before injury to Scotland cap Bobby Dougan saw him establish himself as the regular centre-half.

Here, his timing was immaculate. Tommy Walker had succeeded Willie McLean and a Golden Era was to arrive at Tynecastle as the great half-back line made up of Glidden, Dave Mackay and John Cumming bedded in. The likes of Willie Duff, Bobby Kirk, Alex Young and Ian Crawford also arrived to augment the legendary inside forward trio of Alfie Conn, Willie Bauld and Jimmy Wardhaugh.

A 4-2 League Cup win over Motherwell, the team the youthful Glidden had supported, in October, 1954 , sparked off a great run. Then came that Scottish Cup win in 1956. Glidden often told of how Hearts had “stolen” the home Hampden dressing room off Celtic, then received a massive £100 win bonus – which became "66, 3 shillings and 4d, once the tax man had his whack.

In October of 1956, the new season, there was another League Cup triumph, before, in a wonderful season of 132 goals, the Scottish League Championship was annexed, to give Glidden a full house of domestic medals.

The following season was his last at Tynecastle. A persistent back injury was starting to trouble him, but he did play in Hearts' first European campaign, a European Cup odyssey which ended after one tie, a 6-3 aggregate loss to Standard Liege.

A few weeks later he played his 270th first-team game for Hearts, against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and at the end of that season, he moved on to run-down his career with Dumbarton, finally retiring in 1962.

He seldom went near Tynecastle in retirement. In solidarity with his great friend “King” Willie Bauld, with whom he had played at Newtongrange, and who was badly treated by the club over his testimonial, Glidden preferred golf at Ratho Park on a Saturday.

He also quit the water board to run a sub-post office in Edinburgh, at first in Grove Street, then in Shandon Place, a long free-kick from Tynecastle. His Hearts affections were carried on by sons Alistair and Andrew (and grandson Finlay), while Glidden was a regular attender at the Willie Bauld Memorial Dinners, and at Hall of Fame events, following his own induction in 2007.

Like many of his contemporaries, his final days were blighted by Alzheimer's, a condition he carried lightly, just as he had his captaincy of the club, and his fame. He was always surprised that Hearts' fans, who had never seen him play, should be so pleased to see him.

Freddie Glidden is survived by wife Rosa, sons Alistair and Andrew, daughter Susan, six grand-children and two great-grand-children.