Scotland Rugby League has lost one of its greatest players with the death of Stan Cowan, aged 83, after a short illness.

Cowan was an exceptional talent from an exceptional rugby family. His father Jimmy had played union in the Borders before moving to Hull FC in 1926. A winger, his son followed the same path in 1954 and, having represented South of Scotland at union, he moved to Hull FC and had great success, scoring 66 tries in 163 appearances over 12 years of service for the Airlie Birds.

Cowan appeared in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 1959 and 1960, where Hull lost to Wigan and Wakefield respectively, scoring their only try in the latter game.

His older brother Ron, a star for Scotland and British Lions rugby union teams, made a similar move to his father and brother in 1962 when he left Selkirk for Leeds. He was enormously successful for the Headingley giants before joining his brother at Hull FC in the early 1970s.

Both brothers were special guests of Scotland Rugby League at Galashiels - where Stan had played against the All Blacks early in his career - last October when Scotland celebrated their 20th anniversary. They were among a group of former players introduced to the Netherdale crowd at half-time of the international against France, triggering a passionate response that cheered Scotland to a second-half comeback that ultimately won them the European Championship for the first time.

"This is very sad news," said Scotland RL chairman Keith Hogg. "He was a very special man. It was great to meet both Stan and Ron at Netherdale last October. It was a wonderful event and a privilege to be able to celebrate the achievements of our ex-players.

"The reception that they received from the crowd was very special. Scotland Rugby League pass their condolences to Stan's family and friends at this difficult time."