|Report Index--> 2009-10--> All for 20091008|
|n/a||n/a||Scotsman ------ Report||n/a||n/a|
Hearts legend scored first live televisied goal
Published Date: 13 October 2009
After attending Stoneyburn Primary School, he became a miner and played football at juvenile level for West Calder side Parkhead Thistle and juniors Haddington Athletic.
Although he earned a big move to Hearts in June 1941, he continued to work as a miner and worked from early in the morning, before catching a bus to Tynecastle after a full shift to train.
He played 156 times as an inside-left in his six years at Hearts, notching up an average of a goal every 2.5 games.
He was exempt from military service because he was a miner and played most of his games for Hearts during the Second World War. His most prolific season came in 1944/45, during the war-time league, when he netted 12 times in 18 appearances. In 1946, he played in a Hearts team that secured a 3-2 win against the British Army of the Rhine in Germany.
His scoring exploits had been noticed from teams south of the Border and, at the end of the 1946/47 season, he earned Hearts a club record fee when he signed for Charlton for £10,000. Two years later, he moved north when Middlesbrough signed him.
He formed a deadly partnership with England international Wilf Mannion and soon became a club favourite, renowned in England's top division for his pace, passing and ball skills.
He remains the last player to score 20 goals in one season for Middlesbrough in the top flight of English football.
He returned to Scotland in 1952, playing for four years at Falkirk until the age of 36. Against Newcastle United, he became the world's first goalscorer in a live TV match.
He moved to Northern Irish side Ballymena United as player-manager before returning to Falkirk in 1960 as manager, where he remained for five years. Among his signings was John Lambie, who went on to follow in his footsteps as a successful manager.
After his spell at Falkirk, he never returned to management, but did return to former club Middlesbrough as scout for Scotland. He also scouted for Liverpool and St Johnstone.
He married twice, firstly to Letitia, who died in 1967. The couple had one child, also Letitia, now aged 64.
He got married again in 1977, to Patricia, who died in 1997.
A lifelong tee-totaller who never once tasted alcohol, he was enrolled into Falkirk's Hall of Fame in 2007 after the initial onset of Alzheimer's, but didn't attend the party because he didn't want to be around lots of people drinking.
Family friend Angela Uttley, from Blackburn, said: "When you ask anyone about him, everyone says he was a gentleman and a quiet man. Someone from Middlesbrough once told me that when he was tackled, he would never play on it. He'd just get up and get on with it. That sums up his attitude."
Mr McCrae died at St John's Hospital in Livingston last week after a fight against Alzheimer's. As well as Letitia, he leaves behind stepson James, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Taken from the Scotsman