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Remembering Billy

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By Newsdesk
Sport
Remembering Billy

TRIBUTES have been paid after Stranraer goalkeeping coach Billy Thomson passed away at the age of 64.

Thomson started his career at Partick Thistle as understudy to Alan Rough before a £50,000 move to St Mirren at the age of 20 in 1978.

During his six seasons at Love Street he made over 200 appearances, during which time he won seven Scotland caps, but after being told he would never play for the club again after being critical of wages and conditions he was sold to Dundee United for £75,000 in June 1984.

After a year at Tannadice he ousted Hamish McAlpine as the club’s number one and is particularly remembered for his role in helping United reach the 1987 UEFA Cup, including beating Barcelona home and away in the quarter finals.

According to his then teammate Eamonn Bannon, there was not a better goalkeeper in Britain at the time.

Bannon said: “Big Billy was about 6ft 4in, blond – a blond Adonis, with a sweet left foot.

“That year when we reached the UEFA Cup final, he had the most incredible season.

“He was coming out 16 yards to catch the ball, well above centre-halves, kicking it far up the park, making miraculous saves.

“In my view, he might well have been the best goalkeeper in Britain in that particular year.”

As the decade came to a close Thomson lost his place to Alan Main and joined Motherwell for another £50,000 fee in 1991 as replacement for Ally Maxwell.

Thomson was first choice for his first season at Fir Park, but Tommy McLean preferred Sieb Dijkstra for the next two.

So at the age of 36 he was off to Ibrox as experienced cover for Andy Goram, which included playing in the Champions League against Juventus.

In 1996 Thomson had one last season at Dundee before retiring to join the Dens Park coaching staff and in 2001 returned to Ibrox as goalkeeping coach.

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