SAINTS supporters were last night mourning the death of club legend Jackie Neilson.
The 1959 Scottish Cup-winning hero passed away on Friday at the age of 83.
Talented defender Neilson spent 12 seasons with the Paisley club and the highlight came when he played in the famous team which defeated Aberdeen at Hampden to claim the cup for only the second time in St Mirren’s history.
Neilson kicked off his football career in 1943 with his home-town side Newtongrange Star, where he played as a right-back.
His time with the Junior outfit was interrupted by a two-year spell of national service, where he continued to play football while stationed in Gibraltar and Italy.
Neilson made such an impression that he was offered £3,500 to stay in Italy to play professional football but decided to head back home to Scotland and, after making six more appearances for Newtongrange, he signed for St Mirren in 1949.
St Mirren manager Bobby Rankin developed Neilson as a wing-half and he went on to make 285 appearances for the Buddies before being forced to retire with a knee injury in 1960 at the age of 31.
Neilson, who was also capped four times for Scotland at ‘B’ level, remained a popular figure with the Saints supporters and was given a huge ovation in 2002 when he returned to Love Street for a reunion with his 1959 cup-winning team-mates.
A spokesman for St Mirren said: “Everyone at the club would like to pass on their condolences to Jackie’s family and friends for their loss.”
Neilson’s funeral will take place at 10.30am on Thursday at Newbattle Cemetery, in Midlothian, with the reception to be held afterwards at the nearby Newbattle Golf Club.