BUDDIES legend Tony Connell admitted he thought someone was pulling his leg when he first heard he was to be inducted into St Mirren’s Hall of Fame.
The former Love Street favourite only found out he was to become the 23rd member of the exclusive club less than a fortnight ago.
And he was still pinching himself at the Glynhill Hotel in Renfrew when he entered the Hall of Fame to rapturous applause.
But Tony revealed he thought it was all a wind-up when he first got the call.
He said: “It came completely out of the blue and I was shocked.
“At first I thought someone was at it or somebody else may have had to pull out.
“But I’m overwhelmed by this award and I’m proud as well to be in among the giants of football in Paisley.”
Tony arrived at Love Street in season 1967/68 following the demise of Third Lanark and he quickly became a key member of Alex Wright’s side.
He was an integral cog of the record-breaking Second Division championship-winning side as the club clinched their first league title in 77 years.
Tony was instantly recognisable with his famous beard and was quickly taken to the hearts of the Love Street faithful.
This was highlighted in season 1969/70 when he went on to be voted the club’s Player of the Year.
He later played for Queen of the South and Pollok, but he remains a devoted Buddie to this day.
Connell joins the following players in the St Mirren Hall of Fame: John ‘Cockles Wilson’, Gerry Baker, Tommy Bryceland, Kevin McGowne, Tony Fitzpatrick, Ricky Gillies, Hugh Murray, Campbell Money, Alastair Miller, Mark Yardley, David Lapsley, Frank McGarvey, Alex Wright, Willie Fulton, Tommy Turner, Kenny McDowall, James Dunlop, James Rodger, Billy Stark, Barry McLaughlin, Billy Abercromby and Doug Somner.
Also included in the Hall of Fame is the very first St Mirren team who took part in the club’s inaugural match against Britannia of Johnstone on October 6, 1877 – just over 130 years ago.
Saints won the game 1-0 and the players set in motion a remarkable legacy which has carried on to the present day.
Those players were: J Adam, J Fisher, J Stewart, J Goold, W Reid, J Shearer, Johnny Paterson, J Galbraith, F Muir, T Graham and David Drennan.