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Tommy Bryceland – 1939-2016



By Jeff Holmes

Tommy Bryceland, one of St Mirren’s greatest ever players, has died at the age of 76.

The dashing forward – the darling of the Saints support in the 1950s and 60s – passed away in the early hours of this morning after a short battle with stomach cancer.

Tommy is best remembered as the chief architect of St Mirren’s 1959 Scottish Cup win over Aberdeen, and scored the first goal that afternoon in front of 108,000 at Hampden Park.

He later moved to Norwich City and Oldham Athletic before returning to Saints as a player and then manager.

Sadly, Tommy was diagnosed with the end stages of stomach cancer last July, and had become particularly unwell in the last seven days. He had been in the Ayrshire Hospice for the past five-and-a-half weeks.

Tommy’s son Marcus said: “Dad hadn’t been able to take food or water for around a week, so he obviously had a strong heart. He was a real fighter.

“The family is distraught but I suppose there is also a bit of relief there because he had been having such a hard time of it.”

Marcus also revealed that he would often talk to his dad about his football career, which saw him inducted into the Hall of Fame at both St Mirren and Norwich City.

He said: “When he was with Norwich, he played against the great Manchester United in the FA Cup, and they had some fantastic players, including Denis Law, George Best and Bobby Charlton, but Norwich beat them.

“But whenever I asked what his favourite game was, he would say something like St Mirren v Motherwell, as he was never one to boast.

“He was such a humble guy. Money, cars and material things meant very little to him. He was more interested in his family.”

While playing with St Mirren, Tommy was also a television engineer in a little shop in Paisley’s Moss Street, but his boss was a big Saints fan, so he never had a problem getting away from training!

But three years after the famous Scottish Cup win, the talented inside-right moved to Norwich. He was a big favourite at Carrow Road, and starred in the same team as Alistair Miller – one of his Saints’ teammates in that famous Hampden win over Aberdeen!

When he returned to Paisley to take over as team manager, Tommy signed a youngster called Tony Fitzpatrick, who would go on to play a record number of games for Saints.

When they created Tommy Bryceland, they threw away the mould – he was a one-off; an exceptional player who helped put St Mirren on the map.

Brian Caldwell, Chief Executive of St Mirren, said: “Everyone at St Mirren is devastated by the death of Tommy Bryceland.

“He is one of the first names to come up in conversation when supporters talk about the great Saints players.

“He will be a big loss to everyone who knew him and our condolences go to the family.”

Tommy Bryceland is survived by his wife, Maureen, and his two children.

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