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OBITUARY – GERRY COLLINS

The death was announced earlier this morning, 20th May, of our former captain Gerry Collins, who was 69.

Gerry initially came to the club as a midfielder in 1985, but switched to defence the following summer. He was a member of our 1986 and 1988 Division 1 (Championship now) league winning teams, and of course a stalwart of our famous cup win at Ibrox. He had been predominantly a part time player and was a taxi driver in Glasgow.

Gerry had been with Stranraer, Maryhill, St Rochs and  Albion Rovers before going to Ayr United.

Accies Manager (the late) John Lambie – who was always after “just another couple of players” – signed midfielder Gerry from Ayr on Friday 25th October 1985, and promptly gave him his debut the following afternoon – against Ayr at old Douglas Park, a game we won 2-0, Graham Mitchell and John Brogan scoring. Gerry went on to play 13 times that season, scoring once away to Morton, as we won the league and were promoted to the Premier League.

The following season  we went on pre season tour to the north west of England. In a friendly match at Northwich Victoria in July 1986, Gerry came on as sub early to replace the injured Charlie Speirs in the centre of defence – and he never looked back thereafter. He found, and thrived on, his new position.

He played in the vast majority of our games in the Premier and famously skippered us the day we had our famous Scottish Cup win over Rangers at Ibrox. He certainly enjoyed that one.

Relegation came, but he skippered us back to the top when we won  Division 1 (Championship) again in 1987-88, receiving the league winners trophy from (the late) SFL Secretary Jim Farry.

John Lambie departed for Partick Thistle in November 1988, and Gerry soon followed him to Firhill and became his assistant. Gerry had made 102 appearances for us, scoring five goals. He had been a very popular figure here, with fans and players alike, and always at the forefront of organising social events, and helping John Lambie with regular club trips to Blackpool!

He later had a good career at Partick Thistle, where he was also a popular figure, and became Manager there too, and later in the juniors with Glenafton Athletic. He became a match delegate for the Scottish Premier League, and we had him on duty here in that capacity many times in the 2008-11 period.

He remained a friend to many, and offered good advice to players, coaches and many others, and always knew everything that was happening in the Scottish game.

When I telephoned him last May to give him the news of Adrian Sprott’s illness, Gerry told me of his own diagnosis then, but was firm that he would overcome it and beat it. Sadly his health worsened recently, and it is very sad to learn of his passing this morning.

The condolences from all at Accies are with his family and friends at this time. Rest in Peace Gerry.

Scott Struthers
Secretary / Club Historian

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