Without doubt a legend in Scottish football, we were very saddened to learn of the death of former Accie Jim McLean, who passed away aged 83 on Boxing Day.
Renowned as Manager of Dundee United 1971-1993, winning the Premier League (1983) and two League Cups (1979-80 and 1980-81, and defeated us in the 1979 semi), and reaching the final of the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) in 1987 and semi final of the European Cup (now Champions League) in 1984, and later becoming club Chairman, he actually started his Scottish League career, and made most of his playing appearances, with ourselves.
It was a footballing family as his father had also been with Larkhall Thistle, from whom Jim first appeared for us as a trialist in a 1-0 win v Stenhousemuir on 17th March 1956 at Douglas Park. Jim signed for us at the end of the season. His brother Willie also later appeared for us – Jim and Willie played in the same Accies team at Brechin in September 1956 – and Willie was later Assistant Manager here in 1990-91, with younger brother Tommy also featuring in our reserves as a trialist in the mid 1960s. All would be successful Managers. Willie and Tommy would both serve the SPFL as Match Delegates in recent years.
Jim would be with us from 1956-1961, making 157 appearances, netting 78 goals, an incredible record. He had a great partnership with Johnny Divers who also sadly passed away last week aged 87 and formed another good partnership with Dave Currie, who sadly passed away at a young age. Jim played as an inside forward
He moved on to Clyde (where he played with another good ex Accie in Sam Hastings) and would later play for Kilmarnock and Dundee (playing for the Dens men in the 1970 League Cup Final).
He would also go on to serve as Assistant Manager for Scotland, win the first Scottish Football Writers Manager of the Year award, and would later be admitted to the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Former Secretary Alan Dick commented, “Jim McLean played and scored in my first ever Accies match, home to Dumbarton, 4-1, on 18th April 1959. I recall him as a pacy inside forward, and naturally had many footballing dealings with him over the years. He was a tremendous player for Accies at that time.”
Former Secretary Scott Struthers also commented, “Jim was always friendly in his dealings with us and never forgot where he started, having talked with him about playing for Accies many times. I recall going up to Tannadice in 1989 for a youth cup tie, to find Jim waiting for us in the away dressing room. He was calling us for everything, then gave me a bag of Dundee United socks. He said your kit man called, you left without the socks, here’s our away ones! And you’re only getting them because it’s my Accies team!”
Our condolences are with his family and friends at this time.