The funeral took place in Edinburgh on Thursday (21st September) of former wing half Bert McCann, who died aged 84 on 12th September, a month short of his 85th birthday.
While Bert is best remembered for his spell across the road with Motherwell in the 1950s, and being capped for Scotland five times (the last of which was the unfortunate 9-3 defeat at Wembley in 1961), his final club was ourselves in our top flight season of 1965-66, and he retired at the end of that season.
Bert came from Dundee and played junior with Dundee North End. He was a seasoned campaigner by the time he came to Accies in 1965. He was a prominent schoolboy footballer before going junior with Violet and North End then turning senior with Dundee Utd in 1953. He was an amateur there, and moved to Queen’s Park in 1954 where he was a vital cog in their promotion winning team of 1956. He then turned professional and moved to Fir Park where he was a member of their ‘Ancell Babes’ team of the late 1950s and he became one of the best half backs in the country.
Having already been capped six times at amateur level at Tannadice and Hampden, he would be capped five times as left half for Scotland. He was also picked for Scottish League selects. He played almost 250 times for Motherwell before joining Accies in the summer of 1965 after we were promoted to Division One. It was not a good season for us, but he added poise to our centre field and brought on some of the youngsters playing alongside him. He scored on his debut for us – 1-1 at Cowdenbeath in the League Cup before an amazing crowd by today’s standards of 6000 – and went on to play 31 times for us that season, retiring at the season’s end.
He became a schoolteacher and continued to attend games, and remained a regular across the road. He is remembered as one of the finest players of his generation, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.