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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 February, 2004, 15:02 GMT
Ally MacLeod dies
Ally MacLeod
Ally MacLeod led Scotland to World Cup '78
Former Aberdeen and Scotland manager Ally MacLeod has died at the age of 72.

The man who led Scotland to the 1978 World Cup passed away peacefully at home in Ayrshire and had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease for a number of years.

A talented left winger with Hibernian and Blackburn as a player, he began his management career at Ayr United.

"It's devastating news for every Ayr supporter because Ally meant so much to us," said club director John Dalton.

MacLeod will be remembered for his boast that Scotland would "bring back a medal" from Argentina.

However, defeat to Peru and an embarrassing draw with Iran meant Scotland were packing their bags early, despite a famous 3-2 win over Holland.

Ally was a real larger than life character
Kenny Dalglish
After the poor showing in Argentina, MacLeod returned to management with Motherwell, Airdrie, Ayr again and Queen of the South.

"He has been manager of the club three times and was a success every time and took Ayr United from nothing to a team to be reckoned with the likes of Rangers and Celtic," Dalton continued.

"He was made freeman of the town and he was an absolute legend and his passing is a great loss to football.

"My thoughts are with his family. He meant so much to Ayr United, Scottish football and supporters everywhere."

Former Scotland stars Kenny Dalglish and Joe Jordan both spoke well of their former manager.

"He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him not just in Ayr," said Dalglish.

"Ally was a real larger than life character. He was somebody who brought a great deal of humour into whatever company he was in."

Joe Jordan in action against Iran
Scotland were disappointing at World Cup '78
Jordan added: "I know that he was always very fair to me as a player and he was a person I worked with for a number of years at international level."

The Scottish Football Association also paid tribute to MacLeod.

"Obviously everybody in Scottish football is saddened to hear of his death," said a SFA spokesman.

"Although he is perhaps best known as the Scotland manager in '77 and '78, Ally was a guy who devoted his entire life to football as a player with several clubs and then as manager.

"He was at Hampden as recently as last July to accept an award from the Tartan Army who presented him with a crystal decanter set in appreciation of his services to the national team and to Scottish football in general.

"That shows the high regard in which he was held by the people of Scotland."

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