Stars of football past and present have paid tribute to Jim McLean following the Dundee United legend’s death at the age of 83.
The McLean family and Jim’s beloved Tangerines confirmed on Saturday night that the legendary manager had passed away.
Maurice Malpas – one of his title-winning heroes – told Sky Sports: “In terms of a football manager, he was miles in front of the majority of them.
“Taking Dundee United to the semi-final of a European Cup, that’ll never be done again.
JIM MCLEAN 1937-2020
Former Dundee United manager and chairman Jim McLean has died aged 83.
Maurice Malpas says his former boss was ahead of his time and his achievements will never be repeated at Tannadice. pic.twitter.com/Y6pBBUHFyT
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) December 26, 2020
“Tactically he was the best, always fantastic in training.
“The things that people don’t know is that he was always forward-thinking.
“In the early 80s we had dieticians. He was ridiculed because he brought a sports psychologist in.
“We had a sports scientist long before they were called sport scientists.
“He went that little distance to get that little bit more from his team.
“We were probably average players but as a group we were a very good side. We excelled in Europe playing a style of football Jim wanted us to play.
“The biggest compliment you could pay him was that Jock Stein became Scotland manager and the first person he turned to be his assistant was Jim McLean.
“Jock Stein was a legend worldwide and I think Wee Jim got the rewards there for his tactical nous and football knowledge.”
‘Jim McLean was a legend who put our city on the map’
United’s rivals Dundee – where the Larkhall-born boss had a spell as a player and a coach – posted an image of him in a dark blue shirt on Twitter.
Dee wrote: “All at Dundee Football Club were saddened to learn of the death of former player Jim McLean this evening.”
Current Dens Park star Charlie Adam added: “Thoughts go out to the family and friends of Jim McLean following his sad passing.
You can watch the Jim McLean Years with us on our YouTube channel at 10:15pm
— Dundee United FC (@dundeeunitedfc) December 26, 2020
“A legend of Dundee who put our city on the map, playing for @dundeefc before doing an incredible job as manager of @dundeeunitedfc. Rest in peace Jim.”
Dundee United sporting director Tony Asghar saluted the Tangerines icon.
He wrote: “Every day @dundeeunitedfc and @dufcacademy we are in pursuit of achieving the standards and culture carried out by Mr McLean.
“We know that it may be an impossible task but it sets a benchmark to attain to. RIP Jim McLean.”
All at Dundee Football Club were saddened to learn of the death of former player Jim McLean this evening. pic.twitter.com/sgk2OiQE2P
— Dundee Football Club (@DundeeFC) December 26, 2020
United academy chief Andy Goldie said: “Building and developing an incredibly successful team largely made of young home-grown players is aspirational in itself however his legacy will live on in the standards and ambitions he set which will continue to inspire future generations hoping to follow in their footsteps.”
Former First Minister Jack McConnell saluted the United great on Twitter.
— Ricky Ross (@rickyaross) December 26, 2020
He wrote: “The legacy of Jim McLean is obviously particularly special for supporters of @dundeeunitedfc but he also helped everybody else believe that anything was possible.
“And they played fantastic football too. #RIPJimMcLean.”
Deacon Blue frontman and Dundee United fan Ricky Ross said: “Jim McLean changed our lives as young football fans.
“He took us on a wild and impossible dream. I will always be so grateful. #RIPJimMcLean.”
There were also several tributes from clubs in Scotland, including Celtic and Aberdeen.
And Kilmarnock wrote: “We are saddened to hear of the passing of our former player, Jim McLean.
“Our thoughts are with his family and all those at Dundee United.”
‘His achievements will never be repeated again’
Brechin City added: “Everyone at Brechin City is saddened to learn of the passing of Jim McLean – an iconic figure in Scottish football.
“His achievements as a manager at Dundee United will almost certainly never be repeated again.
“Our thoughts are with Jim’s friends and family at this time.”