John Holt has revealed the deep affection and respect Dundee United’s players had for legendary boss Jim McLean.
Holt made 406 appearances for the Tannadice club in defence and midfield over the span of 14 years, each match played under McLean’s leadership.
He was there every step of the way with his gaffer for the Tangerines’ two League Cup wins, the Premier Division title success and runs to both the European Cup semi-finals and Uefa Cup final.
Therefore, he speaks with some authority when it comes to how the late, great manager was regarded by his most senior players.
‘As an experienced player, Jim McLean would treat you like royalty’
Holt said: “We loved him even though some of us would disagree with him every now and again.
“Personally, I couldn’t have worked for a better manager.
“As an experienced player, he would treat you like royalty and Jim liked to have senior pros around the club to act as role models for the younger lads.
“I did what he told me most of the time because he knew better than I did. He was usually always right about everything.
“Listen, if anybody stepped out of line he would come down on you like a ton of bricks.
“But, as a group, we weren’t like that. We stuck together as players and we are still all mates.
The influence of Jim McLean’s wife Doris
“Deep down, there was real respect for Jim because we, more than anybody, knew what a great manager he was.”
Holt also highlighted how McLean even enlisted his wife Doris to help build a family atmosphere at Tannadice.
He said: “Doris would take our wives out for a meal every so often and they would all have a great time.
“It was a lovely gesture and the players all appreciated it.
“I know it was Jim’s idea and his way of bringing everyone closer together. He was also the one who footed the bill.”
Holt recently visited Tannadice to view the tributes to McLean that have been left at the stadium.
He added: “It was really nice to see how many people had taken the time to go down and pay their respects.”