Following on from the recent losses of Alex Rennie, John Muir and John Lambie, we're sad to have to report the passing of another great servant to Saints.
Bill 'Buck' McCarry played 306 games for Saints between his debut in August 1963 and his final match in April 1971, stats which have him in the top ten appearance makers in the club's history.
We are grateful to Bill's daughter for the following tribute:
"He worked as a miner in his native Clackmannanshire before signing full-time forms for Falkirk. His football career started with Alva, then Sauchie Juniors and he made his first team debut at right back against East Fife at Bayview on April 16th, 1958.
National Service with the 1st Battalion Black Watch meant that games were few and far between for Bill, but his versatility showed when he turned out at centre half and right half. One of his colleagues while on duty for Queen and Country was another footballer- the famous Jim Baxter. The two became great friends and Jim Baxter was Best Man at Buck’s wedding. Buck’s powerful physique made him a difficult opponent for any centre-forward as he dominated in the air and on the ground. He was a key member of the Falkirk team that won promotion in 1960/61 and was used in a variety of positions as the club consolidated its place back in the top flight.
After 79 league games for Falkirk, and still only 24 years old, he signed for St Johnstone and went on to become a real Saints Legend. There were plenty of Falkirk connections at Muirton in those days, and team-mates included Jimmy Harrower, Jim Kerray and Bobby Kemp. He became a regular in a great Perth side under Willie Ormond and could play either at centre half or centre forward. His Muirton Park career saw him notch up over 300 appearances and he became a big fans’ favourite. The highlight of his St Johnstone career was an appearance in the 1969 League Cup Final on October 25th, 1969 at Hampden Park against Celtic. John Lambie was in the Saints side as well, but Buck’s day was spoiled by a badly gashed knee and despite battling on through great pain, had to admit defeat at the break and was replaced by Gordon Whitelaw.
Buck saw out his career with Stirling Albion and he have the same 100% commitment to the team as he always had done. Bob Shankly signed him in 1971 and recognised his ability to lead a side by example. He relished a challenge and he more than held his own against Celtic in a League Cup tie at Parkhead, when he faced a young Kenny Dalglish in his prime. Incredibly fit, Buck was a real powerhouse and he was an inspiration to the younger players at Annfield. After his playing days were over, he worked in the brewery trade and often made deliveries to pubs in Falkirk. While most delivery men rolled the beer barrels into the cellars, Buck carried them in resting on his broad shoulders- much to the amazement of the customers.
Buck was a great favourite with supporters at all his clubs and was a highly respected and valued colleague by his former team-mates. Although struggling with a lengthy illness, Buck often shared amazing stories of past exploits. One classic was when Buck was warned after pulling Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark back by his jersey. Buck protested his innocence to the referee, despite having a piece of the jersey in his hand!"
Buck McCarry would have been 80 in December this year, and he will be spoken about with great affection in football circles and will be fondly remembered by older supporters of Falkirk, St. Johnstone and Stirling Albion. For fans in Perth, he was an absolute legend and his passing means another member of the great side managed by Willie Ormond has gone.
The thoughts of everyone at McDiarmid Park are with Bill's family at this sad time.
PHOTO: Bill is shown in the centre of the front row in the blue jersey
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