Mr Football calls it a day

AberdeenFC 2012/2013''''(Photo Ross Johnston/Newsline Scotland)
AberdeenFC 2012/2013''''(Photo Ross Johnston/Newsline Scotland)
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One of the North-east’s most respected footballers is to call it a day after a lifetime in the game.

Ellon man Colin Grant has decided to retire from his post of youth academy chief scout at Aberdeen FC, though the charismatic former player will be best remembered by many for his time at Hibs in the mid 1960s.

Colin, now in his 70th year, looked back on his time in the game, starting in the junior ranks at Linlithgow Rose where he came to prominence in the final of the Scottish Junior Cup, scoring a hat-trick at Hampden to help Rose lift the trophy in the 1964/65 season.

Colin’s exploits came to the notice of the late Jock Stein the then manager of Hibs who signed him, but due to a serious injury did not retain a regular place in the Easter Road side.

His heroics at Linlithgow were appreciated by no less a person than the father of the First Minister Alex Salmond who said: “My father thought Colin was the best centre forward he had ever seen.”

Ironically, both the First Minister and Colin are both self-confessed Hearts supporters.

A move to Chelmsford City saw Colin see action in the Southern League as player, manager before Peterhead came calling in the shape of the late chairman Robbie Warrender who appeared in the office of Colin stating: “You’ll be playing for Peterhead on Saturday laddie.”

Despite his protestations that he did not know where Peterhead was, Colin did sign up and played for the Blue Toon, scoring a hat-trick on his debut against Brora Rangers.

Colin became a fixture at Peterhead, becoming the club’s first-ever manager of the Highland League side in 1976, a post he graced for four years.

In the meantime, Colin had moved to Ellon where in early 1980s he became their manager, all the while having the constant support of his wife Joy.

A spell on the books of John Bell, a company who specialised in pipelines, led to him setting up his own company in Ellon, producing fittings and flanges for the oil industry, but all the while keeping an eye on all things soccer on the local and national scene.

The lure of the game eventually took him to Pittodrie where he was one of three who headed up the youth academy - Lenny Taylor and Peter Weir being his enthusiastic team mates in the highly successful exercise.

Colin said: “Seeing young players you have recruited going on to make their mark in the first team makes you very proud. I have been very privileged to play in a great sport met some fascinating people. The game of football has been good to me.”

Among his mementos he counts a copy of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club as a bit special.

He explained: “I bought it when on tour with Hibs and as it had not been released in the UK, I suppose it would be a collector’s piece.”

It is difficult to see how Colin Grant will cope with life in retirement without football, but as a golfer of some note he is likely to spend time at the McDonald Club where he was a forward thinking captain who brought Pro-Ams to the club in the early 1990s.

He is certainly not likely to be idle that is for sure.