Calder still playing the field at 46

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AGE shall not wither him. Nor, it seems will opposition strikers. Jim Calder, 46 years young, answered an SOS call from Peterhead at the weekend and kept goal in their Second Division match with Ayr United.

He didn't too badly either, helping the Blue Toon to a 2-2 draw. Only the concession of a late goal denied them a win, a source of much frustration for Calder. "It was infuriating," he said, "because it was the last kick of the ball."

Football historians believe he is the oldest player to feature in the Scottish League since the war and he could play again tonight when Peterhead travel to Forfar.

He may be a few pounds heavier than in his pomp, but Calder was the first man Peterhead manager Steve Paterson thought of when his regular keeper, Ian McCaldon, went down with food poisoning.

Paterson, who managed Calder during their days together at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, said: "If McCaldon is not fit I will have no hesitation in including Jim again."

Calder, who will turn 47 in July, has been playing in the Highland League this season, with Inverurie Locos his last port of call, but he has now signed with Peterhead until the end of the season.

He takes his place alongside those footballers who believe turning 40 is no reason to pack away their shin pads.

Sir Stanley Matthews

The daddy of them all. The wizard of the wing is the only 50-year-old to appear in the top flight in England. Matthews was 50 years and five days when he played for Stoke City against Fulham in February 1965. Matthews is also the oldest player capped by England, making his final appearance in 1957, against Denmark, aged 42 years and 103 days.

Graeme Armstrong

Aged 44, the cultured sweeper turned out for Alloa Athletic away to Clyde in a Second Division game in April 2001.

Davie Irons

The veteran defender was 43 when he played for Gretna away to Albion Rovers in the Third Division in the final match of the 2004-05 season.

John Burridge

The oldest player to play in the Premiership. A man of many clubs, Burridge spent time in Scotland with Hibs, Aberdeen, Dumbarton, Falkirk and Queen of the South. But the bulk of his long and checkered career was in England and the extrovert keeper set the Premiership record when he kept goal for Manchester City against QPR in 1995 aged 43 years, five months and 11 days.

Harry Cairney

Stenhousemuir stalwart had a swan-song at Brechin City, finishing up - aged 41 - with a Second Division away game at Hamilton Accies at the end of the 2002-03 season.

Andy Millen

Still going strong in the SPL this season for St Mirren, Millen played in the defeat by Falkirk last month aged 41 years, nine months and 21 days.

Dean Windass

The former Aberdeen hero turned 38 on Sunday but has lost none of his predatory instincts. He fired home a hat-trick in the Championship for Hull City against Southend on Saturday, prompting his manager, Phil Brown, to predict that Windass could keep on playing until he's 46! Currently on loan at Hull from Bradford City.

Colin Cockle

Honourable mention must go to Cockle who - aged 48 - was Montrose's unused substitute goalkeeper for the Third Division home game with Berwick Rangers last month.

John Ryan

A not so honourable mention for Ryan who lays claim to the record of oldest player for a British professional club. As owner and chairman of the Conference side Doncaster Rovers, Ryan brought himself on as a last-minute substitute in the 4-2 win at Hereford in 2003. His age? Fifty-two years, 11 months and three weeks.

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