Sayer tells McAlpine: You make me feel like singing

DUNDEE United fans will have special reason to get to the game early against Livingston today for a first public airing of the lost classic Hamish the Goalie at Tannadice Park.

This version is sung not by its author, the great Michael Marra, but by the perhaps less revered Seventies disco boogie-woogie merchant Leo Sayer, whose own interpretation of the paean to former Dundee United goalkeeper Hamish McAlpine has gathered dust though certainly not repute since he recorded it in 1983.

Back then the singer was in his prime and more used to warbling his hits such as One Man Band, Moonlighting, or You Make Me Feel Like Dancing than paying tribute to mustachioed Scottish goalies.

Quite how he copes with the legendary couplet "Gus Foy pointed at the side of the goal/ And said, there's Grace Kelly by Taylor Brothers Coal" remains to be heard, though the wait is almost over.

The version was forgotten about for over 20 years until a Dundee-based radio station received a request to play it, and the call went out for a copy. Not even Leo - now based in Australia where, it says here, "he still has a loyal fan-base" - could lay his hands on a disc that might as well have been nestling in his frizzy dome of hair for all he knew.

But he remembered the song, and its subject: "Hamish McAlpine was an amazing character," said Sayer, clearly a closet Arab. "He lifted so many spirits during his playing years; and it's a wonder he's not on any honours list.

"On a couple of visits to Dundee I asked some local folk about him. I found out he was just like he was portrayed in the song - it was all true!"

Marra was present in London when Sayer recorded his song and liked the version. His son Mathew stumbling across it on an old tape means the song can now be relayed to a wider audience at Tannadice Park this afternoon.

Sayer has even hinted that sometime in the future he could come and perform it live himself: "These days I live in Sydney, but one day I'd love to sing Hamish live at Tannadice - wouldn't that be great?"

Jim McLean was last night unavailable for comment.