Gifted Tynecastle favourite Malcolm Robertson dies at 59

MALCOLM Robertson, a former winger who gave distinguished service to Hearts, Raith Rovers and Ayr United in the 1970s and early 1980s, has died of a suspected heart attack. He was 59.

Equally at home on either flank, he was a skilful and pacy wideman who began his career in the juniors.

Edinburgh-born Robertson first came to prominence with Penicuik Athletic whom he helped reach the 1970 Scottish Junior Cup final.

His form was attracting the interest of senior clubs and he signed for Raith the following year, scoring an impressive 53 goals in 140 games before moving on to Ayr United in 1975.

His stock rose with Ayr and Hearts signed him just before the transfer deadline in March 1977 for 25,000 at a time when the Gorgie club were battling with Ayr to avoid relegation. With a handful of games remaining the two sides met in a tense encounter at Tynecastle, from which Ayr prevailed 2-1, Robertson having been sent off in the final minute for retaliation towards Jim McSherry. Hearts were relegated for the first time in their history later that month.

Better times were to follow for Robertson at Hearts where he became a fans' favourite, although he had to vie with Bobby Prentice for the left-wing slot.

The Tynecastle club were yo-yoing between the Premier and First Divisions at this stage and Robertson helped them win promotion in 1978 and 1980. In the final match of the latter campaign it was Robertson who supplied the cross for Frank Liddell to score a last-gasp winner against Airdrie to give Hearts the First Division title at the expense of the Lanarkshire club.

He moved to Canada the following year to play for Toronto Blizzard, returning to Scotland to play briefly for Dundee United and Hibs before trying his luck in Maltese football.

His son Sandy played for Rangers in the early 1990s.