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Hearts mourn Bowman, a player capable of filling Mackay's boots

FORMER Hearts player Andy Bowman has died after a long battle with illness. He was 74.

Bowman, father of former Hearts and Dundee United player Dave, was a much admired and valued member of the Tynecastle family having won two league titles with the club. The half-back helped his side to win the Scottish League title in 1957-58 and 1959-60. He also won a Scottish League Cup winner's medal in 1959 after a 2-1 win over Third Lanark at Hampden. He was known as a forceful tackler, and endlessly vigorous competitor.

Born in Pittenweem in 1934, Bowman's career had originally taken him to London, where he signed for Chelsea when only 15. Having failed at such a young age to make an impact, he was delighted when Hearts moved to bring him back to Scotland in a £1,000 deal.

It proved a steal as far as Hearts were concerned, with the club set to embark on glory days in Gorgie. For Bowman, too, the move paid dividends.

Bowman made his debut against Partick Thistle in the League Cup in August 1955 and made five further appearances in the same competition before making way for Dave Mackay and John Cumming to renew their half-back partnership. But he featured in over half the games when Hearts won the league title in 1957-58.

According to team-mate Alex Young, the greatest compliment that can be paid to Bowman is that when he deputised for either Mackay or Cumming you barely noticed.

"He was a first-class player," said Young, who also played in both title wins in a golden era for Hearts. "He was a smashing man and had a great sense of humour. When I was 18, I joined up at Hearts and he had come up from Chelsea, and was three years older. He helped me settle.

"To tell you how good he was, the second time we won the championship in 1959-60, Dave Mackay had already been sold to Tottenham Hotspur. Andy moved into the side and there was no change. He just filled in, and did everything that Dave did. But he did that lots of times before that as well.

"He played a lot of games in 1957-58. Mackay and Cumming were normally who we had in midfield but whenever one of them came out Andy moved in and everything was just the same. He was a terrific player."

Bowman scored twice in the title run-in in 1958, when Hearts won the league by an incredible 13 points from Rangers. In all he played 135 times for Hearts before losing his place in 1960-61.

"He was a funny guy – a typical Fifer," added Young. "He never had any chips on his shoulder about Mackay and Cumming being picked before him. But he played many games anyway as these lads got hurt a lot."

Bowman's next stop was Wales, where he signed for Newport County. He also had a spell in non-league football with Tonbridge, following which he had a brief stint in the United States. He returned to Scotland in July 1965 and played for a spell with Hamilton Accies, finishing his career at Hawick Royal Albert.

His son Dave followed in his footsteps and joined Hearts in 1980. He became the youngest player in the club's history to clock up 100 appearances. His career was not as decorated as his father's in terms of medals, although he did win six Scotland caps when with Dundee United. He is currently a youth coach at the Tannadice club.

Former Hearts striker John Robertson got to know Bowman through his son, and paid tribute on the Hearts website.

"He was part of the greatest ever Hearts team and he himself was a great player," he said. "I was fortunate through his son Davie to be a family friend and he was of great comfort to me at the time of my father's death.

"He was a great man, a great player, and a gentleman who can rightly stand shoulder to shoulder with his team-mates. He will be sorely missed."

Taken from the Scotsman

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