Dundee United goalkeeping legend Billy Thomson dies aged 64

Thomson played for United in the 1987 UEFA Cup final.

Former Dundee United and Scotland goalkeeper Billy Thomson has died aged 64.

Thomson also had spells with St Mirren, Rangers and Dundee in a 22-year playing career.

He played for United in the 1987 UEFA Cup final and was capped seven times for his country between 1980 and 83.

After retiring from playing, Thomson was appointed goalkeeping coach at Rangers in 2001, leaving six years later, before coaching spells with Kilmarnock and Stranraer.

He also worked with the Scotland squad in manager Steve Clarke’s early games in charge.

Dundee United led the tributes to their legendary stopper, who was inducted into the club’s hall of fame.

United said: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of former player and hall of fame inductee Billy Thomson at the age of 64.

Thomson saves from Aberdeen striker Charlie Nicholas (not in picture).SNS Group

“Joining in 1984, Billy faced the unenviable tasking of taking over the gloves from Hamish McAlpine.

“A first-team regular until 1991, the goalkeeper made over 200 appearances for United, including being part of the squad that went all the way to the UEFA Cup final in 87.

“Everyone at Dundee United would like to extend their condolences to Billy’s family and friends.”

Thomson suffered a bad injury in the early minutes of the European final against Swedish side IFK Gothenburg, requiring five stitches to his left ear.

But he recovered from that blow to produce a performance described by manager Jim McLean as “magnificent”, despite United losing 2-1 on aggregate.

He then played in consecutive Scottish Cup finals for United, narrowly losing both in 1987 and 88.

After losing his place to Alan Main, Thomson moved to Motherwell in 1991, spending three years at Fir Park, before signing for Rangers as Andy Goram’s back-up.

He made just six appearances for the Ibrox side and ended his playing career with a spell at Dundee.

Thomson made his Scotland debut in May 1980 in a 1-0 defeat to Northern Ireland, who were the same opponent for his next two caps.

His international career saw him named mainly as a substitute keeper to Alan Rough and his final cap came in a 2-1 loss to East Germany in the Euro 84 qualifiers.

Thomson served under ten Kilmarnock managers during his 14-year coaching spell at Rugby Park.

The Ayrshire club said: “During this period, Kilmarnock would complete their quest to claim the elusive League Cup trophy in 2012 – which rounded off a haul of all three major national titles since being established – thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from Cammy Bell who was under Billy’s mentorship at the time.

“Responsible for the nurturing and development of numerous first-team and academy goalkeepers, Billy also worked alongside the likes of Alan Combe, Jamie MacDonald and more recently Daniel Bachmann who played a starring role as Kilmarnock secured European football under the guidance of Steve Clarke in 2019.

“Clarke subsequently called upon his trusted colleague to join the coaching staff for his initial matches in charge of the Scotland national team.”

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