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Tottenham announce that legend and former captain Dave Mackay has died

Former Tottenham and Hearts captain Dave Mackay has died after a long illness. He was 80.

The Scot passed away at the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, on Monday evening and Tottenham confirmed the news in a statement calling Mackay "one of our greatest ever players".

Mackay played 318 times for Tottenham between 1959 and 1968. He was known for combining skill and precise passing with fierce determination and tough-tackling. George Best described him as his hardest opponent - while Brian Clough called him Tottenham's greatest-ever player.

His manager at Tottenham, Bill Nicholson called Mackay his greatest-ever signing while Sir Alex Ferguson says Mackay would captain his dream all-time Scotland XI.

Mackay was an established Scotland international when he moved to White Hart Lane from boyhood club Hearts for £32,000 in March 1959.

He had won all three Scottish domestic honours and was voted Scotland’s Player of the Year while with Hearts, where his renowned determination, enthusiasm, power, commitment and bravery first surfaced.

Mackay was at the heart of Tottenham's famous 1961 domestic double-winning side, the first time it had been achieved that century, and was also a key member of the team that retained the FA Cup the following season.

Injury kept him out of Spurs' 1963 European Cup Winners’ Cup final triumph over Atletico Madrid, as the Londoners became the first British side to win a European trophy.

He formed a defensive combination with another Tottenham legend Danny Blanchflower and, when the Northern Ireland international left in 1964, Mackay took over the captaincy.

Mackay led the club to another FA Cup triumph in 1967 over Chelsea, breaking his leg twice in the run to Wembley.

He left Tottenham for Clough's Derby County in July 1968 after 318 appearances and 51 goals, and was named joint Footballer of the Year the following season, along with Manchester City's Tony Book, after helping them win promotion to the First Division.

Following a brief spell as player-manager of Swindon Town, he had a year in charge of Nottingham Forest before retgurning to Derby, where he replaced Clough, in October 1973.

He led County to the First Division title in 1975 but within two seasons took over at Walsall before moving to Kuwait where he had spells in charge of three club sides. Mackay returned to the UK to manage Birmingham in 1987 before going back to the Middle East.

He won 22 caps for Scotland and represented his country at the World Cup finals in Sweden in 1958.

A Spurs statement said: "Dave Mackay will certainly always be remembered here as one of our greatest ever players and a man who never failed to inspire those around him.

"In short, a Spurs legend. We extend our condolences to the Mackay family at this sad time."

Derby County’s president Sam Rush said: Everyone at Derby County is truly saddened at the news that Dave Mackay has passed away.

“Dave Mackay is a legend at Derby County and his name will forever be etched into the history of the club for the fantastic contribution that he made, both as a player and a manager.

“Fans still talk of his influence to this day and he will be forever remembered as a true great of our football club. Our condolences and thoughts go to his family and friends at this time.”

His first club Hearts added: "Dave lost his long battle with illness at the age of 80 with his family at his bedside in Nottingham.

"A fearless defender regarded as the club's greatest-ever player, Dave won the league title, Scottish Cup and Scottish League Cup (twice) with Hearts before going on to star for Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County.

"Our sincerest condolences go to his family at this extremely sad time."

Spurs will hold a minute's silence for Mackay ahead of Wednesday night's Premier League clash with Swansea City.

The Scottish Football Association have confirmed a minute's applause will be held in honour of Mackay before Scotland's friendly against Northern Ireland at Hampden Park on March 25.

A statement released on the SFA website read: "The Scottish FA is deeply saddened by the news of Dave Mackay's death.

"He was a legendary figure with Heart of Midlothian, Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County; an inspirational pillar for the clubs with whom he played with distinction and, of course, his country."

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