FORMER Hearts captain Gary Mackay has launched his autobiography at Tynecastle.
The fans’ favourite, who played 737 times for the Edinburgh club, was joined by friends, family and ex-teammates for the unveiling of ‘Maroon Heart – The Gary Mackay Story’.
Written in conjunction with Talk 107 journalist Mark Donaldson, the book tells the warts-and-all story of Mackay’s playing days with Hearts, Airdrie and Scotland.
And on a tough day for football due to the announcement of the untimely death of Dundee Utd chairman Eddie Thomson, the former-Scottish internationalist managed to take time out to pay his respects to a man he described as “humble”.
Mackay, who still holds the appearance record for the Tynecastle side, was joined at the launch by his old boss Alex McDonald, and former teammates Walter Kidd, Sandy Clark and Willie Johnstone.
He said: “I was approached two years ago to tell my life story and it was then I spoke to Mark Donaldson to help me with it. Overall, I’m delighted with the book and everything that’s in it is true, and I’ve been as open as I could have been.
“My favourite memories have to be about my derby record against Hibs, which is really important to me. I’ve devoted a chapter about those matches in the book because I played in 54 and was only defeated eight times.
“I’m a local lad and I went to school just round the corner from Tynecastle, so my record is a big, big thing for me.
“Some of my favourite characters in the game have joined me today. Guys like Alex McDonald, Sandy Clark and Walter Kidd took me along the right road. You don’t become a professional footballer without help from your peers and these guys helped me enormously.”
Currently a football agent for stars such as Gary O’Connor and Lee Wallace, Mackay also spoke of the highs and lows he encountered during his time as a player.
“Being capped for your country is a wonderful thing, but I think playing for as long as I did has to be the highlight of my career.
“And of course the worst footballing moment I describe in the book has to be that week in May in 1986 when we lost the league title up at Dens Park, and then lost the Scottish Cup to Aberdeen the following week.
“The book is all about my experiences in the game and friendship was a huge part of me enjoying my career.”
The dyed-in-the-wool Jambo also believes the current crop of Hearts stars can win over the fans after their sticky start to the season by beating arch-rivals Hibs in the first Edinburgh derby of the season on Sunday.
He said: “Hibernian will go into the game as the favourites, and they have three prolific strikers in Nish, Fletcher and Riordan so Hearts will have to defend very well on the day.
“Saying that, if they do defend well that should give them a solid base to go on and win the football match.”
And kind-hearted Mackay also paid tribute to Eddie Thomson who tragically passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer.
“My condolences go out to the Thomson family. He was a very humble man and he had a great way with him with other people. He’ll be sadly missed.”
Mackay’s autobiography will be on general release this week.