Hearts manager Jim Jefferies has paid tribute to former Jambos keeper Jim Cruickshank, who has died at the age of 69. Cruickshank, spent 17 years with the Tynecastle side and was capped six times for Scotland.
“This is another sad loss. Jim was the goalie when I first signed for Hearts,” Jefferies told the club website. “He was a fantastic shot-stopper and was great at penalties.”
“I shared a room with him on a couple of European trips and played golf with him on a number of occasions,” added Jefferies. “There’s no doubt he was his own character. He maybe wasn’t the greatest trainer but he more than made up for that by what he did when he crossed the white line in earnest.”
Former Hearts keeper Craig Gordon paid tribute to Cruickshank, “I never saw Jim play but my dad told me plenty of stories about him, it was upsetting to hear the news. For the club to lose someone so steeped in its history is very sad for everyone associated with Hearts. People always talk about how Hearts has had a tradition of producing good goalkeepers and Jim Cruickshank was undoubtedly one of the best, if not THE best keeper to play for the club.”
Former team-mate Dave Clunie said, “I visited Jim just a few weeks ago at his home. This is a very sad day. He was a fantastic goalkeeper and the only reason he didn’t play more games for Scotland was due to the fact he didn’t play for either Celtic or Rangers. I remember after he played against England, Wales and Northern Ireland without losing a goal – and got dropped! His reactions were superb and he was a super keeper. He maybe wasn’t the biggest keeper and I think if he had been another six inches taller he would have been a superstar.”
Hearts will mark Cruickshank’s death before their home Scottish Premier League match against Hamilton on Saturday.