Dundee United legend Dave Bowman has delivered a heartfelt tribute to Jim McLean, saying: “In my football career, he was everything.”
Bowman – who made 429 appearances in tangerine – paid his respects to his late former manager outside Tannadice after training on Monday afternoon alongside current United boss Micky Mellon.
The 56-year-old coach told DUTV: “He did everything personally for me, and there were things he did for me that weren’t even for the benefit of Dundee United.
After training yesterday, Manager Micky Mellon and coach Dave Bowman paid their own respects as they passed by the tributes to Jim McLean that are being placed outside Tannadice. 🧡
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“I’ve got so much to thank the guy for. He was a great guy.
“With him the whole club evolved – that’s what we’re striving to get back to now.
“It’s a sad, sad time. He loved the portrayal of him being this Mr Grumpy.
“He wasn’t – he had a sense of humour.
“He was tough on us all the time, there were no favourites. But he was a football genius.
“At the time you probably don’t appreciate it. It’s when you retire, you think about how far ahead the guy was.
“He was something special.”
The former Scotland man recalled McLean’s decision to leave him out of a United fixture so he was fully fit to make his national team debut against Finland in March 1992.
Bowman said: “He knew I was playing (in the starting XI for Scotland).
“And he didn’t leave me out for Jim McLean or for Dundee United. He left me out for me.
“He knew if I got injured I might never have been called up again. He knew from Andy Roxburgh I was playing.
“It’s wee things like that people don’t see.
“The bigger picture was that he was this grumpy guy and all he did was shout and fine people money all the time. But he wasn’t like that.”
Micky Mellon said it was “an honour” to be following in McLean’s footsteps in the Tangerines hot seat.
Jim McLean’s legacy
He added: “The club very much runs to the principles that Jim McLean created and it will continue to do that – youth, hard work, organisation, fitness and a desire to want to win games of football for the people of Dundee.
“The legacy lives on. He’ll be very much missed.
“At the end of the day, he wasn’t all about Dundee United – he’s a husband, a grandfather, a brother and our thoughts and best wishes go out to his family at this tough time.”