Ian St John: Former Liverpool and Scotland striker dies aged 82

Legendary ex-Liverpool striker Ian St John dies aged 82; St John's arrival at Anfield in 1961 was vital to the transformation of the club under Bill Shankly; St John scored winning goal in FA Cup final in 1965

Ian St John has died at the age of 82
Image: Ian St John, who made his name at Liverpool and won 21 caps for Scotland, has died at the age of 82

Former Liverpool and Scotland striker Ian St John has died at the age of 82.

St John was a key player in the great Liverpool team assembled in the 1960s by Bill Shankly which rose from the second division to win two English league titles and an FA Cup in 1965, in which he scored the winning goal in the final.

He made 21 international appearances for Scotland, scoring nine goals.

In a statement, his family said: "It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that after a long illness we have lost a husband, father and grandfather.

"He passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside. We would like to thank all the staff at Arrowe Park Hospital for their hard work and dedication during these very difficult times.

"The family would be grateful for privacy at this extremely sad time."

Ian St John, pictured playing for Liverpool in 1969
Image: St John pictured playing for Liverpool in 1969

St John made his name in Scotland with the club he supported as a boy, Motherwell, with his 80 goals in 113 league games for the Steelmen attracting the attention of several other clubs and earning him international recognition.

It was Liverpool who won the race to sign St John, paying a club record fee of £37,500 in June 1961 for a player who would go on to give them a decade of service and score 118 goals in 424 appearances for the club.

At the time of his retirement, Shankly said of the signing, and that of Ron Yeats later that summer: "The turning point and the beginning of the whole affair was the signing of Ian St John and Ron Yeats."

Legend has it that when Shankly approached his board for the funds they questioned the wisdom of spending so much on one player, to which he replied: "We can't afford not to buy him."

After being almost ever-present in the Liverpool team for eight seasons, St John left the club in August 1971 and played briefly for Hellenic in Cape Town, South Africa and Coventry City before retiring in 1973.

He also managed Motherwell and Portsmouth and then became well known as a pundit alongside another former player, Jimmy Greaves, on the hugely popular Saturday football television show Saint and Greavsie from 1985 to 1992.

Former Liverpool midfielder and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said: "Ian St John is an iconic figure at Liverpool. I'm devastated to hear this news and would like to send my condolences to all of his family."

3:10
Jamie Carragher says St John is one of 'the most important players in Liverpool's history'

Ex-Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter: "RIP Ian St John. Another Liverpool Legend sadly passes away. One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today. I'll remember him most on the best football show on tv, The Saint & Greavsie."

Around Sky