The phrase “one off” is seemingly used willy nilly to characterise people these days, but it could certainly be used to describe Carluke Rovers hero Malky Black, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Horrific shock greeted the news that charismatic, fedora-wearing former club chairman Malky had died suddenly on Thursday at the age of 54.
His shocked niece Sharman Wilson told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette: "Malky was simply the best, a diamond.
"He was always caring for everybody else and the family are all devastated.
"Malky used to sit in the car with my three kids and sing songs with them. He had a good sense of humour."
And current Rovers chairman Ian McKnight told us: “Malky was a highly regarded and well respected man in the junior ranks.
“He could be a bit of a maverick and was mainly recognised for his transformational foresight when Carluke was a languishing and struggling club.
“The club could have gone to the wall, but Malky’s strong leadership continued its survival and development.
“Malky was a visionary, a hard working chairman who was very industrious.
“His death is a big blow to the club and we held a minute’s silence before our 5-0 win over Ardeer Thistle on Saturday.”
Malky, who was unmarried, was living in Manchester in his latter years and working as a hugely popular car salesman in Manchester. He leaves sisters Dot and Yvonne.
Rovers paid the perfect tribute by thrashing Ardeer 5-0 to go fifth in McBookie.com League Two, three points shy of the promotion places.
A double by new striker Ciaran Lafferty, who has joined from Cambuslang Rangers – plus further strikes by Sam Biggart, James McAllister and Shaun Watson – had Carluke on easy street.
Such are the rapidly changing faces of junior teams these days – players rarely stay at the same club for more than a couple of seasons – Mark Weir is the only player still at Rovers from Malky’s days as chairman.
And Weir was suspended for the Ardeer visit so missed the match at John Cumming Stadium.
“It was great to win but the match was overshadowed by Malky’s passing,” Ian added.
“It’s been a sad couple of weeks for the club because we also lost John Horn – who for 20 years was a Rovers supporter and committee volunteer – at the age of 92.”
But at least both Malky and John would be delighted to know that Rovers are very much in the promotion mix.
“It is very tight at the top but we don’t want to get detached from the top three teams,” Ian said.
“It is important that we stay in touch and promotion is the ultimate aim.”
As we went to press, arrangements for Malky’s funeral hadn’t been finalised but the ceremony is expected to take place in Carluke.