Raith Rovers legends have jumped at the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Ally Gourlay by once again gracing the turf at Stark’s Park.
Ally, the club’s media officer and chairman of the Former Player’s Association, died last month aged just 53, and the Rovers board in conjunction with the Hall of Fame committee, of which Ally was also a member, wasted no time in setting up a memorial match in his honour.
‘Ally’s Game’ will take place on Sunday, April 10 between a Raith Rovers Select and a Legends XI and two of the sides’ former managers have agreed to return to the dugouts.
Jimmy Nicholl, manager of the famous Rovers side which won the Coca-Cola Cup and took on the mighty Bayern Munich in Europe will take charge of the Select side, whilst the Legends will be looked after by John McGlynn, who guided the club to a Second Division title and a Scottish Cup semi-final, and bagged the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award during his six years in charge.
John Greer, Ally’s close friend, who is helping to organise the match, said: “We’ve had a great response so far.
“Both Jimmy and John were more than delighted to get involved.
“I’m really pleased, but of course, as soon as you mention Ally’s name they are up for it.”
Ally was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer in 2014 and given just six months to live.
Defying all the odds, and facing up to his plight with determination and a wicked sense of humour, he survived for almost a further two years.
Lining up for Ally on the playing side, John announced that two of the Coca-Cola Cup winning side have agreed to turn out for the Legends: ex-Scotland internationalists Stevie Crawford and Colin Cameron.
Joining them will be team mates Peter Hetherston and Jock McStay, who both played a huge part in taking the club to the Premier League in the early 1990s.
And from more recent times, Stevie Hislop, Todd Lumsden and the ever-popular Marvin Andrews will also run out on to the famous Stark’s Park turf again.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that they’re all coming,” John said.
“They were delighted to be asked and are all eager to play.”
More names will be announced over the coming weeks and John said that a lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes.
“We’re still working on a lot of different things,” he said.
“I’ve been in touch with Dunfermline and it looks like we’ll have a Rovers-Pars penalty shoot out at half time.
“It’s things like that which are going to add to what will be great occasion.
“Of course we are there to honour Ally but at the same time we want to have a good, fun day for everyone to enjoy, which is what he would have wanted.”
A special souvenir programme will be produced for the match, which kicks off at 2.30pm, and all proceeds raised will go to Maggie’s Fife at Ally’s own request.
A donation will also be meade to Rovers’ youth development.
Fans are being asked to use the hashtag #Allysgame to help promote the match on social media.