Regarded as one of the finest strikers to grace the Highland League, Donald “Ginger” Mackenzie, Inverness Caledonian’s all-time leading goal scorer, has died just after turning 91.
Mr Mackenzie was born in Inverness on March 1, 1928, and attended Merkinch Primary School before progressing onto Inverness Technical School, now known as Inverness High School.
Mr Mackenzie joined Inverness Caledonian Football Club in 1946 where his illustrious playing career began.
The striker began playing at Muirpark before progressing to 2nd Caledonian. His entrance to the Highland League would come during the 1947-48 season.
Ginger, as he was affectionately known for his flame-red hair, would go on to win three Scottish Qualifying Cups with The Blues between 1948 and 1950, forming a formidable partnership with the Telford Street side’s Andy “Jupie” Mitchell.
In a career spanning nine seasons with Caledonian, Mr Mackenzie would score a remarkable 425 goals, making him the club’s all-time top goal scorer.
Yesterday, his nephew and Caledonian historian Ian Davidson paid tribute to his uncle.
He said: “On a personal level my Uncle was someone we always looked up to from a young age. His sporting achievements made him a hero to us.
“He was very much a gentleman both on and of the park, and never booked or sent-off throughout his playing career. However, above all, he was a family man first and foremost, who will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.”
Mr Mackenzie’s remarkable goals tally was rewarded with numerous representative honours for the Highland League, Inverness FA and North of Scotland FA, even capturing the eye of Newcastle United, with a trial at St James Park following.
He emigrated to Winnipeg in Canada in June 1956, moving his young family where he would remain until his death last week. An electrician to trade, Ginger would spend his days in the Great White North working on hydro schemes before retirement.
Mr Mackenzie turned 91 last week, just 24 hours before his death following a short battle with illness.
He is survived by his son David, a former professional footballer, who now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his family.