Everyone at Raith Rovers Football Club is saddened to hear of the passing of popular Rovers’ left back of the early nineties Ian MacLeod, at the young age of 53.
‘Marsh’ as he was known to his team-mates, originally started his career at Motherwell, playing over 250 games in the claret and amber before joining Falkirk in 1986, and playing just under 100 games at Brockville.
He was signed by Frank Connor from Falkirk in the summer of 1989 and initially played in a defensive midfield role alongside Cammy Fraser and George McGeachie, making his debut in a friendly against Rangers on 2nd August. He made his first competitive match in the season’s opener, a 2 – 0 home win over Morton ten days later. When Jimmy Nicholl arrived as manager he moved Ian to left back, gradually taking over the position held by Derek Murray.
One of his most prominent games came on a Tuesday night in August 1991when, with Nicholl holding the right back role, and partnered by Davie Sinclair, Shaun Dennis and George McGeachie in the centre of defence, Rovers trounced Scottish Cup holders Motherwell 4 -1 at Stark’s Park in the second round of the League Cup. Everyone remembers Martin Nelson’s wonder goal in the tie, but the work of McLeod and his defensive colleagues that night cannot go unacknowledged.
The following season, however, would see McLeod gain legendary status as Rovers romped to the First Division title, Rovers’ first Championship in 44 years, and Marsh playing in 34 of the 44 league games that season.
Solid and dependable with a good ‘engine’ and fine distribution, he was one of the earliest ‘wing backs’ in an era which saw full backs transform their game into one where they joined in with attacking options, and McLeod was a virtual powerhouse going forward.
He started with the team in the Premier League, however his decision to remain part-time saw him gradually replaced by Jason Rowbotham and then Julian Broddle, and he moved to Meadowbank Thistle late in 1993, his last match in a Rovers jersey being in a 2 – 2 draw at home to Partick Thistle on 21st August.
All in all he played 189 games for Raith Rovers, scoring 5 goals, and currently stands at number 78 in Raith’s greatest appearance table.
Loved by his colleagues and fans alike, ‘Marsh’ was someone with a likeable personality who never played the ‘footballer’ card in company, making time for everyone he came in contact with.
All at Raith Rovers send their deepest condolences to Ian’s family and friends at this sad time.
Funeral details to follow.
Written by Ally Gourlay