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

St John made 425 appearances for the Reds and scored 118 goals as a key member of Bill Shankly’s famous side of the 1960s.

The Merseyside outfit confirmed St John died on Monday evening following illness.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of a true Anfield legend, Ian St John,” the club said.

“The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club are with Ian’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time. Rest in peace, Ian St John 1938-2021.”

In a statement on Liverpool’s website, the St John 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.”

St John won two first division titles under Shankly and scored the winning goal in the 1965 FA Cup final.

He also represented Scotland 21 times, scoring nine goals.

After retiring in 1973, St John went on to manage his hometown club Motherwell and also Portsmouth.

But he won a new generation of fans in the 1980s presenting the popular Saturday afternoon football show Saint and Greavsie alongside former Tottenham and England forward Jimmy Greaves.

A post on Greaves’ Twitter account on Monday morning said: “We are very sad to hear the Saint has passed away.

“Ian St John and I had great fun working on the Saint and Greavsie.

“He was a lovely man & will be sadly missed by many, many people. We must also remember he was a great footballer for Bill Shankly’s Liverpool and beyond. #IanStJohn.”

Former Liverpool forward and manager Sir Kenny Dalglish said on the club’s website: “I think it’s right to use the word ‘icon’.

“It’s because of what he did in those early days, Shanks especially, the Saint and Big Yatesey (Ron Yeats), his big mucker, and it’s because of them where this football club is at this particular moment in time.

“We should be eternally grateful for what he did for the football club.

“I’m sure he knew that when he was here, the club really appreciated and revered him for what he did for us.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to “a true legend” and told the club’s official website it had been an honour to meet St John.

“He was not only football-wise a legend, but a true legend as a person. It was a pure pleasure to meet him,” Klopp said.

Klopp added: “I feel really honoured to have met him and when I heard the news today, I was devastated. All my prayers go to his family and I know he is in a better place as well.

“I am really, really happy I had the opportunity to meet him.”

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher posted 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. X”

Former Reds captain Steven Gerrard heard the news during his Rangers press conference.

The Gers boss said: “That’s a shock and a surprise to me. I didn’t know that.

“I’m really disappointed to hear that. He’s an iconic figure at Liverpool Football Club.

“He’s someone I’ve met on numerous occasions. A fantastic guy. Really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.

“So I’m really devastated to hear that news to be honest with you. Shocked as well, so I’d like to pass on my condolences to all his family and everyone close to the Saint. He’s a legend and an iconic figure at the club and someone I’ve got incredible respect for.”

Ex-striker Ian Rush wrote on Twitter: “RIP Ian St John. Sleep well legend!! Thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time.”

Current players also paid tribute, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson tweeting: “RIP Ian St John. One of the greats.”

Midfielder James Milner posted: “RIP Ian St John – what a player, what a man.”

Left-back and fellow Scot Andy Robertson wrote: “A man of warmth, humour, knowledge, wisdom and joy.

“Scotland and Liverpool has lost a true giant. My love goes to his family. Rest in peace Ian St John.”

St John began his career with Motherwell in 1957 and scored 80 goals in 113 league games.

The Scottish Premiership club said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Ian St John.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

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About the author

Niall McCaughan

Broadcast Journalist
Sport Social's Broadcast Journalist. Host of the Football Social Daily podcast. Football Commentator for Manchester United. Big Pompey fan.
Follow @niallpfc on Twitter

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