Jimmy Greaves led the tributes to great friend Ian St John after the former Liverpool and Scotland striker’s death at the age of 82 following a long illness.
St John made more than 400 appearances for Liverpool, helping them claim two league titles while he scored the winning goal in the 1965 FA Cup final as the Reds got their hands on the famous trophy for the first time.
He won a new generation of fans after his playing retirement, presenting the popular Saturday afternoon football show Saint and Greavsie alongside former Tottenham and England forward Greaves.
And Greaves paid homage to his on-screen partner after Liverpool confirmed St John had died on Monday evening.
“We are very sad to hear the Saint has passed away,” a statement on Greaves’ official Twitter account read.
“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.”
Ex-Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard heard the news during his Rangers press conference and said: “That’s a shock and a surprise to me. I’m really disappointed to hear that. He’s an iconic figure at Liverpool Football Club.
“So I’m really devastated to hear that news, 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.”
Former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher added on Sky Sports: “”He’s a Liverpool legend, that term gets used a lot because the club have had so much success in the past.
“I always think of those players under Bill Shankly, and Ian St John was one of them, who have really started what Liverpool Football Club is today. For me these are the most important players in the club’s history.
“You think where the club would be without those players and certainly the manager, and what he did in bringing the FA Cup for the first time back to Liverpool, those league titles in the ’60s and that was just the bedrock of where the club was built.”
A number of past and present Liverpool players took to Twitter to pay their respects to St John, who made 425 appearances for the Merseysiders and scored 118 goals.
Current Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: “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.”
Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson said: “So sad to hear of the passing of the Saint. He gave me one of my greatest childhood memories in him winning the FA Cup in ’65. RIP Ian, YNWA.”
Ex-Reds striker Ian Rush added: “RIP Ian St John sleep well legend!! Thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time.”
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.”
St John also represented Scotland 21 times, scoring nine goals.
The Scottish Football Association said: “We are saddened by the passing of former @ScotlandNT international Ian St John.
“Ian won 21 caps for his country, scoring nine times during a career that saw him represent @MotherwellFC and @LFC. The thoughts of everyone at the Scottish FA are with Ian’s family and friends.”
ITV said in a statement on its official website: “At ITV we are deeply saddened at the news of Ian’s passing.
“Ian was a top class presenter for ITV whose long-running Saturday lunchtime football show, Saint and Greavsie, which he hosted with his great friend Jimmy Greaves, was original, funny and a viewing fixture for a whole generation of football fans who will share our fond memories of Ian.”