FORMER Dunfermline boss Tom Forsyth has been described as "a real gentleman" by his successor following his death last week.

Jim Leishman said that the former Scotland defender, who was 71, had provided advice that would help his own managerial career while working together at East End in the early 1980s.

After beginning his career with Motherwell, for whom he made 150 league appearances in five years, Forsyth spent 10 years with Rangers, where he won nine trophies, including two domestic trebles.

In addition to earning 22 international caps, and appearing at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, he left Ibrox in March 1982 after a recurring knee injury brought his playing career to an end.

Six months later, after Pat Stanton resigned to join Hibernian, Forsyth, then aged 33, was appointed as Pars boss but resigned little more than a year later, having recorded just 10 wins from 48 matches.

Club legend Leishman, who stepped up from his role as reserve team boss to take over, likened Forsyth the player to another Athletic icon, Norrie McCathie, in that he would be a first pick because "you knew you were going to get a performance".

Although acknowledging that Forsyth's managerial stint didn't quite work out, Leishman told Press Sport: "Tam Forsyth came in with his assistant, Cammy Murray, and they put me in charge of the second team.

"That was sort of me getting on the ladder to go up the way. I learned a lot from them.

"I think the problem when Tam came to Dunfermline was that he was geared for full-time football at the time, and Dunfermline were part-time. The players would come in and Tam wanted that much on the Tuesday and the Thursday I think he forgot that these guys were part-time.

"The guy was a top international and a top player. I enjoyed working with him and listening to him and talking to him. We had a lot of times just the two of us because I was recovering from a cartilage operation, so I was about the park all the time, and he was there all the time. We had good blethers.

"He was a great gardener; he loved his vegetables. He would give me leeks and onions, and he showed me how to grow the huge big onions! It was great.

"A spade was a spade with him. At that time, some of the players could have done better I think. I think when he left we were 34th or something out of 38 teams. When I took over that's where we were and it was a hard time for Dunfermline. There wasn't much money going about at that time.

"I thought he was a real character, a real gentleman, and as I said a spade was a spade with him.

"It just didn't work out for him."

After leaving East End, Forsyth then worked as assistant manager to Tommy McLean at Greenock Morton, Motherwell and Hearts, which included steering the Lanarkshire club to a memorable Scottish Cup triumph in 1991.

In an obituary posted on their website, the Pars added: "Dunfermline Athletic are sad to learn of the death of one of their former managers, Tom Forsyth.

"He held the manager’s position from September 1982 to October 1983 and the club’s thoughts and condolences go to Tom’s family."

Forsyth's funeral was held yesterday (Friday).