LEGENDARY Athletic goalkeeper Eddie Connachan, whose heroics helped them claim the Scottish Cup in 1961, has died.

Press Sport has learned that the twice-capped Scotland star, who was carried shoulder high off the pitch after the Pars defeated Celtic in the final replay, has passed away at the age of 85.

The 'miner with the golden hands' denied the Hoops with a string of top-class saves twice in the space of four days, as Dunfermline held the Glasgow giants to a scoreless draw in the first match, before sealing a famous win in the replay thanks to goals from Dave Thomson and Charlie Dickson.

Connachan arrived at East End in 1957 from Dalkeith Thistle and, by 1958/59, he had become first choice in goal, despite facing fierce competition both before and after the cup final from Jim Herriot.

Following Jock Stein's appointment as Pars boss - a man who the former Preston Grange miner described as a "superb tactician" and a "major ace in our pack" during an interview with the Press in 2011 - the club's fortunes changed in spectacular fashion, leading to their finest hour at Hampden.

Connachan played every match from the quarter final onwards and, even though Celtic icon, Billy McNeill, said at the time that he "broke our hearts and did as much as any keeper I have ever seen', the goalkeeper played down his role.

In his interview with the Press, he said: "It was just an amazing four days and we had a major ace in the pack in our manager Jock Stein.

"He was a superb tactician. When we lost centre half Jackie Williamson through an injury picked up in the first game he drafted in John Sweeney and he made a change bringing in Davie Thomson up front for Danny McLindon and the moves paid off.

"Davie scored a great goal while John came in at left back and worked overtime to keep our goal intact.

"But then everyone worked overtime in both games for we were up against a really good Celtic team which had players of the quality of Pat Crerand, Willie Fernie and Stevie Chalmers in it.

"But we had some very good players ourselves. Guys like Ronnie Mailer, Alex Smith, Geordie Peebles, Charlie Dickson, George Miller, Cammy Fraser, Willie Cunningham and Harry Melrose worked superbly as a team gelled together by Jock." 

READ MORE: Eddie Connachan relives club's finest hour

Connachan's form saw him capped twice for Scotland in 1962; against Czechoslovakia in a World Cup play-off, and against Uruguay, a game in which he was substituted.

He remained first choice as Dunfermline entered the European arena in 1961/62 - where they reached the last eight of the European Cup Winners Cup - but, by the following season, had largely lost his place to Herriot.

Connachan, who also gained four Scottish league caps, was transferred to Middlesbrough - after 172 first team appearances - for £5,500 in August 1963.

He played more than 100 matches for the Teessiders until he returned north, in 1966, to sign for Falkirk.

Two years later, Connachan emigrated to South Africa, playing for Port Elizabeth City and East London Celtic, before retiring in 1972.

In 2011, he returned to Dunfermline to participate in celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the club's triumph, having been inducted into the club's Hall of Fame four years earlier.