ANDY Kinnell is the latest of our Hometown footballing heroes remembered by Cowdenbeath FC's history guru David Allan.

Andy was born on Valentine’s Day 1947 at 183 Foulford Road, Cowdenbeath.

The Cowdenbeath Advertiser in July 1958 reported that 5,000 people assembled at the Public Park for the Store Treat. In the junior football tournament the winners were Foulford. Their team comprised Andy Kinnell, George Moran (later Dunfermline and Cowden), I Drummond, T Adamson, E Young, R Reid and A McLean. Andy then went on to play for Beath High.

Andy joined Cowdenbeath Royals and then Cowdenbeath in 1964. He was farmed out to Sauchie Juniors for a spell - to be toughened up and gain experience. He made his Cowdenbeath debut in 1964 aged just 17 and spent eight splendid years at Central Park. Originally a wing-half, he moved into the centre half berth early in his career and never looked back. Andy had impeccable timing both in the air and on the ground. Never flustered, Andy was a class player who could mix it with the best of them when necessary.

He was Cowden’s player of the year in 1968. Other teams were keen on him – Willie Cunningham came to the Kinnell house up at Kirkford to try and persuade both Andy and his brother George to join another pair of Cowdenbeath brothers (Tom and Willie Callaghan) at East End Park. Raith Rovers were desperate to sign him.

Andy of course skippered Cowden to promotion in 1970 as well as during their year in the top flight plus in the League Cup semi final at Hampden v Rangers. He was an inspiration to this fine Cowden side. Cowden manager Andy Matthew said then: ‘I hate going into a game without centre half Andy Kinnell. He plays his heart out for us. He holds the team together at times and I couldn't over-estimate his value to the club’.

Ex-Cowden keeper, Jim McArthur, recalled: ‘Andy was always bawling and shouting at me but he helped me grow up quickly in a football sense. He read the game brilliantly and was very brave’.

Big Jim Taylor also recalls Andy and his mother Daisy who of course made her mark on the future Sir Alex Ferguson. ‘Andy Kinnell wasn’t fast but his anticipation was first class. He was so determined and hard as nails. He really was irreplaceable. Andy’s mother was at every match. She did the teas and gave him fantastic backing’.

In 1972, Andy realised his ambition to go full-time when Willie Ormond signed him for St Johnstone for £8,000. He was with the Perth club for four seasons and went on to captain Saints in the Premier League. Andy made 94 appearances for the Muirton men.

When Saints were relegated in 1976 and decided to go part-time, Andy decided to hang up his boots. He turned down some offers to consider management, as he didn’t believe he was cut out for that side of the game. To this day Andy still lives in Cowdenbeath and remains a true local legend.

Andy’s old Cowden centre half partner, Jim Moore told me: "I was playing golf once and met an ex-Montrose player. He remembered me and said ‘Cowdenbeath! If Moore doesn’t get you Kinnell or Taylor will!” Another ex-team mate Davie Cairns said: "Andy was a hero to us – he still is even today. He was the best player we had by a mile. He was hard and strong but in terms of football ability he was second to none. He was a real captain".