COWDENBEATH have paid tribute to a 'hero' of Central Park following the sad news of his passing.

Everyone connected with club was truly saddened to learn of the death Willie Callaghan, at the early age of just 56.

Like his famous father, of the same name, he played for both Cowden and Dunfermline and he was a member of a family which has the unique record of four separate generations having played for the Blue Brazil.

Prior to first going senior, Willie represented Hill of Beath Swifts, where he played in the side which won the Under-14 Scottish Cup, and Dunfermline Railway Club.

He then had two spells with Dunfermline, including loans to Cowden twice, Walsall, Portadown, and Clyde, sandwiched between a junior stint with Halbeath Juniors.

Back in the juniors with the highly successful Kelty Hearts side, he played a trial for Albion Rovers before Jim Leishman signed him again for both Inverness Thistle and then Montrose.

Cowden secretary, and club historian, David Allan, recalled: “In 1992/93, at last, Cowdenbeath captured Willie on a permanent basis.

“A fast, hard-working striker, Willie was top scorer in his first two full seasons with the Blue Brazil. He was Cowden’s Player of the Year in 1994.

"Jim Leishman then signed him for Livingston as he had done on several occasions in the past.

He then played for Partick Thistle before going junior again and playing for several clubs including Camelon, Lochore Welfare and Glenafton.

“Willie scored 28 league goals for Cowden.

"Many were highly memorable including both goals at East End Park in a miraculous 2-0 Cowden victory. These goals cost Dunfermline promotion and ended Cowden’s awful run of 33 league games without a win.

“He also a year later scored the winner versus Arbroath that ended Cowden’s 38 home matches without a win hoodoo."

David added: “Our condolences go out to Willie Snr, Liam and all the Callaghan family.

“Thanks for all the great memories Cal - you will be much missed by us all.

"It only seems like yesterday when you were a Central Park hero - that's how time slips away!"