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In actual fact Ian Andrews was signed before Alan Rough, but the Englishman endured an horrific afternoon in an Old Firm derby, conceding five goals. “I got a signed top at the end of the tour,” recalls Mc Alpine.“The boys signed an actual strip for me, an outfield jersey. I just went to play for Arbroath, then chucked it after a few months.”He doesn’t recall exactly why he hung up the gloves, or indeed when.“I always go down that way, I never go down the Cleppy Road. “You still see the reporters you know going in and out the grounds.You always get a wave.”Recent weeks have seen the memories flood back more readily than ever.There was one horrible one when we got beat 6-4 and I had a stinker.”The title win was achieved with a core of 12 players, the majority of whom came from Dundee and its environs. Ian, his father, played for Dundee but then had his career disrupted by the Second World War.Mc Alpine grew up watching the clubs on both sides of the city’s great football divide, though back then it was not such a great divide.Had this observatory, the building of which began back in the 18th century, ever been completed it might once have been ­possible to observe the trajectory of balls spinning out of Tannadice and arcing across the Dundee skyline towards ­Invergowrie Bay, as the song has it.“Ach dinnae be stupid,” Mc Alpine ­gently admonishes his guest. ‘Can you come to Switzerland, where Celtic are on tour?

But don't panic you can still read up to 10 articles a month for free, we're just asking those of you who particularly enjoy our content to pay the small sum of £2.99 for 4 weeks access, just 11 pence a day.It is in the attic with the rest of the crap.”Would he have liked to have signed and be given the No 1 shirt at the start of the season, as Celtic sought to defend the title they won in 1988, in the club’s centenary season? So after 20 years as a professional footballer, you can’t remember which team you played your last game against?“No,” Mc Alpine replies, and it’s possible to ­believe him.“I missed one against Celtic, one against Rangers, I missed two against Ayr United in the same game, scored off the rebound with one of them, mind.”He used to send Jim Mc Lean into a frenzy, not that this was difficult. I kept saying: ‘if you highlight your mistakes, you start to think about them too much’.In his autobiography, Jousting with Giants, Mc Lean writes that Mc Alpine was the one player who forced him to re-think his entire philosophy on the game. Your mistakes cannot be hammered into you all the time.“I did kind of ruin his footballing ­philosophy,” he smiles.

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