MORTON legend Andy Ritchie is celebrating 40 years since he was famously crowned the best player in Scotland.

Four decades on from becoming the only part-time professional to win the coveted Scottish Football Writers’ Association award in 1979, Ritchie will mark the anniversary at an event in the Beacon Arts Centre on Friday with Greenock broadcaster Gerry McDade.

The Cappielow great remembers the presentation night well - because he was laying tar just hours before the black tie dinner.

He told the Tele: "I was part-time, so I had to work right through the summer.

"As I normally did at that time, I had a part-time job laying tar on the road - a friend of mins had a company.

"It was to keep myself going through the summer.

"The close season at that time for football was about 12 weeks and with part-time football you're part-time wages and there were no bonuses or anything like that, so your other job became paramount at that time.

"A Sunday shift then qualified for double time so you didn't knock that back with a summer holiday coming up and kids to take away on holiday.

"We were all part-time so everybody had to do it.

"Bobby Houston and Johnny Marr, who were at Partick Thistle at the time, were getting taxis into the awards and making a night of it and I was working on the road when they drew up in the taxi at the traffic lights!

"We had the lights set up for stop and go and there was my good self on the road at that time.

"They couldn't believe it, footballer of the year and still out working on the Sunday.

“Working with tar on the road you don't keep yourself nice and clean, it's not a collar and tie job.

"They gave me a bit of stick and told me to have a right good wash before I turned up that night.

"They two came down and joined me at Cappielow after it, they left Thistle and came to Morton and never let me forget what happened.”

Ritchie was honoured for his extraordinary goalscoring exploits in Greenock, which earned him the name, ‘The King of Cappielow’.

He is sure his feat as the only part-timer to win the football writers’ award is unlikely to be repeated.

Ritchie said: "You can never say never but I doubt it very much.

"I don't see many part-time teams getting to the Premier League now.

“It would take something a bit special to do that now.”

During the Q&A Ritchie will be interviewed by McDade about his famous award win and share other entertaining stories from his career.

It will be his first time back at the waterfront theatre since making his acting debut, inset, two years ago with a cameo in hit show ‘Mon Eh Ton!’.

He said: “I'll no' need to put any make-up on for this one!

"The Beacon's such a nice place and that night I was very impressed with it.

"I'm really looking forward to it.”

‘The King of Cappielow: An Evening with Andy Ritchie’ is on at the Beacon on Friday at 7.30pm.

For tickets, visit or call 723723.