GREENOCK JUNIORS boss Thomas Molloy has paid a heartfelt tribute to ‘legendary’ club chairman Alex Wilson after he passed away last week.

The 69-year-old suffered a stroke three weeks ago and tragically lost his fight for life in hospital on Wednesday following a 35-year association with the Inverclyde outfit.

A stalwart of the Junior game, Wilson steered Nock through a period of serious financial peril in recent years and was credited with pulling the club back from the brink when there were genuine fears it could be forced to fold.

And after a difficult few days, boss Molloy has given homage to the man who signed him for Greenock both as a player and a manager.

“It might be a cliché, but there would be no Greenock Juniors if it wasn’t for Alex,” he said. “When the club was going through a hard time it was always him that was going to meetings and phoning people.

“If he’d given up there would have been nobody else to step in. It was a tough one to take and a real shock to the system.

“The word legend is thrown around a lot in football but Alex was a Greenock Juniors legend. He fought the club’s corner and managed to bring a bit of stability.

“It was him who gave me the manager’s job so I owe him everything. When I was 18 he came round my house with then manager Danny Gault to sign me and he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“I’ll never forget him, that’s for sure. A special mention as well must go to Billy Barbour who was there with Alex from day one and he’s now taken over the mantle.”

Molloy revealed that shortly before Wilson’s passing he managed to expand the club’s once threadbare committee with an additional five members, as well as securing a cash donation from actor and former player Martin Compston.

The Greenock men were forced to pick themselves up for a Central First Division clash with East Kilbride Thistle on Saturday and slipped to a 4-3 defeat in understandably difficult circumstances.

But their gaffer maintained that his team now have an extra motivation to ensure a successful campaign on the Tail O' The Bank, and revealed spirits had been lifted by well-wishers from across the Juniors community.

He said: “We just tried to regroup the boys before the weekend and it was made clear that we were going out and playing for Alex.

“The result never went our way but on another day it could have. We just need to try and kick on have a good season now in his memory.

“It’s been unbelievable the amount of messages we’ve had; people asking if there’s anything they can do. That’s helped out his family as well.

“The Juniors world is good when this sort of thing happens, there’s always clubs getting in touch offering support.”

Among those sending their condolences was St Roch’s manager Andy Cameron, with his side due to make the trip down the M8 to Ravenscraig Stadium on Saturday.

He said: “We’d like to offer our support to the club and, of course, to Alex’s family. Everybody in the game knew him as ‘Mr Greenock’ for years.”

The sides’ upcoming meeting is a clash of two teams who have made a solid start to a league season that has been dominated by the rampant form of table-toppers Benburb.

St Roch’s sit just two points above Greenock with a game in hand, and Cameron is expecting another tough test after Jordan Logan’s 80th minute strike earned a 2-1 victory over Shotts Bon Accord at James McGrory Park last time out.

He said: “They’ve [Greenock] won four out of their last five, so they’re obviously a decent side.

“We’re under no illusions that we’ll need to go down there and work hard to even get a point, so we’ll see how it goes.

“Greenock are the only team to have beaten Benburb so far, which underlines how difficult our task is going to be.”