Carlisle United have paid tribute to their former defender Mike McCartney, who has died aged 63.

The left-back, who made 316 appearances for the Blues in two spells between 1973 and 1987, passed away after an illness.

McCartney was 10th in the club's all-time appearance list and also scored 25 goals for the club.

Blues chairman Andrew Jenkins today said Edinburgh-born McCartney had been a "very loyal servant" to the Brunton Park club.

Jenkins said on the club's website: “Mike was a local lad in every sense of the word, even though his roots were in Scotland.

"He loved Carlisle United and he loved the city, and it was no surprise to any of us when he chose to settle here.

“The news came as a real shock to all of us because many of us had seen him recently, and we had a good chat about all things Carlisle United as we looked back on some very fond memories.

“I remember Mike as a quiet lad and a real professional. There is nothing but nice things to say about him because he was liked by everyone who knew him. He was a really good player and he made his place in defence his own once he got into the team.

“A very loyal servant, he will be missed. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this sad time.”

McCartney, a Scottish schoolboy international, joined United from West Brom.

He made his debut in 1973 and also made two appearances in the club's only campaign in the First Division in 1974/5.

He later established himself in the United side and was also the club's regular penalty taker.

After leaving the Blues in 1980 for Southampton, where he played alongside Kevin Keegan, he moved to Plymouth a year later before returning to Carlisle in 1983.

After a further four-year spell, McCartney retired from the professional game before joining Gretna, who were then playing in the English non-league set-up.

He duly became player-manager and led the Raydale Park club on two memorable runs to the FA Cup first round, when they were narrowly beaten by Rochdale and Bolton in 1991 and 1993 respectively, remaining in charge until 2000.

He remained involved with the local football scene and played in a United legends game as recently as August 2016, aged 61.

*See tomorrow's News & Star for more tributes to McCartney.