TRIBUTES have been paid to a dedicated Largs Thistle volunteer and much-loved great grandfather after he passed away at the age of 86.

Jim McGinty served on the club committee at Barrfields Park for decades, including during the club's famous Scottish Cup win in 1994.

Spanish giants Barcelona once famously re-buffed Jim's tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Thistle try to sign Lionel Messi from the La Liga outfit when the late Colin Weir won £161m on the Euromillions in 2011.

Jim was well known in the town and the parish of St Mary's Star of the Sea Church.

He was baptised, confirmed and married in St Mary’s and regularly attended mass there until his health began to fail.

Jim was the third son of William and Catherine McGinty and brother to Patrick, William, Eileen and Kathleen.

As a boy he attended St. Mary’s Primary and went on to senior secondary at St Michael’s Academy in Irvine.

Jim left school at 16 to start an engineering apprenticeship at Scott’s in Greenock. He worked in the engine hall and in his spare time worked in the ice cream factory at Nardini's and as a stagehand at Barrfields Theatre.

It was at Barrfields where he met his future wife Cynthia Johnson, who was a dancer performing at the theatre and they married on October 15 1955.

Soon after they started a family and Jim joined the Merchant Navy and he went on a tour of duty that lasted about eight years – with frequent stops back home.

During that time the family grew until the couple had five children, Bernadette, Gillian, Colette, Colin and Alan.

Jim took a new job at Hunterston Power Station, before heading off to the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, where he worked for 10 years before retiring in 1995.

Jim, who lived in Alexander Avenue, was a cricketer and golfer but mostly an avid supporter and committee man at Thistle.

He was a regular at matches home and away and could recall tales going back to the great sides of the 1950s including top scorer David Cook, who scored 86 goals in one season.

Thistle President David Blackwood paid tribute to Jim's dedication to the club.

He said: "He was past president and vice president at the Largs Thistle, as well as serving on the gate, warmly greeting everyone who arrived at Barrfields.

"Jim will be greatly missed."

Jim was a family man, with 11 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Son Colin, 59, said: "Dad was a very dedicated family man, and a kind and caring father. He loved nothing more than heading down to the football on a Saturday afternoon."

As a young man working at Scott's in Greenock, Jim suffered from asbestosis and had to have a lung removed. He had successfully beaten cancer ten years ago, but had recently fallen into ill health and died after a bout of pneumonia.

Jim's family were present at the recent Thistle v Perthshire home match and said they were moved by the minute's silence before the match.

Colin added: "We would like to say a sincere thank you to everyone for their support and prayers and also to the medical staff at Inverclyde Hospital, the Carewatch team, William Tyre funeral directors and Msgr. Fr. Peter Magee for their care and support."