ALEX McCRAE 1948-53
ALEX McCrae was, in a sense, unfortunate to play for the Boro at the time he did.
Beginning his career at Hearts in 1941, he moved to Charlton but was unable to settle in London and was snapped up by Middlesbrough for £10, 000.
But the versatile frontman was fated to labour in the shadow of Boro legend Wilf Mannion.
McCrae could play in any forward position, but favoured inside-left. Beginning his career with the club in 48-49 in Mannion's absence, his form was poor and was soon dropped. Recalled alongside Mannion, he revealed pace, accurate passing and sublime ball skills.
Scorer of 16 goals in the 49-50 season, including the winner in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day, he became a firm favourite at Ayresome Park.
He topped the scoring charts in 1951 and at times could be sensational. He scored three hat-tricks before Christmas. Injury robbed him of the chance to help a fine Boro side to higher than sixth in the First Division.
Leaving the club for Falkirk in 1953, he had a spell in Ireland before becoming Boro's scout in Scotland in 1966. In that new capacity he recommended Jim Platt to the club, so Boro fans have another reason to be grateful for this talented Scot.