Gilzean began his career with local sides Coupar Angus Juveniles and Dundee Violet before joining Dundee in January 1956 as a 17-year-old amateur. He finally signed professional forms at the beginning of the 1957-58 campaign and scored more than 100 goals in the Scottish top flight as an important part of the successful Dens Park side, winning the Scottish league championship in 1961-62, reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup the following season and the final of the Scottish Cup in 1964, losing 3-1 to Rangers.
In April 2009, Gilzean was inducted into Dundee's Hall of Fame
Gilzean's performance in a match between an England XI and a Scotland XI in November 1964, which had been originally intended as a testimonial for John White, who had died in tragic circumstances in July that year, alerted the Spurs management who were still searching for a suitable replacement for 'Double' winner Bobby Smith. Gilzean joined the North London club in December 1964 for a fee of Â£72,500 despite Gilzean being offered better personal terms by Sunderland and the Italian club Torino were also interested in signing him. However, Gilzean was warned off playing in Italy by Denis Law after the difficulties Law had experienced playing there.
Gilzean made his debut in a home fixture against Everton.
Gilzean enjoyed a glittering career as a Tottenham player, quickly changing his style of play from a prolific striker to an intelligent and creative forward, forming a famed partnership alongside crowd favourite Jimmy Greaves. A member of the 1967 FA Cup winning team, Gilzean continued to be a regular first-team player despite the arrival of Martin Chivers in early 1968 from Southampton.
After strike-partner Greaves moved to West Ham United in March 1970, Gilzean and Chivers formed a new and equally successful goalscoring partnership, contributing greatly to Tottenham's cup triumphs in the first half of the decade, winning the League Cup in 1971, an all-English UEFA Cup final in 1972 against Wolverhampton Wanderers and a second League Cup victory in 1973.
The 1973-74 season was Gilzean's last as a professional footballer as Spurs lost the UEFA Cup final to Dutch giants Feyenoord Rotterdam. Announcing his retirement during the club tour to Mauritius he was awarded a testimonial in November 1974 to recognise his ten years of service as a Tottenham player.
Following his retirement Gilzean played in South Africa for three months.
Gilzean made his debut for Scotland in November 1963, against Norway. He had previously represented his country at Under-23 level and the Scottish League XI. He received four more international caps in the following twelve months and scored twice at White Hart Lane for a Scotland Select XI against Spurs in a memorial match for fellow Scot John White, who died in tragic circumstances in July 1964.
Gilzean represented Scotland seventeen times during his Spurs career. He scored 12 goals in 22 full international appearances for Scotland between 1963 and 1971. On 15 November 2009 he was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Gilzean returned to England after a spell in South Africa, as manager of Stevenage Athletic.
Life after football
Gilzean stated, whilst playing, that he disliked football and had no intention of furthering his career after playing. He has since worked for a transport company in Enfield, only a short distance from White Hart Lane.
His son Ian was also a professional player.
Tottenham Hotspur statistics
First Division: 343 matches, 93 goals
FA Cup: 40 matches, 21 goals
League Cup: 28 matches, 6 goals
Europe: 28 matches, 13 goals
TOTAL: 439 matches, 133 goals
1961-62 - Scottish League championship
1967 - FA Cup (2-1 Chelsea)
1971 - League Cup (2-0 Aston Villa)
1972 - UEFA Cup (2-1, 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers)
1973 - League Cup (1-0 Norwich City)
2009 - Inducted to Scottish Football Hall of Fame