Bobby Murdoch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Liverpool F.C. footballer, see Bobby Murdoch (footballer, born 1936).
Bobby Murdoch
Personal information
Full name Robert White Murdoch
Date of birth 17 August 1944
Place of birth Rutherglen, Scotland
Date of death 15 May 2001(2001-05-15) (aged 56)
Place of death Glasgow, Scotland
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1973 Celtic 448 (105)
1959–1961 Cambuslang Rangers (loan)
1973–1976 Middlesbrough 95 (6)
Total 386 (68)
National team
1965–1969 Scotland 12 (6)
1965–1969 Scottish League XI 5 (0)
Teams managed
1981–1982 Middlesbrough

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (Goals).

Bobby Murdoch (17 August 1944 – 15 May 2001) was a Scottish professional footballer who played for Celtic and was one of the Lisbon Lions, the Celtic team who won the European Cup in 1967.



Brought up in Rutherglen, he lived there for most of his life and attended St. Columbkillle's Primary school in Rutherglen, before moving to Our Lady's High Secondary in Motherwell. Murdoch first joined Celtic in 1959, earning £3 per week as a part-time player while also being employed as a sheet-metal worker.[1] He played for junior club Cambuslang Rangers for two years to gain experience before joining Celtic as a full-time professional.[1]

Murdoch initially played for Celtic as an inside right, but only showed signs of being a reasonable performer in that position.[2] This was in a period where players were not well developed by Celtic due to a lack of quality coaching.[2] Jock Stein moved Murdoch to right half soon after he was appointed Celtic manager in 1965.[1] With that simple action, Murdoch was the first player to significantly benefit from Stein's arrival.[2] Playing in the deeper position allowed Murdoch to use his long passing ability more effectively.[2] He still continued to score at least 10 goals a season, knocking in shots from cutbacks by Bertie Auld or Jimmy Johnstone.[2]

During his time at Celtic, he won eight Scottish League titles, four Scottish Cups and five League Cups, as well as the 1967 European Cup Final winners' medal.[2] Murdoch's shot was deflected by Stevie Chalmers to score Celtic's winning goal.[1][2] Murdoch also played in the 1970 European Cup Final, when Celtic lost 2–1 to Feyenoord. In total, he made nearly 500 appearances for Celtic and scored approximately 100 goals.[1]

His later years with Celtic were marked with injury problems, as Murdoch had difficulty maintaining his weight at a correct level.[2] His importance to the success of a great Celtic team was such that when Jock Stein was asked when he thought Celtic might win the European Cup again he replied "when Bobby Murdoch is fit".[citation needed] Stein also credited Murdoch with being "just about the best player I had as a manager".[1] Murdoch was voted Scottish player of the year in 1969 by the football writers.[1] Stein allowed Murdoch to leave the club because he had "run out of challenges" at Celtic.[1]


Murdoch left Celtic in 1973 and joined Middlesbrough as Jack Charlton's first signing. He provided advice to the young Graeme Souness and the club was promoted to Division One in his first season there.[1] He made 125 appearances for Middlesbrough before his playing retirement in 1976.[1] Murdoch then took up the role of coaching Middlesbrough youth players.[1] He had a brief, unsuccessful, spell as manager of Middlesbrough between 1981 and 1982.[1] Murdoch left the club shortly after it was relegated to Division Two.[1] His job at Middlesbrough had been made difficult by the fact that the club had sold star players such as Craig Johnston, David Armstrong and Mark Proctor, leaving a badly weakened squad.[according to whom?] Of those signings made, only Dutch midfielder Heini Otto proved successful.[according to whom?]


Murdoch won a total of 12 caps for Scotland,[1] scoring six goals. This was a comparatively low total of caps, but he had to compete for selection with Billy Bremner and Jim Baxter.[2]

Later life[edit]

Murdoch had an unsuccessful spell as a publican that ended in debt.[1] In 1995, Murdoch won a legal case in a Medical Appeal Tribunal that an ankle injury he had sustained playing for Celtic was an industrial injury, entitling him to compensation from the state.[3] In his last years he had a role helping at Celtic Park with match-day hospitality.[1] He died, aged 56, following a stroke, in the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. He was survived by Kathleen, his wife since 1964. Murdoch was the first of the Lisbon Lions, the most celebrated team in Scottish football history, to die.[2]


External links[edit]