Bobby Murdoch

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Bobby Murdoch
Personal information
Full name Robert White Murdoch[1]
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
Youth career
1959–1962 Celtic
1959–1961 Cambuslang Rangers (loan)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1962–1973 Celtic 291 (61)
1973–1976 Middlesbrough 95 (6)
Total 386 (67)
National team
1964 Scotland under-23[2] 1 (0)
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.

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

Career[edit]

Celtic[edit]

Brought up in Rutherglen, he lived there for most of his life and attended local St. Columbkillle's Primary school (a classmate was Tommy McAvoy who went on to become the long-serving MP for the area),[3] 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.[4] He played for junior club Cambuslang Rangers for two years to gain experience before joining Celtic as a full-time professional.[4]

Murdoch initially played for Celtic as an inside right, but only showed signs of being a reasonable performer in that position.[5] This was in a period where players were not well developed by Celtic due to a lack of quality coaching.[5] Jock Stein moved Murdoch to right half soon after he was appointed Celtic manager in 1965.[4] With that simple action, Murdoch was the first player to significantly benefit from Stein's arrival.[5] Playing in the deeper position allowed Murdoch to use his long passing ability more effectively.[5] He still continued to score at least 10 goals a season, knocking in shots from cutbacks by Bertie Auld or Jimmy Johnstone.[5]

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.[5] Murdoch's shot was deflected by Stevie Chalmers to score Celtic's winning goal.[4][5] Murdoch also played in the 1970 European Cup Final, when Celtic lost 2–1 to Feyenoord. In total, he made over 500 appearances for Celtic and scored approximately 100 goals.[4]

His later years with Celtic were marked with injury problems, as Murdoch had difficulty maintaining his weight at a correct level.[5] 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".[4] Murdoch was voted Scottish player of the year in 1969 by the football writers.[4] Stein allowed Murdoch to leave the club because he had "run out of challenges" at Celtic.[4]

Middlesbrough[edit]

Murdoch left Celtic in 1973 and joined Middlesbrough on a free transfer as Jack Charlton's first signing.[6] He provided advice to the young Graeme Souness and the club was promoted to Division One in his first season there.[4] He made 125 appearances for Middlesbrough before his playing retirement in 1976.[4] Murdoch then took up the role of coaching Middlesbrough youth players.[4] He had a brief, unsuccessful, spell as manager of Middlesbrough between 1981 and 1982.[4] Murdoch left the club shortly after it was relegated to Division Two.[4] 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 [7] Of his signings made, only Dutch midfielder Heini Otto proved successful.[according to whom?]

International[edit]

Murdoch won a total of 12 caps for Scotland. His debut was the 1-0 victory against Italy on 9 October 1965 in a world cup qualifier. His first two international goals came in his second cap, a 4-1 Home International Championship victory against Wales in the same month. He scored six international goals including the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against West Germany in a qualifier for the 1970 World Cup.[8] [6] This was a comparatively low total of caps, but he had to compete for selection with Jim Baxter and then Billy Bremner among others.[5]

Later life[edit]

Murdoch had an unsuccessful spell as a publican that ended in debt.[4] 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.[9] In his last years he had a role helping at Celtic Park with match-day hospitality.[4]

He died, aged 56, following a stroke, in the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary. He was survived by Kathleen, his wife since 1964. Murdoch was the first of the Lisbon Lions to die.[5] In 2016 his contribution was recognised with the unveiling of a plaque listing his achievements at the town hall in his hometown of Rutherglen; the ceremony was attended by family members, local dignitaries and former teammates.[3]

Murdoch's younger brothers Billy and James were also footballers. Billy was a youth player at Celtic whilst Bobby was at the peak of his career, but did not break through to the first team; he later appeared for Stenhousemuir and Kilmarnock; James aka Jimmy was also on Celtic's books as a youth before moving to Cardiff City, and played at Junior level for Cumbernauld United.[10][11]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Club Division Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other1 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Scotland League Scottish Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Celtic[12] Scottish Division One 1962–63 19 4 6 5 6 2 0 0 3 3 34 14
1953–64 26 15 3 1 3 0 7 3 5 2 44 21
1964–65 32 8 6 0 9 5 4 2 3 1 54 16
1965–66 31 5 7 2 11 2 8 2 0 0 57 11
1966–67 31 4 4 2 10 2 9 0 3 0 57 8
1967–68 34 6 1 0 9 2 2 0 4 1 50 9
1968–69 30 4 7 2 8 1 5 1 0 0 50 8
1969–70 26 5 5 0 6 0 7 1 2 0 46 6
1970–71 23 2 1 0 8 0 4 2 2 1 38 5
1971–72 15 4 6 1 6 0 6 0 0 0 33 5
1972–73 24 4 7 0 7 3 2 0 3 0 43 7
1973–74 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 291 61 53 13 84 17 54 11 25 8 507 110
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Middlesbrough[13] Second Division 1973–74 34 5 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 39 5
First Division 1974–75 39 1 4 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 47 2
1975–76 22 0 1 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 29 0
Total 95 6 7 1 13 0 0 0 0 0 115 7
Career total 386 67 60 14 97 17 54 11 25 8 622 117

1Includes Glasgow Cup (several years), the 1967-68 Intercontinental Cup and 1972-73 Drybrough Cup

International[edit]

Scotland national team[14]
Year Apps Goals
1965 3 2
1966 2 1
1967 1 0
1968 1 2
1969 5 1
Total 12 6

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Scotland's goal tally first.[14][15]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 24 November 1965 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Wales 1–0 4–1 1965–66 British Home Championship
2 24 November 1965 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Wales 3–1 4–1 1965–66 British Home Championship
3 16 November 1966 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Northern Ireland 1–1 2–1 1966–67 British Home Championship/Euro 1968 Qualifiers
4 11 December 1968 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Cyprus 2–0 5-0 1970 World Cup Qualifiers
5 11 December 1968 GSP Stadium, Nicosia  Cyprus 4–0 5-0 1970 World Cup Qualifiers
6 16 April 1969 Hampden Park, Glasgow  Germany 1–1 1–1 1970 World Cup Qualifiers

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Celtic
Middlesbrough

International[edit]

Scotland

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bobby Murdoch". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 21 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "Scotland U23 profile". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Celtic legend Bobby Murdoch honoured at Rutherglen Town Hall". Daily Record. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 16 December 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Bobby Murdoch: An obituary". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 May 2001. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Crampsey, Bob (16 May 2001). "Bobby Murdoch Wing-half with the Lisbon Lions who brought a true blend of strength and subtlety to his involvement in the beautiful game. The best book on Bobby Murdoch is "Bobby Murdoch, Different Class" by David Potter, published by Empire Publications 2004.". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Obituary: Bobby Murdoch (The Guardian, 2001)
  7. ^ Middlesbrough FC manager profile - Bobby Murdoch
  8. ^ [http://www.rsssf.com/tabless/scot-intres1970.html "Scotland - International Matches 1966-1970"
  9. ^ Simpson, Cameron (26 August 1995). "Lisbon Lion's compensation victory could open floodgates for former players Ex-footballer wins injury at work claim". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Dykes, Paul John (2013). The Quality Street Gang. Celtic FC Ltd. ASIN B00GB86E0U. 
  11. ^ "1969 Transfers". Scottish football Historical Archive. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "Celtic player Bobby Murdoch". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "Bobby Murdoch, Middlesbrough matches". 11v11.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "Scotland player Robert W. Murdoch". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "Scotland - International Matches 1966-1970". RSSSF. Retrieved 18 December 2016. 

External links[edit]