Team of 65 Player Profiles
The profiles here are for the players we interviewed on Monday 2nd of August 2010, the Association only wish we could have interviewed them all but sadly some are no longer with us – hopefully the video interview will help preserve some of the memories of what was a wonderful time for Kilmarnock FC.
A powerful and hard-working inside-forward, Jackie McInally (Jake to his team-mates) was Kilmarnock’s top all-competition scorer in 1964-65, including seven goals in the club’s run to the Scottish Cup quarter final. Jake’s main asset, according to the man himself, was that he “liked to take players on… to run at them”. This was something his opponents of the day were greatly uncomfortable facing, most notably in the build-up to the first goal at Tynecastle…
Jake signed for Kilmarnock in the 1959-60 pre-season and made an immediate impact, rattling in 16 goals from 29 league starts. He maintained an impressive strike rate across the best part of a decade, notching 16 goals again in 1963-64 before playing a vital part in THAT season, chipping in with 11. One of these goals was in his most memorable game in the Championship season, grabbing a well-taken winner against the run of play at Rugby Park when Killie tamed a rampant Dundee United and sneaked a 1-0 victory. This followed his double in the 5-2 thrashing of Celtic just three days earlier.
A building with solid foundations stands firm.
Andy King spent his entire professional career with Kilmarnock after signing from Saxone Amateurs in 1960. After waiting for his chance, Andy’s major breakthrough came three years later in 1963-64 and he took it convincingly, missing just two league games in the entire season. This was followed-up in typically reliable fashion on the road to league success with 33 starts.
Andy describes his playing style as “willing to kick doors”, but defensive colleague Jim McFadzean was far more effusive: “He was the best right back in the business. His timing in the tackle was the best I’ve ever seen.” Praise indeed for a consistent defender who provided vital stability with full-back partner Matt Watson.
‘Unlucky’ to have been at Kilmarnock in the era when they were one of the best teams in the UK. According to Assistant Trainer Jock Murdoch the quality of the reserves was almost as good as that of the first team: a testament to the quality of those backing up the first team pool.
The high point of his career at Killie was starring in the remarkable 9-2 victory against Falkirk, setting up Brian McIlroy for the first minute opener. Although defender Stuart described himself – modestly – as “a boy amongst men”, he would surely have found a key role in many other top-flight teams in the 1960s.
Stuart went on to work closely with the club in the years that followed, in particular as coach of the reserves. A supporter and still to this day a season ticket holder.
Jock Murdoch: “If he had been full-time he would have been a very special player”.
It seems strange to think that a player of such quality, integral (26 appearances) in the Championship winning team and goal scorer against Eintracht Frankfurt, had to be up early for school the next day…
Jim McFadzean was a PE teacher by trade and combined this with his role as a defender in the team of 1965. A player who, in his own assessment, could play anywhere. Davie Sneddon chose one word to describe him: versatile. This ability was put to great use in his time with Kilmarnock, even if he was technically a part-time player.
A fair and analytical assessor of his teammates and the game in general, Jim was with Kilmarnock for six full seasons until 1969 before moving to another club in the greater Kilmarnock area…
There are several players who could lay claim to the title of ‘Mr Kilmarnock’ and one of the strongest cases is that of naturally gifted inside-forward Davie Sneddon. One of many local men in the title-winning team, Kilmarnock bought the opening goal scorer of Championship-winning day from Preston in 1961. His goal at Tynecastle was misleading to say the least. Better known for his skill outside the box, it was unusual to see him in the penalty area at all never mind winning back-post headers!
The crucial role played by Davie in 1965 is only part of his contribution to Kilmarnock. He returned to the club as reserve-team coach in 1972, progressing to manager in 1977. He held this position for four years. After a stint as manager of Stranraer he returned as Killie’s chief scout. To this day Davie works as a match day host. His long service and very significant achievements were recognised in 2008 by East Ayrshire Council with the new housing complex next to Rugby Park being named ‘Davie Sneddon Way’. A fitting tribute for a true legend.
The only ever-present in the team of 1965, Eric Murray began his career as a centre-forward but was persuaded by Willie Waddell to try a new position: wing-half. With much success. Another of the many Ayrshire players in the team, Eric was born in Symington and spent eight full seasons at Rugby Park – the vast majority of his career.
A regular scorer in 1963-64, Eric moved into his new role in the following season. A clear example of ‘taking one for the team’ he had relinquished his more favoured position up front in order to excel as a more defensive player in the greatest era in the club’s history. The fact he played in every game in 1964-65 is a clear indication of his value to the team. Despite this, he merely described himself as “honest and hard-working”. As well as “a prolific goal scorer”, only half-jokingly.
“I was a naturally gifted player but maybe not the best of trainers”.
Ronnie Hamilton made his debut while still at school and was just twenty years old when he shot Kilmarnock to league glory as top scorer with 15. Indeed, a career total of 43 goals in 74 games tells its own story. A fast centre forward, Ronnie made a brief but telling contribution to the history of the club over three and a half seasons as a player. In addition to his crucial league goals he scored two on the famous night against Frankfurt.
Despite his impressive strike rate Ronnie was sold during the 1965-66 season to St Mirren before moving on to Queen of the South.
Ronnie’s distinguished service to Kilmarnock did not end there. He returned in a coaching capacity in 1975. Appointed to the board in 1985 he was later to become Chairman in the 1994-95 season and was in office in 1997 when the Scottish Cup returned to Rugby Park.
Jock was assistant to the late first team trainer Walter McCrae in 1965 and was heavily involved in the squad’s physical preparation, which saw them through many demanding seasons at the peak of both Scottish and European football.
Jock left the Scots Guards in 1948, joining Kilmarnock later in that year as a goalkeeper. After eight appearances in the first team he moved to St Cuthbert Wanderers. It was on his return to Rugby Park to work with reserve team manager Norrie McNeill that Jock arguably made his most significant contribution as part of the coaching staff who led Kilmarnock to many famous triumphs.
Thanks to Gordon Gillen who done all the background work and indeed wrote the above profiles.
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