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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 01:09 GMT
O'Connor not first Scot in Moscow
By Colin Moffat

Hibernian striker Garry O'Connor has agreed a 1.6m transfer to Lokomotiv Moscow, but he will not be the first Scot to play football in Russia.

Sir Robert Hamilton Bruce Lockhart, born in Anstruther, won the Moscow league championship in 1912, playing with Morozov - a textile factory team.

And the National Library of Scotland has in its Lockhart collection the gold medal he picked up for the triumph.

Lockhart was British vice-consul in Moscow at the time.

But he played alongside British factory managers and local workers for Morozov.

Hibernian striker Garry O'Connor
Garry O'Connor is poised to move from Hibs to Lokomotiv Moscow

Graham Hogg, senior curator of the national library's rare books collection, told BBC Sport: "It was all a bit of a mix-up really.

"His brother, John, was a well-known rugby player at Cambridge at the time.

"When Robert arrived in Moscow, people had heard of a great footballer called Lockhart at Cambridge but did not know the difference between Association Football and rugby football.

"So word got round that he was a great footballer, which he wasn't really.

"He was invited to turn out for a team 30 miles east of Moscow - the owner of the cotton mill was from Lancashire - and he played for most of the 1912 season and won the Moscow league championship that year.

"They actually won the title every year from 1910 to 1914, so he chose the right team to play for."

Lockhart, who worked as a journalist and author, published several books, including his diaries and Memoirs of a British Agent, which was a best-seller in 1932.

After a brief stint as a rubber planter in Malaya, he joined the British Foreign Office and was posted to Moscow.

Lockhart was dramatically implicated in a plot to assassinate Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin and condemned to death in 1918.

However, his life was spared in an exchange of "secret agents" for the Russian Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov.

He was playing in front of crowds of 10-15,000
Library curator Graham Hogg

During World War II, Lockhart became director-general of the Political Warfare Executive, co-ordinating all British propaganda against the enemy.

He resumed his writing career, as well as lecturing and broadcasting, after the war and had a weekly BBC broadcast to Czechoslovakia for over 10 years.

Lockhart died in 1970 at the age of 83, but tales of his adventures in Moscow will again be in the public eye with O'Connor's proposed transfer to Lokomotiv.

The Hibs man's reputed wages of 16,000 per week are in stark contrast to the football world that met Lockhart in Moscow.

"He just played for the love of it and said he was hardly worth his place in the team," added Hogg.

"But he was playing in front of crowds of 10-15,000."

Lokomotiv last season finished third in the present Russian championship and will play in next season's Uefa Cup.

So, while the 22-year-old O'Connor is unlikely to author any best sellers, the Scotland international can look forward to some adventures of his own in a foreign land.

And perhaps the National Library of Scotland will one day boast a collection of Russian medals won by the powerful forward.


SEE ALSO
O'Connor nears move to Lokomotiv
28 Feb 06 |  Hibernian



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