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Tuesday, 15 May, 2001, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Bobby Murdoch: An obituary
Murdoch was a big influence on Graeme Souness
Murdoch was a big influence on Graeme Souness
Born of humble beginnings in Cambuslang, Bobby Murdoch was a regal influence in a side that conquered Europe and began a dynasty that ruled Scotland for nine years.

A big, strong player with a lethal shot, Murdoch won respect both sides of the Border for his skills on the park and his demeanour off it with Celtic and Middlesbrough.

He was voted Scottish Football Writers' Player of the Year in 1969, led Middlesbrough to promotion to England's top division and won 12 caps for Scotland.

But his greatest achievement was helping Celtic become the first British club to lift the European Cup, by beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.

It was from Murdoch's shot that Stevie Chalmers deflected for the winner that spawned the Lisbon Lions legend.

Midfield brain

Beginning his Celtic days provisionally in August 1959 as a 3-a-week part-timer while working as a sheet metal worker, Murdoch gained experience at junior side Cambuslang Rangers before joining the Parkhead club permanently in 1961.

Soon after he took over as manager, Jock Stein made the inspired decision to move Murdoch from inside-right to right-half, where he became the midfield brain of the celebrated Celtic side of the 60s.

Bobby Murdoch: his shot led to famous winner
Bobby Murdoch: his shot led to famous winner
Stein later admitted: "As far as I am concerned, Murdoch was just about the best player I had as manager.

"I only let him move because he had run out of challenges with Celtic."

Murdoch made nearly 500 appearances for Celtic and scored around 100 goals before transferring to Middlesborough.

Future national captain Graeme Souness played there alongside with his fellow Scot and once remarked: "He came along at just the right time, not only for me but for the whole team.

Great passer

"His experience settled us down as we went for promotion and he also proved to be a big influence on my career.

"Bobby was a great passer of the ball and he had an excellent attitude.

Bobby Murdoch: loved both sides of Border
Bobby Murdoch: loved both sides of Border
"He would always pull me to one side to pass on advice or to tell me when he thought I was acting wrongly."

While Murdoch did not achieve as many caps as his skills possibly deserved, he had plenty to celebrate during his career, which corresponded with the start of Celtic's nine-in-a-row championship run.

His honours with Celtic included that European Cup winners' medal, eight championship badges, four Scottish Cup winners' medals and five League Cup winners' medals.

Murdoch then spent nine years at Ayresome Park as player, coach and manager between 1973 and 1982.

He played his part on the pitch in Jack Charlton's record-breaking promotion side in 1973-74 and later helping to bring some of the club's emerging talent through to the first team.

Unsuccessful spell

Murdoch made 125 appearances for Boro before his retiral in 1976 and taking up the role of juniors' coach.

A brief, if ultimately unsuccessful, spell as manager between 1981 and 1982, ended with his departure shortly after the club were relegated to Division Two.

Murdoch then had an unsuccessful spell as a publican that ended in debt but in recent years had been helping at Celtic Park with match-day hospitality.

He was also plagued by various illnesses and injury after his playing days ended but will be remembered as a player of distinction and those who knew him well were unanimous in their description of him as a fine man.

Bobby Murdoch died, aged 56, in Glasgow on 15 May 2001.

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See also:

15 May 01 |  Celtic
Lisbon Lion Murdoch dies
15 May 01 |  Celtic
First break in legendary side
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The Battles of Britain
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13 May 01 |  Scot Prem
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11 May 01 |  Celtic
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