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Legend Bobby will abide forever in Hearts of fans

Published on Thursday 4 February 2010 08:39

Hearts legend Bobby Kirk, who helped the club to several league title wins, has died aged 82.

Bobby, a life-long Hearts fan, was born in Arniston, Midlothian, in 1927. His talent was evident from an early age, when he played for Gorebridge Public Schools team. After playing for youth teams, he was signed as a teenager by his local team, Arniston Rangers, as a full-back.

He became the first player from this club to play for the Scotland junior team, and soon caught the eye of scouts from other clubs. He joined Dunfermline Athletic at 20, and quickly became a regular in the first team.

He scored 12 goals in 180 appearances, and played in the League Cup final at Hampden in 1949, where they lost to East Fife.

It was soon recognised that Bobby was too good for second level football, and in July 1953 Raith Rovers paid 750 for his transfer. Just two years later he was signed for Hearts for a fee of 2,500.

He made his debut as a left-back on 13 August, 1955, and soon became a stalwart of the first team.

Standing 5ft 8in tall, Bobby was known for his powerful shot and his cool head. He could be relied upon from the penalty spot, where he scored 12 times for Hearts.

His playing career included the eight greatest seasons in Hearts' history.

He was one of the heroes who defeated Celtic 3-1 in the Scottish Cup Final in April 1956. He was also in the teams that won the League Cup in 1958 and 1959.

He played in several memorable matches, including the first floodlit match at Tynecastle in 1957 and the 3-2 victory over Scotland's World Cup team the following year. He also played in Hearts' first eight European games, and in the Scotland "B" team against England.

Despite making his name as a full-back, Bobby was never booked in a first-team game for the club. He was a quiet man who worked hard to maintain his fitness levels and did not smoke or drink.

Bobby qualified as a physiotherapist in 1961, preparing himself for life after Hearts. He ran a business in the Churchill area, and also became player-manager for Borders club Gala Fairydean.

He returned to Tynecastle to look after the third team from 1967-71, and became a much- respected coach and physiotherapist in junior and east senior football.

Bobby passed away in a nursing home in his native Midlothian on Monday. He leaves wife Tina and two sons.

His death was marked by a minute's silence before Tuesday night's match between Hearts and St Mirren at Fir Park. Players also wore black armbands in his memory.

His funeral will take place at Mortonhall Crematorium on Monday at noon.

Taken from the Scotsman

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