Former Scotland and Hearts midfielder or inside right in old money, Jimmy Murray passed away on July 10th at the age of 82. Jimmy’s claim to fame is that he was the scorer of Scotland’s first ever World Cup Finals goal.
Overall, Jimmy only played five times for the National team, all five of his games took place between April and June 1958 as would Stewart Imlach who played four games over this period and never again played for Scotland too.
His first Scotland cap came against England on April 19th, 1958 in front of a staggering crowd of 127,874. I had mentioned this game the other day in the Jamie Forrest article as Jim Forrest of Motherwell also made his debut that day. England won 4-0 with Bobby Charlton among the goalscorers.
Unlike Jim Forrest, Jimmy Murray’s Scotland career did not finish with that game. Jimmy also played in two World Cup warm up games; against Hungary at home in a 1-1 draw where Imlach made his debut and then a 2-1 victory against Poland in Warsaw with Bobby Collins scoring both goals.
Then onto Vasteras in Sweden for the World Cup opener against Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia went into an early lead before Jimmy scored his record book entry goal in the 51st minute for the game to finish one all.
Both Murray and Imlach missed the next game, a 3-2 defeat to Paraguay but returned for the final group match against France. Hearts team mate Dave Mackay would also feature in the line up that day gaining his second cap, a year after his first. The Scots were narrowly defeated 2-1 by a French team that ended up third in the competition.
For Murray that was it, with no recall to the National side although Murray had already won a League Championship with Hearts and would indeed repeat that feat the following season. It is again an indication of the West of Scotland bias that was prevalent at that time, that saw very few Hearts players of this period gain more than a handful of caps.Of the 1958 squad with the passing of Jimmy, Dave Mackay and also John Hewie this year, there are only a few of them still alive. Tommy Docherty who travelled but was not chosen to play; apparently due to a fall out with a SFA official and Doug Cowie are both still alive and were also members of the 1954 squad too. Also surviving from ‘58 are Eric Caldow, Graham Leggat and John Coyle. Also surviving from 1954 travelling squad are Johnny MacKenzie and Jock Aird. Jock also went on to play for New Zealand as well.As to World Cup goalscorers, they’re a rare breed too with only nineteen in total and even one of them is Iranian Andranik Eskandarian who scored for us in 1978.
For the record top of the list is Joe Jordan with 4 in three World Cups (’74, ’78 and ’82), then comes Kenny Dalglish with 2 in ’78 and ’82, also on two are Archie Gemmill (’78) and John Wark (’82). The others in chronological order are; Jimmy Murray, Jackie Mudie, Bobby Collins and Sammy Baird all 1958. Peter Lorimer in 1974 and in 1982 a veritable feast with John Robertson, Stevie Archibald, David Narey and Graeme Souness adding to the list. Gordon Strachan was the solitary scorer in Mexico ’86.1990 brought goals from Stuart McCall and Mo Johnston and in our final Finals appearance a John Collins penalty and a Craig Burley complete the list.
So here’s to Jimmy Murray, the first of a few and may we remember him for years to come.
(The photo is taken from Richard Keir’s excellent book Scotland the Complete International Football Record and is apparently just after Jimmy Murray has scored that legendary goal. I assume Jimmy is the player on the ground)
First posted on Facebook 12th July, 2015
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