Farewell to true Hearts legend Jimmy Murray

Jimmy Murray helped Hearts win two league titles.
Jimmy Murray helped Hearts win two league titles.
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A Hearts legend who scored Scotland’s first ever goal in the World Cup has died aged 82.

Jimmy Murray was raised in Orwell Terrace near Tynecastle. His father James, an electrician, was a big Hearts fan who soon had his son following in his footsteps.

While playing for Tynecastle School, Jimmy gained representative honours before going on to play for secondary juvenile team Merchiston Thistle, which earned him a Scotland cap at that level.

On September 27, 1950 Hearts manager David Maclean signed Jimmy, the fulfilment of an ambition for the player.

Despite a promising start he was unable to hold down a first-team place. National service in the RAF in England intervened, during which he played some games on loan to Reading.

Playing part-time while working as a post office engineer, more first-team appearances ensued without his really establishing himself till 1957/8.

Jimmy fully came to prominence as a free-scoring member of the wonderful Hearts team of 1957-58 which cut a swathe through Scottish football on its way to clinching the old First Division title for the first time since 1897.

Building on the club’s Scottish Cup success of 1956, the team scored an astonishing 132 goals in 34 games, lost only one match and finished 13 points clear of Rangers. Jimmy played in 33 of the games, netting 27 goals, outscored only by Jimmy Wardhaugh.

His splendid form saw him chosen to play for Scotland in a 4-0 loss against England at Hampden.

Despite the drubbing, Jimmy did well enough to be selected for the finals in Sweden and on June 8 he etched his name forever in Scottish football history, heading home Scotland’s first goal at a World Cup finals to draw against Yugoslavia.

Through injury he missed the game against Paraguay but returned for the game against France, which was lost, but he had the satisfaction of laying on Scotland’s goal for Sammy Baird. That was his last game for his country with his international career over almost as soon as it had started.

The following season, Hearts, “inspired by Dave Mackay and Jimmy Murray”, according to one report, were unlucky not to retain their league title, losing out to Rangers by two points. But they did win the League Cup, beating Partick Thistle in the final in a game sometimes referred to as “Jimmy Murray’s game”. Not only did he score two goals but laid on the other three in Hearts’ convincing 5-1 victory.

In season 1959/60, which was to be his penultimate with the club, he won his second league title with the Tynecastle outfit topping the table four points clear of Kilmarnock. At the end of the next season he was released.

After Hearts, he played on till 1965 with Falkirk, Clyde and Raith Rovers. He then became sales director of an electrical company. His wife June predeceased him and he is survived by son Stephen and his family.

JACK DAVIDSON