Former Hib star Bobby Kinloch dies at the age of 79

Ex-Hibs star Bobby Kinloch, who has died, aged 79. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
Ex-Hibs star Bobby Kinloch, who has died, aged 79. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
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Bobby Kinloch, scorer of one of the most famous goals in Hibs history, has died in an Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital at the age of 79.

Kinloch scored 22 goals in 34 games for the Easter Road side – 17 of them in his first season – but it was his penalty kick winner which put Spanish giants Barcelona out of the Fairs Cup (the forerunner to the Europa League) in 1961 which remains firmly embedded in the club’s folklore.

Having had their 4-4 draw in the first leg of the quarter-final in Spain tagged a “huge fluke” despite having led 2-0 and 4-2, Hibs found themselves 2-1 down at home only for Tommy Preston to equalise before West German referee Johannes Malka pointed to the spot after Johnny Macleod was brought down in full flight.

Team-mate John Fraser today recalled: “Barcelona were, as they are now, one of the best teams in Europe. They had half the Hungarian side which had beaten England in their team. When the penalty was given there was a stramash for about ten minutes as they surrounded the ref who ended up on the ground.”

Sammy Baird usually took the penalties but claimed to be too unwell to do so on this occasion. Fraser said: “We were all looking at each other but Bobby was the only one with the guts to take it and he’s had many a pint bought for him on the back of it over the years.”

Further mayhem ensued at the final whistle as Malka, having positioned himself as close to the tunnel as possible, raced for the sanctuary of the referee’s room. Fraser said: “Half the Barcelona team chased him up the tunnel. The door to his room had boot marks all the way down from them trying to kick it in. The door was left like that for a few years as a memento.”

Born in Glasgow in 1934, Kinloch’s family moved to Forres in Moray where he joined the RAF and played for them and Forres Mechanics before signing for Hibs in 1959. He was sold to Morton three years later before moving on to Berwick Rangers and then emigrating to Canada where he played for Toronto City and Hamilton Steelers.

Kinloch also joined the police as his former team-mates discovered during a tour of Canada. Fraser said: “We were sitting in a hotel in Toronto when in walked Bobby, John Young and Bobby Nicol who had also played for us. They’d all gone to Canada to play but had also joined the police and in they came in full uniform with their guns. They’d heard we were in town and just popped in to catch up with old times.”

However, after being involved in a ‘shoot-out’ Kinloch’s wife handed him a newspaper and told him to find a new job. He entered the world of computing, ending up head of the IT department for a major bank in Scotland having returned home in 1967 to also play for Raith Rovers and Dunfermline where he won the Scottish Cup.

He also scored six goals playing for Malaya only to end up losing 7-6 while one of Kinloch’s favourite anecdotes was that he had survived three different plane crashes, Fraser said: “Bobby was a great character, a great guy to have in the dressing-room. He always had a story to tell and if he didn’t, he’d make one up.”

Kinloch played an active part in the Hibs Former Players Association, ensuring tickets were available for their box in the Famous Five Stand for those wishing to attend matches, a role Fraser took over when his team-mate became too ill to continue. Fraser said: “I went to see Bobby three or four weeks ago and throughout his illness he had a wonderful attitude, he accepted it and while he knew what was going on he didn’t let himself get down.”

Kinloch also took a huge pride in seeing his grandsons Sam and Max Todd represent Hibs at Under-20 level with Max featuring for the first team during their pre-season friendlies.