Time Tunnel - Bobby Livingstone
Time Tunnel gets a bit of feedback from Bobby Livingstone.
Over the years much has been said about Bobby Livingstone and more than one fan I’ve spoken to from the same era refer to him as ‘The king.’ Fellow players I’ve spoken to say he was the consummate professional and there can be no better accolade than such praise from your fellow professionals. Bob, as he calls himself now, we always called him Bobby, played 319 times, scoring 126 goals and creating many more for The Mo after his signing from Aberdeen Sunnybank in 1967 by then Manager Norman Christie.
In year 2000 Montrose football historian David Smith wrote ‘Regarded by many as the finest player ever to wear a Montrose jersey, Bobby was The King of the Dynamo.’ Who could argue with that? For those of us old enough to remember his playing days he was truly immense and when he wanted to he could glide past the opposition with ease and pick out his final ball well. My recollection is that he was by no means fast but he had the ability to put his foot on the ball, look up and send it where he wanted it to go. He was the outlet for big Dennis D’Arcy and his defence – hoof it out to Bobby on the left and he’ll hold it until the rest of us re-group. That Montrose was the only senior club Bobby ever played for is beyond belief but having said that, in his playing days Montrose were a force to be reckoned with. They finished third top of the second tier of Scottish football, they reached a Hampden semi-final and took Hearts to three titanic games in the Scottish Cup. These days a player of Bobby’s calibre would undoubtedly play at a higher level and leave behind a tidy sum in the Montrose bank balance.
Bobby came back to Links Park as Manager in 1979 when he took over from Kenny Cameron who himself was another of the 1970’s greats in a Mo shirt.
You will no doubt have heard of even more great stories about Bobby Livingstone but my purpose in catching up with him was to tap into his memory of that famous League Cup semi-final game at Hampden against Rangers. It was on Wednesday 8th October 1975 kick off 7.30pm. The programme cost 10p, Rangers were hot favourites and we were there to make the numbers up – or so everyone else thought. Manager Alex Stuart and his troops had other ideas having already dumped Raith,
St Mirren, East Fife and Hibernian out in earlier rounds with Bobby having scored 5 times in that run.
Montrose started at a high pace and outplayed Rangers in the first half going in at half time 1-0 up virtue of Les Barr’s spot kick. As I recall Bobby Livingstone then hit the post which is when a ‘Gers fan behind me bellowed ‘ For f---- sake Rangers we’ll never win if that wee team get another one.’
So what can Bob Livingstone recall of that game? In a recent e-mail he says @My brain cells are dying at a helluva rate but I remember the first half well and them not being able to get the ball of us. We were having a great 45 minutes and leading them 1-0 at half time and then getting a great opportunity to cut one back to Kenny Cameron with McCloy (the Rangers keeper) out of the picture but Millar managed to get in a challenge and put the ball out for a Montrose corner. The thing about the second half was that they equalised more or less from our corner kick at the other end. We had a great chance again to make it 2-0 as it fell I think to Stuart Markland (Mo defender)up for the corner and that great muckle lanky ******!! Anyway, McCloy saved it with some part of his anatomy and they broke away up the right and that wee ***** McLean crossed it perfectly for Parlane to net the equaliser. Instead of 2-0 to us it was 1-1 all within a few seconds. The rest as they say, is history. Bob goes on to say @ I was friendly with Colin Jackson the Rangers centre half and he said that Jock Wallace, the Rangers manager, gave them one of the biggest roastings ever at half time, saying that some of the Montrose players had just finished work that afternoon and then had a long trip on a bus to Hampden. They (we) were competing with them all over the park – and to think if that second goal had gone in we would have played Celtic in the final and qualified for Europe as the Buoys had already qualified for the European Cup.’
Not long after in Bobby’s playing days, in March 1976 in fact the Mo almost made it into Europe again as they were within seconds of beating Hearts in the Scottish Cup. Had they won they would have played Dumbarton in the semi-final and had already won the league game 6-0 at Dumbarton just a few weeks earlier. As it happened Hearts played Rangers in the final and qualified for Europe as Rangers had already qualified for the European Cup.
As I said earlier, who could argue with those who still refer to Bob Livingstone as ‘The king.’ Today he is Sales and Marketing manager for a Company near Aberdeen but I bet his mind still wanders back to his days playing for the Mo. Thanks for the memories Bob.Sassmo