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PersonalFullname: Murdo Davidson MacLeod
aka: Murdo MacLeod, The Rhino, Murdy
Born: 24 September 1958
Signed: 3 November 1978
Left: 1 July 1987
Debut : Motherwell home 1-2, league 4 November 1978
Last game : Hearts away 0-1, league 9 May 1987
First goal : Hibernian away 2-2 league 18 November 1978
Last goal : Hamilton Accies home 8-3 league 3 January 1987
International Caps: 20
International Goals: 1
BiogBarrel chested, blessed with great stamina and a rocket shot with either foot, Murdo MacLeod signed for Celtic from Dumbarton for a hefty £100,000 fee in November 1978. Billy McNeill has confessed to toying with the idea of a double signing from the Sons with striker Graeme Sharp but was wise enough to choose Murdo, although Sharp would have great success in the future at Everton. A midfield player of the highest calibre who had a wonderful knack for scoring spectacular and often important goals, he could be relied upon in both full back positions in emergencies.
Murdo had a decent debut against Motherwell on November 4th 1978 at Parkhead although Celtic slumped to a surprise 2-1 defeat. By the end of the month he had cemented his great relationship with the Celtic fans which would be long lasting, with impressive performances against Rangers and Hibs, the latter game at Easter Road in which he scored his first goal, when he smashed a 25 yarder past Hibs' keeper Jim McArthur.
In the Spring of 1979 Celtic had a fixture pile up and Murdo's strength and energy was put to great use especially in the legendary '4-2' game of 21st May 1979 when Celtic's 10 men defied the odds to emerge victorious in their final League game by four goals to two. After that game Murdo MacLeod's name would be in Celtic folk lore forever.as he scored Celtic's fourth goal in the final minute with a trade mark 25 yard pile driver of a shot from outside the area.
In the 1979/80 Murdo became a regular goalscorer from his midfield role. On August 8th 1979 he smashed a spectacular hat trick at Celtic Park in Celtic's 6-1 thrashing over a China national eleven who were touring the UK at that time. The season was a mixed bag with spectacular European victories against Partizan Tirana and Real Madrid and a Scottish Cup victory over Rangers, but on the down side Celtic blew a considerable lead in the League to allow Aberdeen to emerge victorious. On February 16th 1980 Celtic were heading out of the Scottish Cup when they were 1-0 down to St.Mirren at Parkhead with two minutes left. Murdo headed in an important equaliser from a brilliant Davie Provan cross and he was instrumental in the 3-2 replay win at Love Street in front of a crowd of 27,000 when Celtic again emerged victorious with 10 men against all odds.
Murdo started the 1980/81 season well but suffered a bad knee injury which kept him out from October until March. He returned in devastating fashion with two spectacular strikes past Scotland keeper Alan Rough at Parkhead in a 4-1 win over Partick Thistle at Parkhead on March 18th. When Celtic won 1-0 at Ibrox exactly one month later Murdo filled in at left back and four days later he scored a fine header from another Provan cross when Celtic won the title at Tannadice on an wonderfully emotional night on which Celtic won 3-2. In the 1981 Scottish Cup semi final replay against Dundee United he was fielded at right back due to Danny McGrain's suspension and his energy in midfield was greatly missed and contributed to Celtic's 3-2 defeat.
Murdo kept some of his best performances for the European arena and he scored some wonderful goals against Juventus (1-0 Sept 81), two against Real Sociedad (Nov 82), Aarhuus (Sept 83), Sporting Lisbon (Nov 83), Notts Forest (Dec 83), Rapid Vienna (Oct 84) and Shamrock Rovers (Sept 86).
His finest season was in 1981/82 when he was an ever present, scoring an excellent 14 goals in the process. He had a purple patch in August - September 1981 when he fired in eight goals in nine games. Between September 16th and 19th he scored the winner against Juventus in the European Cup at Parkhead and four days later blasted in a by now trademark free kick in Celtic's fine 2-0 success at Ibrox against Rangers. On March 13th 1982 Celtic were going through a sticky spell but Murdo blasted in a wonderful 25 yard volley to settle a Celtic side who ran out fine 5-2 victors against St. Mirren at Love Street. On May 15th against St.Mirren at Celtic Park in their last League fixture, Murdo helped create the crucial first goal for George McCluskey in the 63rd minute which helped Celtic to a 3-0 win and another League Championship as the Celtic fans cheered wildly.
In 1982/83 Murdo smashed in a superb contribution of 19 goals from midfield although Celtic blew another lead in the League to lose their title to Dundee United. The highlight of the season was the 2-1 win over Rangers at Hampden in the League Cup final. MacLeod fired Celtic's winner, another 25 pile driver which almost burst the net on a day of horrible winter weather conditions.
After Billy McNeill's departure in the Summer of 1983 David Hay came in as manager with a different outlook to his predecessor. Celtic's personnel changed dramatically in this period although Murdo remained as a mainstay in midfield. Celtic won no trophies in 1983/84 although they were unlucky to lose the Scottish Cup final by 2-1 to Aberdeen on May 19th when Roy Aitken was controversially ordered off. This meant Murdo having to play sweeper behind make shift centre half Willie McStay and Murdo was man of the match in many commentator's eyes with an outstanding display in his unusual defensive role.
By the 1984/85 Hay began to use Murdo in a deeper midfield role to accommodate the attacking talents of Paul McStay and, periodically, Brian McClair. During this season he was often required to play out of position at left back again and on the Ne'erday Old Firm game of 1985 Murdo was turned out at sweeper alongside Roy Aitken after an injury crisis developed amongst Celtic's centre backs. Murdo gave another polished performance and Celtic came from behind to win 2-1, even managing to miss a penalty in the process.
On May 18th Celtic beat Dundee United 2-1 to lift the Scottish Cup with Murdo now back the midfield engine room. He was brought down for the free kick which resulted in his great friend Davie Provan swerving in Celtic's equaliser. Provan and MacLeod had by now developed a fantastic technique with free kicks around this time. Both of them would take turns to take them Provan using his talent to bend the ball and Murdo preferring power. In October 1984 they performed the feat twice within 14 days, Provan against Aberdeen when he beat Jim Leighton in a 2-1 win and MacLeod against Dundee United when he scored from outside the box in a 3-1 win at Tannadice on the day Mo Johnston scored his first Celtic goal.
In May 1985 Murdo had the honour of representing Scotland for the first time in the 1-0 win over England at Hampden. It had been a source of frustration to Celtic fans that he had to wait for so long for international recognition but he was now a regular in Scotland squads until 1990.
The 1985/86 season was a troubled season for Celtic in many ways. Murdo had niggling injuries and was missed, most notably when the side surrendered meekly to Rangers at Ibrox in November 1985. Hearts looked certainties to lift the title around April but Celtic rallied from March onwards with the potent midfield trinity of McStay/MacLeod/Burns reunited in their best positions. Celtic won their last 8 games to dramatically steal the title from Hearts' grasp on the last day of the season on May 3rd, on goal difference, when they destroyed St.Mirren by 5-0 at Love Street with Murdo playing a key role.
The 1986/87 season was one of failure for Celtic and was to prove Murdo's last in the hoops. Celtic were going through a period of transition and lost the league to an expensive, experienced Rangers side assembled by Graeme Souness. Murdo did have the satisfaction of winning his last Old Firm fixture, a 3-1 Parkhead win on April 4th 1987 when he turned in a magnificent aggressive performance against the much vaunted Souness in midfield. He was out of contract and Davie Hay was sacked weeks later. Borussia Dortmund, who were the sleeping giant of German football, came calling and Murdo joined them for a fee of £250,000 which gave Celtic a tidy profit especially after the great nine seasons of service Murdo had given. He actually wanted to stay with Celtic but with contract talks not working out and the offer in from the Germans, he took the leap to move on.
The irony was that Celtic were drawn against Dortmund in the UEFA cup in September 1987, the Germans narrowly triumphing 3-2 on aggregate. Murdo was given a richly deserved great welcome by the Celtic fans in the home leg at Parkhead.
Much later in the early 90s in a match v Cologne, the match was being beamed live on German satellite TV. Murdo was the pre-match summariser for German TV. His interview was a peach as his broken German made the interviewer almost crack up and the guy's face was priceless as Murdo just struggled to blurt out the right words.
Assistant ManagerIn 1997 Murdo returned to Celtic as assistant manager to Wim Jansen who had the remit of winning the SPL and preventing Rangers achieving their goal of 10 in a row. It gave Celtic fans great comfort to see Murdo on the bench that season and the League was won against St.Johnstone on a nervous, but never to be forgotten, afternoon at Parkhead on May 9th 1998. It was something special to be involved in.
Murdo celebrated with the fans but Jansen and Celtic General Manager Jock Brown had an acrimonious relationship with Wim resigning shortly after. Murdo MacLeod decided to leave also after, departing some say with honour and dignity whilst others claim that he was going to be overlooked for the vacant position of manager and so jumped before he was pushed. He became a bit of an easy critic after he left which was disappointing. Nevertheless, the part he played in assisting and working with Wim was invaluable to the head coach, and it's possible that we would never have won the title without his input.
Murdo MacLeod was a tremendous asset to Celtic as player and assistant manager and is rightly remembered as a Celtic great.
| Club |
| From |
|To ______________||Fee ______________||League ______________|| Scottish / |
| League cup |
|B. Dortmund||01/07/1987||12/10/1990||Signed||No appearance data available|
|Celtic||03/11/1978||01/07/1987||£ 100,000||281 (0)||55|
| ||goals / game||0.13|
| APPEARANCES |
|LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
|1978-87||274 (7)||36 (2)||44||32||386 (9)|
Murdo on Murdo
"I trained with Rangers as a kid as well and could have signed for them, but I chose Dumbarton. I also had trials at Arsenal, Wolves and Crystal Palace.
"I was asked to sign for Rangers, but I picked Dumbarton as I felt that I had a much better chance of getting into the first team at Boghead than I did at Ibrox.
"As a kid, I didn't support any club, something which did me no harm later in my career as I was always able to give 100% support to the team I was playing for at the time."
"Alec Wright was the Dumbarton manager when I signed professional forms and we had several top-class players at Boghead at that time.
"There was centre forward Ian Wallace. He later went on to become a GBP1million player and was capped three times for Scotland while playing with Coventry City.
"In addition, the brothers Tom and Colin McAdam, who played for Celtic and Rangers respectively later in their careers, and former Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace also played for the club during my time.
"We had a mixture of nine or 10 full-time players, while the rest were part-time by choice.
"I joined the groundstaff as a full-timer and one of my main duties was to sweep the water off the playing surface after heavy rain, something no one had ever managed to do over the previous 100 years - yes it was well named, Boghead.
"I also had to sweep the terraces and clean the players' boots, all of which gave me a wonderful start in the game. The apprenticeship was very special to me. I'm sure it helped to make me a better professional as it made me realise I had to work hard to succeed."
"I received a phone call, when I was with the Scottish League squad preparing for a match against the Irish League at Motherwell's Fir Park, asking me to go along to Parkhead to have a chat with Billy McNeill.
"I was terrified as Celtic Park was just a wee bit bigger than Boghead and, of course, McNeill was a legendary figure in the Scottish game.
"However, I knew several of the Celtic players at the time as I had been playing for the Scottish under-21 side along with the likes of Roy Aitken, George McCluskey and Tommy Burns, all of whom had been breaking into the first team at that time.
"Other players like captain Andy Lynch and Davie Provan, who had just signed before me from Kilmarnock, were also at Celtic Park along with the legendary Danny McGrain and Lisbon Lion Bobby Lennox." MacLEOD made his Hoops debut in November 1978 against Motherwell, who won 2-1.
He said: "I signed on the Thursday, went in on the Friday for my first training session and played against Motherwell 24 hours later.
"My second game for Celtic was an Old Firm derby against Rangers. It was played at Hampden as Ibrox was in the process of being redeveloped. We drew 1-1 and I supplied the pass for Andy Lynch's goal.
"I had many highlights during my nine seasons at Celtic Park, even the first campaign was memorable as we won the championship in the last game to stop Rangers doing the treble.
"Rangers needed only a point to take the title, but we beat them 4-2 and I scored with the last kick of the game. I was really honoured last year when the goal was voted the best ever in an Old Firm derby.
"Although Aberdeen were very strong at the time, playing against the other half of the Old Firm was the highlight of the season for me.
"It was always a massive game and, unlike other matches, there was never a let-up on the noise in the stadium throughout the whole 90 minutes." The tough-tackling midfielder also experienced many memorable European nights at Celtic Park.
He said: "One of the best was the night we beat Real Madrid 2-0 at Parkhead in the European Cup, although we went out at the Bernabeu Stadium when we threw it away and they defeated us 3-0 in the second leg.
"I can honestly say it [playing in Germany] was one of the most enjoyable periods of my whole career in football.
"It was a great environment and a wonderful stadium in which to play my football. The fans also took me to their hearts, which, obviously, made it even easier for me.
"Playing my football in Germany meant it was always a great honour to come back home and play for Scotland, as I gained the majority of my 20 caps during my spell with Dortmund.
"Dortmund hadn't won anything for more than 20 years, but I was fortunate enough to be in the team which beat Werder Bremen 4-1 in the final of the German Cup."
Returning as Coach
He said: "I got the chance to join Celtic as a coach in 1997 and took the first team for pre-season training until the new manager was appointed.
"Within a couple of days of Wim Jansen taking over, he asked me to become his assistant.
"Wim was a magnificent coach with a great knowledge of the game. He could analyse games, and also players, very quickly, while, from day one, we enjoyed a great working relationship which later developed into an even greater friendship.
"We worked hard together from the outset, with the prime objective of stopping Rangers winning 10 league titles in a row, and we did it.
"Myself and Wim had to build a completely new team by bringing in guys like Jonathon Gould, Stephane Mahe, Regi Blinker, Craig Burley, Harald Brattbakk, Darren Jackson, Paul Lambert, and, of course, Henrik Larsson.
"I would imagine Larsson was one our better signings, he's just a wee bit special.
"Wim had known him all his days. When he and I sat down to discuss who we wanted to come to the club, Henrik's name came up.
"That season, we stopped Rangers winning 10 in a row and also won the League Cup, but, at the end of that season, chairman Fergus McCann and Jock Brown got rid of us.
"We couldn't really have done more, so we just had to take it on the chin and get on with our lives. It helped to know that the Celtic fans realised just what we had achieved for the club."
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|joebloggscity||Murdo MacLeod||0||May 11 2009, 5:12 AM EDT by joebloggscity|
Thread started: May 11 2009, 5:12 AM EDT Watch
"Murdo MacLeod decided to leave also after, departing with honour and dignity."
That's how it's said he left Celtic after Wim. Can't remember it being like that (and a bit one-sided).
I'm sure he wanted to be made manager and said so but wasn't considered so that was a main reason he bailed out.
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