Dunfermline Athletic

Bobby Kirk

A tough-tackling right-back, Bobby played in Dunfermline's League Cup Final defeat by East Fife in October 1949 but went on to enjoy success in every major domestic competition during an eight-year career with Hearts.

Born in Arniston, Midlothian on 12th August 1927, Bobby attended GorebridgeSchool and in his early days played juvenile football with Newtongrange Hearts, Arniston Thistle and Edinburgh Thistle. In 1945 he moved up to junior level with Arniston Rangers and the following year became the club's first Scottish internationalist.

Provisionally signed by Dunfermline for £40 in the autumn of 1947, Bobby was called up the following January although the manager who brought him to the club, Bobby Calder, had departed by the time he made his debut in a 4-3 win over St. Johnstone at East End Park on 13th March 1948.

Despite league mediocrity, cup competition provided some real highlights, none more so than the run to the League Cup Final in 1949/50. Bobby was a key figure in the side, turning in a superb performance to completely subdue Hibernian winger Willie Ormond in the remarkable 2-1 semi-final win. Two years later, he played in Dunfermline's first ever victory over Rangers, 1-0 in the quarter-final of the same competition, although Bobby, like many others, remained convinced that the Pars were hard done by in the return leg which ended in a 3-1 defeat.

A mainstay of the side, the Dunfermline directors turned down an offer from Arsenal and were so determined to keep him that they bought a house in Rose Crescent and gave him tenancy of it.In 1953, however, he refused to re-sign for the club after failing to receive an expected benefit and was transferred to Raith Rovers for £750, "virtually stolen", according to manager Bobby Ancell.  He had made a total of 180 appearances for the Athletic, scoring twelve goals.

Regarding his time in Kirkcaldy as "two wasted seasons", Bobby knew his time was up when the Rovers manager described him as too clean a player for the team. Fortunately, not everyone shared that view and in May 1955 he was signed by Hearts, the team he'd supported all his life, for a fee of £2,500.  At the end of his first season he helped the club lift the Scottish Cup for the first time in fifty years, defeating Celtic 3-1 in the Final, and followed that with League Championship medals in 1957/58 and 1959/60.  He was twice a winner in the League Cup, in October 1958 and again the following season, and was denied a hat trick in the competition when the Tynecastle side lost to Rangers after a replay in 1961/62.

Bobby played alongside some of the greatest players in Hearts' history, but the only international recognition he gained was in Scotland's 'B' team against England in February 1957.

After a season spent assisting the reserves, Bobby was released by Hearts in April 1963 after 292 competitive matches, again netting twelve goals.  Having qualified as a physiotherapist in 1961, and after leaving Hearts took over as player/manager of Gala Fairydean, winning several trophies including the Qualifying Cup twice.  He returned to Tynecastle in 1967 to spend four years running the third team, and later became a respected coach and physiotherapist in junior and east senior circles.

Bobby never forgot the club that gave him the opportunity to play senior football and neither did the club or its supporters forget him.  He was a very special guest at East End Park in March 2006, a week before the team appeared in the CIS Cup Final, in recognition of the role he played in Dunfermline's first major cup final appearance.  His tremendous ability also earned him a place at number 46 in the '125 Greatest Pars' book published in 2009.

The club was saddened to learn of the death of former player Bobby Kirk, who passed away in Edinburgh on 1st February 2010, aged 82.



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