Drew Busby

07 May 2022

A firm fans’ favourite, Drew was inducted into the Hearts Hall of Fame in 2018. The following profile was written by club historian David Speed for Drew’s induction, and we feel it appropriate to repeat it here on this extremely sad day.

A powerhouse striker or attacking midfielder, Drew Busby was immensely popular in a maroon shirt, because he was always fully committed to Hearts and possessed a truly remarkable work-rate. Drew could also use the ball to advantage and his shooting was legendary, earning him 90 goals in 277 appearances (84 of these in 256 competitive matches), with many scored in spectacular fashion.

Although he was born in Glasgow in December 1947, Drew’s home-town is Alexandria in Dunbartonshire. When he left the town’s Vale of Leven Academy, Drew had a spell as an apprentice professional with Coventry City, but then returned north and started work as a machine assembler while also playing football for Dumbarton United. He eventually signed for the now defunct, Third Lanark, in February 1967 and actually scored the doomed club’s final goal in April that year. Drew subsequently played for Partick Thistle and Vale of Leven Juniors, before joining Airdrieonians in June 1970.

At the old Broomfield ground, he formed a much-feared striking partnership with Drew Jarvie and the pair helped the Airdrie club to reach the Texaco Cup Final in 1972. However, after Airdrieonians were relegated from the top division, Hearts brought Drew Busby to Tynecastle in May 1973 for a club record fee of £35,000.

The uncompromising attacker gave nothing less than 100% over the next six years, during which time he helped Hearts to qualify for the initial Premier Division. Indeed, Drew scored the club’s first goal in this competition, at Dens Park, Dundee, in September 1975. He also played in the Scottish Cup Final in 1976 against Rangers which was immediately followed by the club’s round-the-world tour.

Drew was a key member of the squad that took part in the European Cup Winners Cup the following season. He scored in the unforgettable home victory over Lokomotive Leipzig and also netted in the next round against Hamburger SV. Another highlight came in the Texaco Cup, away to Everton in September 1973, when he scored the only goal of the game. He also made Semi-Final appearances in both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup and, in addition, Drew played in Hearts’ Centenary celebration game in August 1974 against Tottenham Hotspur.

After Hearts’ shock relegation in 1976-77, Drew was a prominent of the team that immediately won promotion. On the way back to the Premier Division, on Christmas Eve 1977, both he and Willie Gibson famously scored a hat-trick in Hearts’ 7-0 win at Arbroath and secured the sponsor’s prize of a crate of whisky for every hat-trick scored. Unfortunately, Hearts went down again in 1979 and at the age of 31, Drew moved to Toronto Blizzard in May that year.

Hearts suffered a number of hammer-blows during the mid-seventies, but Drew Busby was a light at the end of the tunnel and he always made it worthwhile coming along to Tynecastle, despite the set-backs.

After two seasons in Canada, the dynamic 5’8” attacker played for Greenock Morton and became player-manager of Queen of the South. Drew then did some scouting for St.Mirren before moving into the licensed trade where he still runs The Waverley in Dumbarton.

Before recent renovations, a giant poster of Drew Busby sat on a floodlight pylon after supporters voted him one of their fourteen favourite players.

On behalf of everyone at the club, we offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the late, great Drew Busby.