Club News

Dave Mackay: 1934 - 2015

3rd March 2015

Club pays tribute to one of the greatest ever, Dave Mackay.


It is with deep regret that we have to advise of the death of Dave Mackay who was possibly the most complete midfield player that Scotland has ever produced.

Dave was a tough ball-winner, an astute and skilful passer, and a regular goal-scorer. He also had limitless energy and leadership qualities, and many of our senior supporters believe that it was his spirit and drive that turned the immensely skilful Hearts players of the ’50s into winners. 

Dave was very much a local hero, born in the capital city on 14 November 1934.

His football potential was quickly apparent and he stood out from an early age with Balgreen Primary School, Carrickvale Secondary School and the Gorgie Boys’ Brigade Team. Indeed, Dave helped Carrickvale to win the national U16 Shield in 1949 and he went on to represent Scotland at Schoolboy level. In addition, Dave was a winner with his Boys’ Brigade team and later with the Edinburgh juvenile side, Slateford Athletic.

Dave was a lifelong Hearts supporter and he was thrilled when he was recruited by manager Tommy Walker, on a provisional basis at the age of 16. The youngster was subsequently given a £20 sign-on fee in December 1951 and few would argue that this was possibly the best investment that the club has ever made. Dave was then farmed out to the junior side, Newtongrange Star, and the young apprentice joiner earned two Junior International caps just before being called up by Hearts in the summer of 1953. 

Dave made his competitive debut in November 1953 in a League match against Clyde at Tynecastle and he subsequently established his place in the team during the club’s tour of South Africa in the summer of 1954.

His skill and energy was then outstanding in the side that won the Scottish League Cup Final in October 1954 with a magnificent 4-2 victory over Motherwell at Hampden. This brought major honours to Tynecastle for the first time in 48 years, sparked remarkable celebrations throughout Edinburgh and created a group of unforgettable heroes, including Dave Mackay. 

In 1955, he reported for two years of National Service with the Royal Engineers and Sapper Mackay regularly travelled from Gloucester, Worcester and Farnborough just to play for the Hearts.

He was married in December that year and despite all the travelling that he had to undertake, Dave never lacked the energy and enthusiasm to pull on a maroon shirt. In fact, he was once again a key man as Hearts won the Scottish Cup Final in April 1956, beating Celtic by 3-1 at Hampden. 

That memorable Scottish Cup victory was soon followed by the record-breaking Scottish League Championship success in 1957-58, when Dave was immensely proud to be captain of the Hearts.

On a personal note, he won four U23 International caps and played three times for the Scottish League. Davie also made the first of 22 full international appearances (four with Hearts, two of these as captain) against Spain in May 1957. In addition, he actually represented the Football League on three occasions after he moved down south. 

Hearts’ talisman became Scotland's Player of the Year in 1958 and Davie represented his country at the World Cup Finals in Sweden. Not surprisingly, Everton wanted his transfer, but he remained in Edinburgh and in October 1958, Davie played in the Hearts side that won the Scottish League Cup Final against Partick Thistle, the Maroons winning 5-1 at Hampden.

However, to the dismay of the supporters, he was then transferred to Tottenham Hotspur in March 1959 for a fee of £32,000. 

In his first season, Dave inspired Spurs to move away from the relegation zone and he then became a major player in the super side that won the English League and Cup double in 1960-61. The following season, the tough midfielder helped Spurs to retain the FA Cup with a victory over Burnley. Dave also captained the team that beat Chelsea in the FA Cup Final of 1967 and although he missed the last game, he assisted the London club to win the European Cup-Winners' Cup in 1963. 

In December 1963, Davie was sidelined by a twice-fractured leg and he was out for almost two years. Nevertheless, he was made of strong stuff and came back to captain Spurs and scored a total of 51 goals in 318 competitive games for the Londoners.

Dave then moved to Derby County in July 1968 and inspired them to the Second Division Championship, before becoming the player-manager of Swindon Town in May 1971. He subsequently managed Nottingham Forest and then Derby County whom he led to the English Championship in 1974-75. 

Dave left Derby in November 1976 and he then managed and coached Walsall, Arabic Sporting Club of Kuwait, Doncaster Rovers, Birmingham City and Zamalec Sporting Club of Egypt.

Sadly, he never managed his home-town club but during his playing days at Tynecastle, Dave Mackay had thrilled the fans scoring 32 goals in 208 games, including the club's first European ventures.

He had inspired Heart of Midlothian to unprecedented success and left a legacy of wonderful memories. 

It was wholly appropriate that Dave Mackay was elected to the Heart of Midlothian Hall of Fame at the inaugural event in 2006.

He was a truly a legend and a man who will be sorely missed and well remembered.