Club News

Derek Rutherford

22nd October 2021

Sadly, we have to advise the death of one of our former players, Derek Rutherford, who passed away after a lengthy struggle with illness.

He was a Highlander, born on 23 October 1946 in Keith, where his father worked in a woolen mill. The former pupil of Keith Grammar School was a reserve for the Scottish Schoolboy XI in 1961-62 and he played youth football for Banks o’ Dee “A”. Derek had a bright future in the game and in August 1962, the tall and lean defender had a successful trial with Leicester City. Derek worked on the ground staff at City’s old Filbert Street ground, before deciding to return home in January 1963 after obtaining his release from the English club.

His father was President of Keith Football Club and he trained there until Hearts’ manager, Tommy Walker, persuaded Derek to join the Tynecastle office staff in February 1963. Derek then played as an amateur until he signed a full professional contract in December that year. Operating at centre-half or full-back, he was a stalwart in Hearts’ Reserves and always provided valuable cover for the senior side. Derek eventually appeared six times for the first team, including two games in the prestigious tour of Iceland in 1967.

After leaving Hearts in April 1968, Derek had a further decade in football, initially with Wigan Athletic and Partick Thistle, before heading for South Africa in 1970 and playing for East London Celtic. He then came back to Scotland end enjoyed time with Forfar Athletic, East Stirlingshire, Gala Fairydean, Sauchie Juniors and Eyemouth United.

Although largely a cover-man during his time with Hearts, Derek’s attitude was exemplary. He was just proud to wear maroon and our sincere condolences and extended to Derek’s family and friends. 

By David Speed