The visitors had not only to score
twice to triumph but not concede anything. In the end it was a feat they
achieved to clinch their biggest prize by just 0.042 of a goal.
His glorious moment,
remembers, came in the 26th minute. "The ball went out to Tommy
McLean on the wing. Tommy saw me at the far post and he put the cross
over perfectly on to my head. To be honest, I thought I'd
miss - I never scored many with my head. Big Jim Cruikshank came right
back across the goal and threw himself at the ball. By the time it hit
the net, he had dived beyond the post, so that shows how close he came
to stopping it."
Within a couple of minutes Hearts
were two down. Brian McIlroy took a pass from Bertie Black on the edge
of the box and despite Hearts appeals for offside, he smashed a
magnificent left-foot drive into the far corner (right).
Hearts ended the first half with
an intense siege on Ferguson's goal, but at the half Killie still led
There were flashing attacks from
both sides at the start
of the second half, Kilmarnock intelligently appreciating that
concentration on defence could cost them the title and Hearts eager
to score that one one vital single goal, that would give them the title.
Roy Barry of Hearts and Frank Beattie of Killie both fell heavily after
a heading duel and Barry had to be assisted to his feet. A minute later
he was up heading the ball over the bar in another Hearts attack. It was
that kind of match.
Then Killie almost settled matters after a brilliant run by Brian
McIlroy, young 17 year old McLean hesitated in front of goal and Cruickshank came diving
out to thwart the danger. (right).
This was a game of unspeakable tension, as
Hearts continued to look for that single goal which would give them the title. When
chance fame, it fell to Alan Gordon whose miss is still talked
about in Edinburgh.
But Sneddon remembers how unlucky the centre-forward
was not to score.
"Gordon has taken some stick
for that, but the truth is Bobby Ferguson made a great save. I thought
he did ever so well, he took the ball on the up really skillfully and was
able to keep his shot down. He smashed it into the ground and it was
going high into the net, but Bobby got to it."
That was just six minutes from the
end of the game, but the critical moment (you can see Willie & Walter
smoking it up as they wait for the final whistle at the top of this page) for Hearts really occurred
within seconds of the kick-off, according to the former Kilmarnock
player, when Ronald Jenson hit the ball beyond Ferguson, but off a post.
An early goal against them would have been fatal for Kilmarnock's hopes.
When the full-time whistle came it found despondent
Hearts players shaking hands in sporting fashion with their rivals, and
amidst scenes of great emotion Willie Waddell raced onto the pitch to
leap and dance with his jublant players.
Killie fans, hardened to a diet of "runners up" taunts, simply went
wild. They made so much noise that 5 minutes after it was all over
Willie Waddell and his players acknowledged their cheers by coming back
down the tunnel to make a special lap of honour!