Do You Remember ?
languishing in the old 'B' division and expectations were low. I was lucky in that there was nothing great expected of me. We were struggling to find our place in football, let alone challenge for any honours. We had been in the wilderness, but there were some good players at the club, particularly the more senior players.'
The first couple of seasons were tough, with Malky forced to pull on the boots himself. The 1952/53 season saw a good league cup run, beating Rangers in the semi-final only to lose to Dundee in the final. The new manager was slowly, but surely turning the club around and the following season saw Killie win promotion to the 'A' Division.
'There were fixed ideas back then regarding styles of play. Because you were in a lower division you were expected to employ hard men to get you out. I bought a boy calledWillie Toner. I had great faith in Willie. Instead of being a 'stopper' centre half, he was a fellow who could come forward with the ball and use it wisely. We would make allowances if he did come forward; someone would fill in behind. I always remember the dictum was, 'if you have the ball, then they haven't got it and if they haven't got the ball, they can't do any damage.' My goalkeeper of the time, Jimmy Brown was another character and a right wag. He carried a lot of weight in the dressing room and he would some times manage the rest of the players.'
Around this time Malky was fighting his case for floodlights (the board considered them too expensive). Ultimately it was only the promise of a visit from the mighty Manchester United which settled it. 'Matt Busby was the United manager at the time and I was lucky that I knew him. It gave me a bit of bargaining power in that if the floodlights were purchased, I could persuade Matt to bring his United team up for a game.'
At the end of season 1956/57 after finishing 3rd in
the league and reaching the cup final, Malcolm Macdonald was
surprisingly allowed to leave Rugby Park. (He never had a contract in
all his time at Kilmarnock). He returned south to manage Brentford for
a few seasons before finally returning to Rugby Park in the wake of
Willie Waddell's departure.
Several decades on, Malky still looks back with fondness on his time at Rugby Park 'I was very lucky with the people who were at the club when I was there. To many of the players, I wasn't the manager, I was still Malcolm Macdonald the player. I was fortunate that I made some great friends. I did things that would be frowned upon today, for example socialising with the players. I always remember them saying, 'You cannae dae this Malky or you cannae dae that!'. I did try to promote the club. If a foreign team was coming over to this country to play, we would try to fix up a game with them. If I was proud of anything, it was that I encouraged a lot of foreign teams to come to Rugby Park, opening the club up to new methods and ideas. I had my ups and downs as a player and a manager, but I suppose that you have that in any walk of life.'
Interview By Ross MacKenzie
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