1967-77, Killie Hall of Famer
1967-77, Killie Hall of Famer
A member of the 300 club for appearances, and a member of the very exclusive 100 club for goals scored, Eddie started out life as a goalkeeper, playing between the sticks for his school team at St Columba's High.
When he joined Port Glasgow juniors in 66/67 he had, by then, made the switch from saving goals to scoring them. This brought him to Killie's attention, and in January of '67 Eddie signed on the dotted line at Rugby Park.
His debut came in a 3-1 defeat against Hibs the next month. Eddie did not feature for the rest of that season.
His first full season, however saw 14 goals in just 24 games. Eddie had arrived, and wouldn't stop playing & scoring for the remainder of his time here. Some 352 games and 154 goals later.
His most prolific of seasons was the 73/74 campaign, where he netted 32 goals. Remarkably finishing second to Fleming who netted 35 times that season.
Together with initially Ross Mathie, latterly with Ian Fleming this was undoubtedly the most productive of times for Killie strike partnerships.
Inexplicably, his time at Killie came to a crashing halt. New manager Willie Fernie and for some reason Eddie found himself on the fringes of the team. Despite his record that season of 8 goals in just 18 games, with long gaps between some of them. Eddie's last appearance came as a sub in a resounding defeat away at Boghead in January of 1976.
His final goal for the club, came three weeks prior, in a 3-2 win over the team he saw out his playing days with. Morton. After hanging up the boots, Eddie began coaching at Morton. The youths mostly, with a couple of stints as caretaker boss.
In 1985 he returned to Rugby Park as manager for the next 4 years. A difficult time to be at the club, but Eddie approached management in the same way he did playing, by giving it his all. But, part time football, mounting debts and a bitter boardroom tussle conspired against him becoming one of our greatest managers.
He returned to Morton where he coached the youths, did PR and helped out another Scottish goalscoring legend, Allan McGraw. Who by this time had begun to rely heavily on two walking sticks to get around.
Latterly his extreme likeability was put to use in the customer service department at The Herald & Evening Times. A man who could sell snow to the Eskimos most likely had new subscribers eating out the palm of his hand there.
Eddie tragically died on a plane journey home from a holiday in 2011. Speaking shortly after, his team mate Jim McSherry remembered "Eddie always was one of the good guys, a marvellous team mate and friend, a terrific, positive force in the dressing room and it is tragic that he should be taken at such a young age,”
McSherry also tells of how, in one of his last visits to Rugby Park, for a legends evening in the Park Suite at the ground, when it was announced that Morrison had to go forward to receive an award the familiar terracing chant of "Oh Eddie, Eddie. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie Morrison" rang round the room. Returning to his seat, Morrison revealed: "I started that chant tonight."
That summed him up perfectly, a mischievous, fun-loving, man who lived life as he played football – with a smile on his face.
Eddie Morrison 22/02/1948 – 30/05/2011
352 games. 154 goals.
3rd April 1973
A 1-0 win over Airdrie in our, as it turned out, doomed effort to avoid the drop.
Killie Starting XI: Stewart, Whyte, Robertson, Dickson, Rodman, Maxwell, McSherry, Morrison, Fleming, Smith, Cook.
Signing for Killie in January 1967, Eddie just missed out on being part of the greatest chapter in Killie’s history, but he went on to create his own little niche as being one of the most popular players to pull of the famous blue and white jersey.
Extracted From Oct 15th Killie Legends Dinner
“I was a Killie baby when I arrived,” he said, although that’s a bit hard to believe when you see him now!
“Arriving at Rugby Park was like a kid going into a sweetie shop. The guys that were there at that time were my idols.”
And although most of the league-winning team would move on within a few years, Eddie became very friendly with them and has remained so over the years.
“I served my apprenticeship under them before breaking into the first team.”
He did come across Bobby Ferguson again in 1969 when Killie took on West Ham in Seattle, scoring a goal in Killie’s win over the London side who had Ferguson in goal for them.
Continued Eddie: “I just loved it at Kilmarnock and the punters seemed to like me, so I wasn’t interested in going anywhere else. It’s just a love affair I have with Rugby Park. I just wish I had four or five million quid to help them out.”
Eddie later went on to manage the club for four years between 1984 and 1988. In his time as a player at Rugby Park, he made 324 appearances, scoring an impressive 149 goals.
An interview conducted for the Kissin' the Squirrels magazine by Donny Muir....
My earliest and fondest memory of following Kilmarnock was during my primary school days; jackets down and 23 a side etc. All assembled would choose their favourite players and for that half hour we would live that dream.
Most kids choose to be Dalglish/Keegan/McNeil or even dared to emulate Pele, but not for me, none of these international superstars, no, for me it had to be the greatest centre forward the world has ever seen… Eddie Morrison!
Alas I never got to see my hero in action, but I would follow his exploits in the press, knowing that one day I'd finally get the chance to be in the presence of my footballing icon. Then it happened, on a sunny day at Cappielow (sunny?), Killie's last match of the season, we lost 3-2 and Morton gained promotion, HE was there, in the dugout beside the Morton manager Tommy McLean. On the final whistle the pitch was invaded by jubilant 'Ton fans, the Killie support, not to be outdone, sang "Oh Eddie, Eddie… Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, Morrison". My hero acknowledged our chants with a royal wave, my day was made.
Airdrie had just humped us 5-0 at Rugby Park, enough was enough, goodbye Mr. Clunie.The stage was set for the return of the Messiah, this time to lead from the dugout, King Eddie was home. I supported Eddie and his squad with a religious fervour, home and away. It was never going to be easy for him. He was hindered by a short sighted board, who not only lacked vision but were unable or unwilling to give Eddie the cash required to build a decent team and prove his worth. In the end his departure was inevitable, but at least, in the wake of the termination of his contract, the sleeping giant that was Kilmarnock had at last stirred restlessly in it's slumber.
One of my saddest memories as a Killie fan was joining the hot-heads in the enclosure as they shouted for the head of Eddie Morrison. I still feel the shame from those dark days as I've never had the chance to say sorry to the greatest hero I ever had…until now that is. I tracked the great man down and asked him to relay a few of his memories from the past and thoughts about the modern era…
When and how did you end up at Killie?
I signed from Port Glasgow to Killie in Season '66-'67.
What were your initial thoughts on the club?
I was very impressed with the ground and all the facilities.
What are your earliest memories of being at Killie?
Mixing with players I had previously only seen on television or read about in the papers.
The stature, size and general state of the club.
They were a very progressive club with a large playing staff and back room staff.
The playing and coaching staff at that time.
Most of the players were older than me and had plenty of experience. The coaching staff were excellent with Walter McCrae and John Murdoch.
Living in the shadow of the team of 1965.
It never bothered me because most of them were still there. They were still a very good team.
Those European nights, any vivid memories?
Scoring goals against teams like F.C. Zurich. All my good memories are about scoring goals.
What was the best domestic match you have played in?
Against Rangers at Rugby Park, when I scored two goals (Sep 30 1972). The second being Killie's 4,000th league goal.
Your best cup memory?
The '72 Raith game in the Scottish Cup at Kircaldy. There was a lot of hype by their manager George Farm.
Your favourite European match?
When I played against F.C. Zurich.
Your biggest disappointments at Killie?
Getting beat in the Semi Final of the Scottish Cup by Aberdeen at Perth in 1970.
The circumstances that made you leave Killie ?
Manager Willie Fernie wasn't a fan of my type of playing, so I left with Ian Fallis taking my place. I was very, very sad.
How did you get into coaching and management?
Benny Roonie the Morton manager saw at the time my playing career was coming to an end, suggested I go to Largs on a coaching course.
Thoughts at becoming Killie manager.
I felt great excitement and had high hopes of making Killie a first class team.
What was this your biggest achievement in football?
Saving Killie from relegation in my first season there. We stayed up and Meadowbank went down.
How frustrating was it having no cash to work with?
Very! You are always left with 'if onlys'.
How supportive were the board?
As supportive as they could have been at the time.
Thoughts on the Dave McFarlane incident.
When he was with us for a month's trial, he played well, but after he signed his form dropped and he did not live up to my expectations.
How hard was the criticism of the fans?
Very hard. Nobody wants hard luck stories about no money for decent players, and the manager knows he is first to go if the team is doing badly.
Would kind of job would you have done with backing?
Unfortunately I will never know but I would like to think that I would have done a good one.
Best memory as manager.
The three games against Hearts in the Scottish Cup.
Losing to Inverness Thistle in the Scottish Cup.
Would you like to be a manager again?
No! It takes it's toll on your health and your family suffers.
Your thoughts on the current Killie set-up/stadia.
Killie always has been and still is one of the best stadiums in Scotland out with Celtic and Rangers. I would love to see them doing a lot better in the Premier League.
Were you at the '97 Cup Final?
I was there. I enjoyed it. Both sets of fans were great. The only thing that would have made it better if I had been playing or managing Killie that day.
First love: Killie or Morton?
If this were a photo finish in a horse race, it would be a dead heat.
Your life after Killie.
I went back to Morton and did some coaching.
What are you up to now?
Doing a little PR work for Morton and awaiting the arrival of our first grandchild in January.
Can you forgive me for past indiscretions, please?
Yes, of course. Being the type of person I am, easy going, you are forgiven.
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