By: Hibernian Media on 27 Aug, 2014 18:32
Hibernian are saddened to learn that former player Bobby Kinloch has passed away. He was 79. The club sends our deepest condolences to his friends and family.
A dynamic free-scoring inside forward, Kinloch recorded 34 appearances during his brief three-year stay at Hibernian, but his goals, 22 in total, left a lasting impression.
Without any shadow of doubt, his most telling contribution was during the club’s extraordinary Fair’s Cup campaign during the 1960/61 season where he scored the winner that knocked out Barcelona at Easter Road.
On an unforgettable night in February 1961, Kinloch stepped up, kept his composure and expertly scored a dramatic late penalty to ensure Hibernian both won the match 3-2 and the tie 7-6 on aggregate.
Even now, more than half a century after that heroic deed, there are few that would argue that Kinloch’s spot-kick that beat Barça is one of the most famous goals in the club’s 139-year history.
An ebullient, bouncily inventive and strong-minded character, Kinloch wasn’t even originally assigned to take the penalty – awarded after Johnny MacLeod had been tripped in the area and a decision that triggered off a 13-minute delay after a forceful Barcelona protest.
But after regular spot-kick taker Sammy Baird informed him that he was too unwell to assume responsibility for the penalty, Kinloch placed the ball on the spot and scored a truly monumental goal. Cue euphoric scenes at Easter Road.
Inevitably that goal came to define Kinloch’s football career, although he also scored another fabulous goal in the semi-final tie against AS Roma, which was eventually lost after a controversial third play-off game in Italy.
Irrepressibly determined and bursting with infectious self-belief, Kinloch and the incomparable Joe Baker provided the majority of the goals that took Hibernian towards the cusp of reaching a major European Final.
Born in Glasgow, Kinloch grew up in Forres and played for Forres Mechanics before joining the RAF and it was from there that he signed for Hibernian in 1959.
His early progress as a creative inside-forward was encouraging and he made his debut against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the opening game of the 1960/61 season, albeit at wing-half.
Admirably direct and determined, Kinloch was soon employed by manager Hugh Shaw as an attacking midfielder and he responded with an avalanche of goals – 17 during his debut season.
He packed an explosive shot which yielded some memorably spectacular goals and had the priceless knack of finding the net at regular intervals.
Kinloch scored a hat-trick against St Mirren in October 1960 and scored twice against Aberdeen, Airdrieonians and Hamilton Academical – his goals-to-games ratio was nothing short of prolific.
But the following season, Kinloch wasn’t able to pin down a regular place, although he still contributed five goals from 11 starts, and he agreed to join Greenock Morton in September 1962.
Joining Berwick Rangers in 1964, Kinloch, always keen to tackle new challenges, chose to emigrate to Canada where he played for Toronto City and Hamilton Steelers.
Returning to Scotland in 1967, Kinloch experienced further spells with Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic, where he won the Scottish Cup, before enjoying a very successful post-football career in business.
A regular attender of Hibernian Former Players’ Association reunions and events, Kinloch also came to watch matches at Easter Road regularly before the onset of his illness.
He also took immense pride in seeing his grandsons Sam and Max Todd represent the club at under-20 level. Max featured for the first team during this summer’s pre-season friendly programme.
For Hibernian supporters with clear memories of the glorious European nights at Easter Road, Kinloch’s goal against Barcelona will forever be remembered as one of the greatest ever highlights; part of club folklore.
A much loved member of the Hibernian family, Bobby Kinloch will be missed by everybody at Easter Road – his memory marches on…