Columb McKinley who was a stalwart with Dumbarton FC and Vale of Leven Juniors.
IT is with very deep sadness that local football supporters have learned that Columb McKinley, who played for Dumbarton against Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final of 1976, has died. He was 70.
Columb played in every tie during the club’s run to that season’s semi-final, and in the original semi-final tie and replay against Hearts. He also played in that season’s Spring Cup semi-final, against Clydebank.
In total, Columb played 87 games for the club between 1975 and 1978, scoring once. In his youth, he played for St Patrick’s High School and Vale of Leven Juniors before joining Airdrie and Dumbarton.
“The thoughts of all at Dumbarton FC are with Columb’s family and friends at this sad time,” said a message of condolence on the Dumbarton Football Club website today.
Sons’ historian Jim McAllister and Dumbarton librarian Arthur Jones’ book The Sons of the Rock records a memorable moment in history in which Columb took part.
The excerpt states that in 1976 “a crowd of 16,000 at Hampden saw Dumbarton outplay the Edinburgh side, but inspired goalkeeping from former international Jim Cruikshank foiled all scoring attempts and the goal-less draw meant the sides would have to do it all again.
“Alex Wright [the Sons’ manager] fielded Williams, A Brown, Watt; Smith, McKinley, Muir; Cook, McLean, Bourke, Wallace and Graham, with Mullen and McNeil sitting on the Hampden bench.
“An unchanged side lined up for the replay but a Walter Smith [later manager of Rangers FC] own goal after eight minutes deflated the players and Hearts comfortably progressed to the final by three clear goals.
“Hearts qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup, an honour that could have been Dumbarton’s had they taken a single chance in that first semi.
“Also Sons had defeated both promoted sides in the cup run; so it was a season of what might have been.”
This episode will soon be up for discussion amongst all the old timers who frequent the sports bar up there in the sky.
Columb McKinley, fifth from left in the Dumbarton FC team – standing between Jumbo Muir and John Bourke – at Boghead Park, Dumbarton. Manager Alex Wright, coaches Davy Wilson, Alan McKay and Bobby McCallum are also in the picture as are Ian Wallace, Johnny Graham, Murdo Macleod, Peter Coleman, Tom McAdam, Roy McCormick, Donald McNeil, Lawrie Williams, Kenny Jenkins and John Cushley.