Bobby Kinloch: Inside-forward whose career was defined by a penalty he took in an emergency to overcome mighty Barcelona

 

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The Independent Online

The pinnacle of Bobby Kinloch's football life arrived courtesy of an embarrassed team-mate being caught short at possibly the tensest moment in Hibernian's history.

With the aggregate score in an Inter-Cities Fairs Cup quarter-final between the Edinburgh club and Barcelona standing at 6-6 with five minutes left to play in the second leg at Easter Road in February 1961, the referee awarded a controversial penalty to the hosts. The Spanish players were enraged, haranguing the official for 12 minutes, and during that emotionally charged interlude Hibs' regular penalty expert, Sammy Baird, suffered an "accident" in his shorts and asked Kinloch to take over.

The ebullient Glaswegian obliged, coolly stroking the ball home to secure a dramatic 7-6 victory. Admirably loyal to his straitened comrade, Kinloch kept the reason for the switch to himself for nearly half a century, eventually revealing it in an interview ahead of another encounter between the clubs in 2008.

Inevitably, that goal has come to define the dynamic inside-forward's career, which began when he joined Hibs in 1959. Initially he progressed impressively, scoring 17 times in 23 games in 1960-61, including two in the Fairs Cup semi-final against Roma, which was drawn 5-5 before Hibs exited after a play-off. But he lost impetus following Baker's departure that summer and, with 22 goals in 34 games to his name, he joined Morton in 1962.

He made little impact at Cappielow, and never truly shone later with Berwick Rangers, the Canadian clubs Toronto City and Hamilton Steelers, then Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic. Later he became a successful businessman.

IVAN PONTING

Robert Kinloch, footballer and businessman: born Glasgow 1935; died 27 August 2014.

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