Derek Rutherford
Derek Rutherford
Derek Rutherford
● Derek Rutherford, 1969 (HA)

born in Scotland

Derek Stephen Rutherford was born on Wednesday, 23rd October, 1946, in Keith, Moray.

The 5' 10 (10st 3lbs) defender signed for Willie Thornton's Thistle on Friday, 6th September, 1968, having most recently been with Heart of Midlothian.

Aged 22, he made his debut appearance on Wednesday, 30th July, 1969, in a 3-2 benefit match defeat away to Glentoran.

There were no goals for Derek during his spell with Thistle.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 23rd August, 1969, in a 6-0 defeat away to Kilmarnock in the League Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 6 occasions.

His club-list included Keith, Leicester City, Heart of Midlothian, Wigan Athletic, Partick Thistle, East London Celtic, Forfar Athletic, East Stirlingshire, Gala Fairydean, Sauchie and Eyemouth United.

Derek died on Thursday, 21st October, 2021, in Edinburgh, aged 74.

Bio Extra

He was a Highlander, born on 23 October 1946 in Keith, where his father worked in a woolen mill. The former pupil of Keith Grammar School was a reserve for the Scottish Schoolboy XI in 1961-62 and he played youth football for Banks o’ Dee “A”. Derek had a bright future in the game and in August 1962, the tall and lean defender had a successful trial with Leicester City. Derek worked on the ground staff at City’s old Filbert Street ground, before deciding to return home in January 1963 after obtaining his release from the English club.

His father was President of Keith Football Club and he trained there until Hearts’ manager, Tommy Walker, persuaded Derek to join the Tynecastle office staff in February 1963. Derek then played as an amateur until he signed a full professional contract in December that year. Operating at centre-half or full-back, he was a stalwart in Hearts’ Reserves and always provided valuable cover for the senior side. Derek eventually appeared six times for the first team, including two games in the prestigious tour of Iceland in 1967.

After leaving Hearts in April 1968, Derek had a further decade in football, initially with Wigan Athletic and Partick Thistle, before heading for South Africa in 1970 and playing for East London Celtic. He then came back to Scotland end enjoyed time with Forfar Athletic, East Stirlingshire, Gala Fairydean, Sauchie Juniors and Eyemouth United.

After a lengthy illness, Derek passed away in October 2021, just two days before his 75th birthday.


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