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Paddy Buckley

Scottish football internationalist Born: 31 January, 1925, in Leith. Died: 4 November, 2008, in Tranent, aged 83.

PATRICK "Paddy" Buckley was one of the outstanding Scottish centre forwards of the 1950s. But he was an unlucky player in international terms, since his career ran alongside those of Hearts' Willie Bauld and Hibs' Lawrie Reilly – both of whom had higher profiles.

Buckley won a Scottish Junior Cup winner's medal, with the great Bo'ness United team which beat Irvine Meadow 2-1 in the 1948 final and his incredible pace, remarkable heading ability for a man just 5ft 7in tall and eye for a goal attracted senior attention, with Celtic and St Johnstone both claiming to have signed him.

This dispute went to the Scottish Football Association, which came down in favour of the Perth side. They got a quick pay-off, with Buckley making a goal-scoring debut against Dundee United on his way to 105 goals for St Johnstone in his four years with the club.

In his first season he had one run of scoring in eight successive games and quickly became a fans' favourite at Muirton Park.

However, in spite of his goals, Saints couldn't get out of Division B and when Aberdeen manager Davie Halliday came in with a 7,500 bid for Buckley in 1952, he was on his way to Pittodrie.

A move up to Division A hardly put the brakes on Buckley's goal-scoring. In all he scored 92 goals in 152 first team games for the Dons and with his pace and eye for a goal he was the spearhead of a golden age for the club.

Aberdeen lost to Rangers in the 1953 Scottish Cup final, but the Glasgow club needed a replay to prevail.

He had his revenge the following year, when he scored the final goal – a diving header – in Aberdeen's remarkable 6-0 semi-final thrashing of Rangers. He went on score Aberdeen's goal in the final, but was again on the losing side as Celtic scored twice, the winner coming from full back Sean Fallon – who was fielded at centre forward.

His club form earned him a call-up to a new-look Scotland squad which was to prepare for the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland. Buckley made his international debut against Norway, at Hampden, on 5 May, 1954. Scotland won 1-0, but Buckley picked up a knee injury which ended his hopes of playing in Switzerland.

He was back in Scotland's colours in October, 1954, scoring the only goal of the game as Scotland beat Wales in Cardiff, and was retained for the next match, a 2-2 draw with Northern Ireland at Hampden.

He also played a major role in Aberdeen's first Scottish League championship win that 1954-55 season, before, later that year, he was finally a Hampden winner at senior level, as part of the Aberdeen team which beat St Mirren 2-1 in the League Cup final. But he was increasingly troubled by knee problems, which brought a premature end to his senior career in 1957, although he did attempt a short-lived comeback with Inverness Caledonian in the Highland League.

He then returned to Leith, where he worked in various jobs; these included foundry work and a lengthy spell with the Corporation Parks Department.

His last years, spent in a care home in Tranent, were, like those of so many footballers of his era, blighted by dementia before his death was hastened by two strokes in the past three months.

Paddy was predeceased by his wife, Lena, and is survived by five sons, Paddy jnr, himself a footballer of note with Third Lanark, Wolves and Sheffield United in the late 1960s and 1970s; John, Graham, Kevin and Don and seven grandchildren.

 
 
 

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