One of the most-repeated of the many Bill Shankly stories is of him telling Steve Heighway, who had earned a 2:1 in economics and politics at Warwick University: “The trouble wi’ you son, is your brains are a’ in yer heid.”
What the Glenbuck genius would have made of Dr Katharina Lindner, who had a bachelors degree in Media Science and Psychology and a Masters degree from Hartford University in the USA and a PhD from Glasgow University is a moot point.
Dr Lindner, who died suddenly last weekend, was, in addition to being a leading academic in her field, a marvellous footballer, revered in her native Germany, the United States and in Scotland.
Born in Munich, she was raised in the small town of Kleinostheim, 40 kilometres from Frankfurt, moving to that city to play for 1FC Frankfurt as a 16-year-old. Her promise was obvious as she helped her team win a women’s league and cup double and earned selection for the Under-16 and Under-18 German national sides.
That talent also won her an athletics scholarship to Hartford University in Connecticut, with whom she won All East Conference honours and in 2000 she was named NSCAA First-Team All American, a distinction which recognised her as one of the best 11 women players in the huge American collegiate athletics system.
When she graduated from Hartford, she was named as the outstanding student athlete of the year. She stayed in Connecticut while studying for her Masters degree, playing for the West Mass Pioneers in the second division of America’s women’s professional league.
With her Masters, she sought to continue her education, coming to Scotland to comeplete a PhD at Glasgow University. She also continued her football career by joining Glasgow City, then, as now, Scotland’s leading women’s team.
For six seasons she was a regular in the City side, playing 173 games in which she scored 128 goals, an average of 0.74 goals per game, well above the 0.5 gpg which is the yardstick for a top-class striker.
She also set a Scottish record for both goals scored in Europe and matches played, as City became regular competitors in the women’s Champions League.
In 2011, she retired, immediately joining the City coaching staff, while also making use of her academic qualifications, by working as a lecturer in the Media and Culture department at Stirling University.
Dr Lindner is a published author, and a regular contributor of learned papers in her specialities of feminism and women’s issues, specialising in: gender, sports, queer theory and how women’s images are presented in the media.
Her research interests included gender and queer theory, feminist film and cultural criticism, question of identity, subjectivity and embodiment, film phenomenology, as well as media and sport. Katharina published work on athleticism and cinema, dance in film, sport and (post)feminism, as well as on bodily performance and embodiment and/in film.
During her playing career, particularly in Scotland, Kat was seen as a role model.
She kept herself remarkably fit, trained hard, played hard and gave a strong lead to the young Scottish girls in the City squad.
Coach Eddie Wolecki-Black, now Head Coach of the Celtic women’s team, praised her professionalism and the example of good habits she passed on to her team mates.
If Kat was good for Glasgow City, the club was good to her. She found love in the city, and throughout her 16 years in Glasgow, she has had Laura Montgomery, one of the club’s founders and now Club Manager, as her partner.
When anyone thinks of German footballers in Glasgow, Gerry Neef, Stefan Klos and Jorg Albertz at Rangers, and Andreas Thom at Celtic are the names which most-often come up.
Kat Lindner never had that high a profile, but posterity could well show she made a greater contribution to German-Scottish football relations.