David Craig Mackay (14 November 1934 – 2 March 2015) was a Scottish football player and manager. Mackay was best known for a highly successful playing career with Heart of Midlothian, the Double-winning Tottenham Hotspur side of 1961, and winning the league with Derby County as a manager. He also represented Scotland 22 times, and was selected for their 1958 FIFA World Cup squad. Mackay tied with Tony Book of Manchester City for the Football Writers' Association's Footballer of the Year award in 1969 and was later listed by the Football League in their "100 Legends", as well as being an inaugural inductee to both the English and Scottish Football Halls of Fame. He was described, by Tottenham Hotspur, as one of their greatest players and was known as 'the heartbeat' of their most successful ever team.

Dave Mackay
Mackay in 2006
Personal information
Full name David Craig Mackay[1]
Date of birth (1934-11-14)14 November 1934
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Date of death 2 March 2015(2015-03-02) (aged 80)
Place of death Nottingham, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Position(s) Left half / Sweeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1953–1959 Heart of Midlothian 135 (25)
1959–1968 Tottenham Hotspur 268 (42)
1968–1971 Derby County 122 (5)
1971–1972 Swindon Town 26 (1)
Total 601 (82)
National team
1954–1958[2] Scotland U23 4 (1)
1957–1965 Scotland 22 (4)
1957–1958 Scottish League XI 3 (0)
1958[3] SFL trial v SFA 1 (0)
1959–1962[4][5] SFA trial v SFL 3 (2)
Teams managed
1971–1972 Swindon Town
1972–1973 Nottingham Forest
1973–1976 Derby County
1977–1978 Walsall
1978 Al-Arabi Kuwait
1983 Al-Shabab
1987 Al-Arabi Kuwait
1987–1989 Doncaster Rovers
1989–1991 Birmingham City
1991–1993 Zamalek
1994–1997 Qatar
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Early lifeEdit

Mackay was born in Edinburgh. His father was a printer who worked for The Scotsman newspaper.[6] As a young footballer, he was a Scottish Schoolboy internationalist.[7]

Club careerEdit

Heart of MidlothianEdit

Mackay supported Hearts as a boy. He signed as a professional in 1952, initially on a part-time basis as he also worked as joiner. Mackay was given his first team debut in November 1953. He would be paired with John Cumming at wing half, which was to become the core of the team. Mackay was a talented all-round player; a strong tackler, physically fit and had good technique with the ball. Cumming's Iron Man nickname says much of his determination. Despite his commitment he retained control of his temper and was never booked in his career. Cumming was the only player to collect medals for all seven of the trophies Hearts won under manager Tommy Walker. "He never had a bad game. It was either a fairly good game or an excellent game," said Mackay later of his former teammate.[8] Both went on to become full Scotland internationals while playing for Hearts.

Mackay was given a regular place in the team in the 1954–55 season, with Freddie Glidden now playing at centre-half. Hearts won their first trophy since 1906, 48 years before, as they beat Motherwell 4–2 in the 1954 Scottish League Cup Final. This would be the first of seven trophies over nine seasons between 1954 and 1963. After signing Alex Young and Bobby Kirk, Walker's side proceeded to win the 1955–56 Scottish Cup.[9] They thrashed Rangers 4–0 in the quarter finals with goals from Crawford, Conn and a Bauld double.[10]

Mackay completed the set of Scottish domestic honours by winning the league championship in 1957–58. Jimmy Wardhaugh was the league's top goalscorer with 28, while Jimmy Murray and Alex Young also scored more than 20. Mackay was fourth in Hearts' league scoring charts, with 12. Hearts won that League title in 1957–58 with record-breaking points, goals scored and goal difference totals. Their record from 34 league games of 62 points out of a maximum possible 68 was 13 more than their nearest rival. They scored 132 goals (still the Scottish top tier record) with only 29 against for a record net difference of +103. Murray and Mackay both played for Scotland at the 1958 FIFA World Cup, where Murray scored in a 1–1 draw against Yugoslavia. Mackay played in only the third of Scotland's three games at the World Cup.

In the 1958–59 Scottish League Cup group stage Hearts eliminated Rangers. That October 1958 Scottish League Cup Final was won with a heavy 5–1 defeat of Partick Thistle. Bauld and Murray each scored two and Johnny Hamilton netted one. This was the fourth and last Hearts trophy for Mackay.

He had some injury issues in what was to be his last year at Hearts. From late March he missed the last five games of the 1957–58 successful league run in. He then missed the first five Hearts games at the start of the 1958–59 season, returning at the end of August. After 6 December he was then eight weeks out the team with the 13 December 1959 crucial 5–0 defeat away to Rangers the first game he missed[11] before returning on 4 February for the 3–1 Scottish Cup victory away at Queen of the South. Just over a month after he regained his place in the first team, Mackay again played Queen of the South this time in a 2–1 home league win on 7 March 1959.[12] The league game against QoS was Mackay's last for Hearts after they accepted a bid of £32,000 from Tottenham Hotspur for their captain. In Hearts' next game Mackay's vacated half back berth was taken by George Thomson, who moved from inside forward. Thomson's inside forward spot was given to debutant Bobby Rankin, who had been signed for £4,000 from Queen of the South two days before Mackay's last Hearts game.[13] Hearts spent £23,000 of the transfer on stadium improvements.[14]

Tottenham HotspurEdit

Tottenham Hotspur in 1960 with Danny Blanchflower (captain) and both goalkeepers, Bill Brown and John Hollowbread, in the team with Cecil Poynton as trainer and Bill Nicholson as manager. Dave Mackay is standing far right.

Aged 24, he was signed by Tottenham Hotspur for £32,000 in March 1959 making his debut on 21 March in a 3–1 home win against Manchester City.[15][16] During the 1960s his fierce determination and skill contributed to the team which won the Double in 1960–61. As double winners Spurs played in the 1961 FA Charity Shield against an FA XI which Spurs won 3–2. In that 1961 FA Cup Final they beat Leicester City 2–0. They retained the trophy when they won the 1962 FA Cup Final beating Burnley 3–1. This put them into a second successive Charity Shield. In that 1962 FA Charity Shield they beat Ipswich Town 5–1. This put Spurs into the 1962–63 Cup Winners' Cup.[17] However Mackay missed the 5–1 1963 European Cup Winners' Cup Final victory over the defending champions Atlético Madrid at De Kuip in Rotterdam due to injured stomach muscles.[18] Mackay had scored in the semi-final victory against OFK Beograd.

Spurs defended the Cup Winners' Cup the season after and were drawn to play the then FA Cup-holders, Manchester United, in the second round. Mackay scored the opener in the first leg 2–0 victory at White Hart Lane. On 10 December 1963 Mackay broke his left leg in a challenge with United's Noel Cantwell after eight minutes of the return tie at Old Trafford.[18] Without him his teammates lost 4–1 due to a double strike by Bobby Charlton in the last 13 minutes.[19] Mackay had just turned 29 the month before. The break was a serious one, and it took nine months before he attempted a comeback.[20] Playing for Tottenham's reserves at home to Shrewsbury Town on 12 September 1964, he broke the same bone a second time, this time in a challenge with Peter Dolby.[21][22] Mackay returned at the start of the 1965–66 season having missed a year and a half of first-team football.[21]

In 1966 Mackay was photographed by Daily Mirror photographer Monte Fresco in an on-pitch confrontation with Leeds United's Billy Bremner. Mackay's face contorted, he is seen grabbing Bremner's shirt. The image is seen as one of the most iconic in UK football although Mackay hated it as it portrayed him as a bully. Mackay stated he reacted in the manner he did since Bremner targeted Mackay's left leg (the one he had broken twice) even though this leg was furthest away from Bremner.[23]

Tottenham won the 1967 FA Cup Final beating Chelsea 2–1 for a third success in that tournament with Mackay.[24] In the subsequent Charity Shield, Spurs drew 3–3 with Manchester United in a match remembered for goalkeeper Pat Jennings scoring with a kick from his own penalty area.[25]

Mackay made 268 league appearances for Tottenham.[15][16] With Mackay Spurs won one league championship, three FA Cups, one European Cup Winners' Cup and two FA Charity Shields as well as the 1967 Charity Shield that they shared because of the draw. None of these trophies were won in the two seasons affected by Mackay's lengthy injury due to his leg break. Brian Clough claimed in 2003 that Mackay was Tottenham Hotspur's greatest ever player.[26]

Derby CountyEdit

Dave Mackay Memorial, Derby County FC, unveiled in 2015

Aged 33, at the start of the 1968–69 season he transferred to Derby County for £5,000. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor persuaded him to sign. In his first season at the Baseball Ground, in which the club gained promotion to the First Division, he was chosen FWA Footballer of the Year, jointly with Manchester City's Tony Book.[27] When he was a player at Derby County, Clough made Mackay play in a sweeping role and used his influence on the team to encourage them to turn defence into attack through a passing game. He left Derby in 1971, a year before they won the First Division title.

Swindon TownEdit

Aged 36, he joined Swindon Town in 1971 as player/manager where he stayed one season before he retired as a player and focused solely on management.[28]

International careerEdit

Aged 22, Mackay made his debut for Scotland on 26 May 1957 in a qualifying game for the 1958 World Cup, against Spain at the Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. Scotland qualified for the tournament in Sweden, with Mackay playing a single game, on 15 June 1958, against France; a 2–1 defeat at the Eyravallen Stadium in Örebro. He first captained his country in his third international, on 18 October 1958, in a 3–0 away win against Wales in the British Home Championships. The first four of his full caps were when he was with Hearts. The remainder were when he was with Tottenham. The first of his four international goals was in a friendly game at the Prater Stadium in Vienna on 29 May 1960 in a 3–1 away defeat to Austria.[29]

His 15th cap was the disastrous 9–3 defeat at Wembley to England in April 1961;.[30] Mackay then spent two years out of the side, with Jim Baxter and Pat Crerand usually being the preferred half back pairing. Mackay was recalled two years later in April 1963, again versus England at Wembley, but this time Scotland won 2–1. In his two years out the team Mackay missed the entire qualification campaign for the 1962 FIFA World Cup (Scotland were eliminated in a play off by the eventual tournament runners-up, Czechoslovakia). Mackay had been incumbent in the half back line for three straight games leading up to the game for Spurs in December 1963 in which he broke his leg.

He made 22 national appearances, his last coming on 2 October 1965, again in the British Home Championships, a 3–2 away defeat to Northern Ireland.[30] His last cap was the only one he collected after the leg break.[29]

Managerial careerEdit

In 1971 Mackay was appointed player-manager of Swindon Town but left after just one season to take charge of Nottingham Forest. He remained at the City Ground until October 1973, when he returned to Derby as manager following Clough's resignation. In his first season Derby finished third in the table. In his second season in charge of Derby, he guided the team to the 1974–75 league title.[17] The following season, he managed the club to a respectable fourth-place finish in the league, the semi-finals of the FA Cup,[27] and a second-round exit to Real Madrid in the 1975–76 European Cup. Having beaten them 4–1 in the first leg, a weakened Derby side were beaten 5–1 in the return leg.[31] At one stage the side had been in the running for the Double. Mackay was sacked in November 1976 after a poor start to the 1976–77 season.

Mackay then had a spell as Walsall manager from March 1977 to August 1978. This was followed by nine years coaching in Kuwait. He returned to the UK and was appointed manager of Doncaster Rovers in 1987,[26] a year after being linked with the Scotland manager's job (which ultimately went to Andy Roxburgh).[32] Mackay's reign at Belle Vue lasted until March 1989[33] before he moved to Birmingham City, who had just been relegated to the third tier of the league for the first time in their history. His task was simple – to get Birmingham promoted to the Second Division. But he was unsuccessful in trying to achieve this and resigned in 1991. After that, Mackay headed to Africa to manage Egyptian club Zamalek SC, a Cairo based football team, with which he won the Egyptian Premier League two times, in both the seasons he was manager.[33] He then spent a further three years in Qatar, managing the Qatar national football team, before retiring from football altogether in 1997.[26]


George Best (pictured) praised Mackay as both the hardest and bravest opponent he ever faced

In 2004 The Real Mackay was published, an autobiography written with Martin Knight.[34] Mackay had previously published Soccer My Spur in the early 1960s.[35]

Mackay was made an inaugural inductee of the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002 in recognition of his impact on the English game as both a player and manager,[16] Two years later, he was an inaugural inductee of the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.[36] In 2006, he also became an inaugural inductee of the Heart of Midlothian Hall of Fame in recognition of his success as a player in the 1950s. In 2013, Mackay was one of eleven British football stars chosen by Royal Mail to feature on a set of stamps marking the 150th anniversary of The Football Association.[37]

Mackay appears as a character in David Peace's novel The Damned Utd, a fictionalised account of Brian Clough's time as manager of Derby County and Leeds United. In the film adaptation of the book, The Damned United, Mackay is played by Brian McCardie. Mackay successfully took legal action against the makers of the film over its inaccurate portrayal of the events surrounding Clough's departure from Derby and Mackay's appointment.[38]

George Best (1946–2005), of Manchester United, one of Tottenham's fiercest rivals in the 1960s, described Mackay as "the hardest man I have ever played against – and certainly the bravest".[39]

Mackay died on 2 March 2015 at the age of 80.[40] Heart of Midlothian stated "It is with deep regret that we have to advise of the death of Dave Mackay who was possibly the most complete midfield player that Scotland has ever produced".[41] Tottenham wrote in an obituary "Dave Mackay will certainly always be remembered here as one of our greatest ever players and a man who never failed to inspire those around him. In short, a Spurs legend".[42] His coffin was brought into his funeral by John Robertson and Gordon Marshall (ex-Hearts), Pat Jennings and Cliff Jones (ex-Tottenham) and Roy McFarland and John McGovern (ex-Derby). A eulogy was given by Alex Ferguson.[43]

After his sacking at Derby County there was a cutting in Norman Stanley Fletcher's cell Mackay Sacked in Porridge which was a joke to Mr. Mackay.



Heart of Midlothian
Tottenham Hotspur
Derby County


Derby County
Zamalek SC
Al-Arabi SC

Career statisticsEdit

International appearancesEdit

As of 4 March 2019[29][30][47]
International statistics
National team Year Apps Goals
Scotland 1957 1 0
1958 3 0
1959 4 0
1960 6 1
1961 1 1
1963 6 2
1965 1 0
Total 22 4

International goalsEdit

As of 4 March 2019[29][30][47]
International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 29 May 1960 Prater Stadium, Vienna 10   Austria 1–4 1–4 Friendly match
2 15 April 1961 Wembley Stadium, London 15   England 1–3 3–9 1960–61 British Home Championship
3 7 November 1963 Hampden Park, Glasgow 20   Norway 4–1 6–1 Friendly match
4 7 November 1963 Hampden Park, Glasgow 20   Norway 5–1 6–1 Friendly match

Managerial recordEdit

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
P W D L Win %
Swindon Town 31 May 1971 1 November 1972 61 18 18 25 029.5
Nottingham Forest 2 November 1972 23 October 1973 44 13 14 17 029.5
Derby County 23 October 1973 25 November 1976 160 71 45 44 044.4
Walsall 9 March 1977 5 August 1978 72 30 27 15 041.7
Birmingham City 26 April 1989 23 January 1991 87 31 27 29 035.6
Total[48] 351 131 91 129 037.3

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Dave Mackay". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  2. ^ Scotland U23 player Mackay, Dave, FitbaStats
  3. ^ Scottish trial match at Easter Road, Glasgow Herald, 4 February 1958
  4. ^ The selectors still have problems, The Bulletin, 17 March 1959
  5. ^ Ronnie McDevitt (2016). Scotland in the 60s: The Definitive Account of the Scottish National Football Side During the 1960s. Pitch Publishing. ISBN 9781785312458.
  6. ^ "Dave Mackay, legendary Spurs and Derby defender and former Forest manager, dies at the age of 80". Nottingham Post. 3 March 2015. Archived from the original on 6 March 2015. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  7. ^ Ponting, Ivan (3 March 2015). "Dave Mackay: Dynamic footballer whose extraordinary will to win helped Tottenham to the League and FA Cup double". The Independent. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  8. ^ Murray, Ewan (16 December 2008). "Obituary: John Cumming". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  9. ^ British Pathé (13 April 2014). "Scottish F.A. Cup Final - Hearts Beat Celtic 3-1 (1956)" – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "1956-03-03 Sat Hearts 4 Rangers 0". londonhearts.com.
  11. ^ "1958-12-13 Sat Rangers 5 Hearts 0". londonhearts.com.
  12. ^ "Dave Mackay - Hearts Career - from 07 Nov 1953 to 07 Mar 1959". londonhearts.com.
  13. ^ "Bobby Rankin - Hearts Career - from 09 Mar 1959 to 03 Jun 1959". londonhearts.com.
  14. ^ "Heart of Midlothian - The history of Tynecastle Stadium". heartsfc.co.uk.
  15. ^ a b "Dave Mackay". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  16. ^ a b c "Dave Mackay — National Hall of Fame". nationalfootballmuseum.com. Archived from the original on 28 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Dave Mackay: Scotland and Tottenham legend dies aged 80". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  18. ^ a b Glanville, Brian; Welch, Julie (3 March 2015). "Dave Mackay obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, 10 December 1963". 11v11.com. AFS Enterprises. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  20. ^ Henderson, Jon (17 October 2004). "Softening Mackay still a tough tackler". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Obituary – Dave Mackay". Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  22. ^ Jones, Ken (16 September 1964). "'Don't tell Billy Nick', begged Mackay". Daily Mirror. London. As Mackay moved menacingly into an inside right position on the edge of the penalty area, Peter Dolby, Shrewsbury reserve centre half, swept in to challenge. In came the ball from the right wing. Mackay shaped to play it back... and suddenly he spun out of control, clutching his left leg. ... Spurs players told me afterwards: 'He just sat there holding his leg saying: "It's gone again. It's gone again!"'
  23. ^ "Why Dave Mackay hated the picture of him confronting Billy Bremner". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  24. ^ "SPURS MEMORABILIA - 1967 FA Cup Final". spursmemorabilia.co.uk.
  25. ^ "The FA Community Shield history". The Football Association. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  26. ^ a b c d Snow, Mat (1 May 2009). "Dave Mackay: One-on-One". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  27. ^ a b c d "Derby County is saddened to learn that former Rams player and manager Dave Mackay has passed away at the age of 80". Derby County F.C. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  28. ^ "BBC Local Live: Derbyshire". BBC News. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  29. ^ a b c d Dave Mackay at the Scottish Football Association
  30. ^ a b c d Brown, Alan; Tossani, Gabriele (12 April 2018). "Scotland – International Matches 1961–1965". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  31. ^ "The forgotten story of ... Derby's second league title". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  32. ^ "Fergie steps down. The other contenders". Evening Times. 16 June 1986. Retrieved 2 March 2015.
  33. ^ a b c Ken Ferris (1 March 2013). The Double: The Inside Story of Spurs' Triumphant 1960-61 Season. Mainstream Publishing. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-78057-803-3.
  34. ^ The Real Mackay: The Dave Mackay Story. ASIN 1845960432.
  35. ^ "Soccer My Spur". Amazon UK. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  36. ^ "Dave MacKay". Scottish Football Hall of Fame. The Scottish Football Museum. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  37. ^ "Royal Mail's best of British football stamps for FA's 150th anniversary: in pictures". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  38. ^ McGivern, Mark (25 March 2010). "Football legend Dave Mackay wins legal action over portrayal in movie The Damned United". Daily Record. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  39. ^ "The Times & The Sunday Times".
  40. ^ "Dave Mackay of Scotland, Hearts, Tottenham and Derby, dies aged 80". The Guardian. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  41. ^ "DAVE MACKAY: 1934 – 2015". Heart of Midlothian F.C. 3 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  42. ^ "DAVE MACKAY". Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  44. ^ "Hearts realise a dream of half a century". The Scotsman. 23 April 1956. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  45. ^ "First major trophy win for 48 years". The Scotsman. 25 October 1954. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  46. ^ "Most accomplished team in Scotland – Hearts' win a formality". The Scotsman. 27 October 1958. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  47. ^ a b Brown, Alan; Tossani, Gabriele (13 December 2018). "Scotland - International Matches 1956-1960". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  48. ^ "Dave Mackay's managerial career". Racing Post. Retrieved 3 March 2015.

External linksEdit