Bobby Wishart is quite simply a legend of Dundee Football club as one of the members of the 1961/62 Scottish League Championship winning side. As one of only fifteen players who picked up a league winning medal, Bobby holds a very special place in Dark Blue history.
A product of the rugby-playing George Heriot’s school in Edinburgh, Bobby signed for Aberdeen from Merchiston Thistle in 1952. Initially an inside left, Bobby became a vital part of The Dons side who the Scottish League Championship in 1955 and was part of the team that won the League Cup the following October. The success he enjoyed at Aberdeen was in no small way due to the link up he enjoyed with Paddy Buckley and Benny Yorston as the Dons found a potent blend in the fifties and he was capped at Under-23 level and with the Scottish League while at Pittodrie.
Signed by manager Bob Shankly from Aberdeen for a fee of £3500 in January 1961, Bobby went on to make 108 appearances, scoring fourteen goals for the Club until he left for Airdrie in 1964. At Dundee he moved to a position where his expertise would be invaluable and would become a cultured left half as a member of the quality Dundee half back line of Bobby Seith, Ian Ure and himself.
Along with Bobby Seith and Gordon Smith, Shankly signed Wishart to provide some experience alongside youngsters such as Gilzean, Ure and Penman who had forced their way into the team and the blend was just about perfect as Dundee would go on to win the Scottish League and then reach the European Cup semi final the following year.
Of Bobby’s fourteen goals for the Club, the majority of them came remarkably in important and high profile matches and he started this immediately by endearing himself straight away to the Dark Blue faithful by scoring two goals in a 3-0 victory over Dundee United on his debut.
Bobby kicked off the Championship year in style by scoring the Club’s first goal of the season in a League Cup tie at home to Airdrieonians on the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ and also scored the third in the opening League match in a 3-1 win against Falkirk at Brockville.
Wishart also scored in the famous 5-4 win over Raith Rovers in November 1961, when Dundee were 4-2 down with twenty minutes to go when he scored the comeback goal to make it 4-3 and in fact scored seven, half of his Dundee goals, in the title winning year.
His most famous goal for the Club was perhaps in Dundee’s first ever European tie in the incredible 8-1 win at Dens against Cologne in the European Cup. Bobby scored the second goal after only eleven minutes which was described by Craig Brown as ‘the most incredible goal I have ever seen’.
From the edge of the box, Bobby miscued the ball, and as it trundled away, a huge divot went in the opposite direction. The German goalkeeper Fritz Ewart dived across his goal to save the divot, while the ball crept into the net at the opposite side to leave Dens Park stunned for a second as they tried to comprehend what they had just witnessed. You can hear a brief silence on Kenneth Wolstenholme’s BBC Radio commentary of the match!
Wishart played thirty-seven times in the Championship season, twenty-nine of which were in the league and in the European season, played forty-seven times, scoring three goals.
In the Champions Cup campaign, Bobby was an ever present, playing in both legs of every tie against Cologne, Sporting Lisbon, Anderlecht and A.C. Milan and that ‘fluke’ against Cologne was his only goal on the run to the semi final.
Playing in the European Cup, gave Bobby a chance to finally play in Europe’s premier club competition having been denied his chance to play in the inaugural tournament in 1955 after The Dons had won the league. Instead of sending the reigning Scottish Champions in what was effectively a tournament by invitation, the S.F.A. in their wisdom decided to send Hibernian and while the other competing associations sent their League winners, the Scottish F.A., who just happened to have the Hibs Chairman Harry Swan as their president, sent the Edinburgh side instead.
It is a decision that still rankles in the North-East today but for Bobby Wishart, his experiences with Dundee more than made up for that disappointment.
Bobby’s last game for Dundee came in a 2-1 defeat at Ibrox in December 1963 and having failed to make another appearance that season, therefore missing out on playing in the Scottish Cup Final in 1964, he was allowed the leave on a free transfer in August 1964 and join Airdrie.
In the official Dundee F.C. history video released in 2000, Craig Brown points out that Dundee’s alarming winter slump in 1962, which almost cost Dundee the league, was by no means a coincidence of the same period that Bobby Wishart was out injured and describes Bobby as ‘a brain in midfield and an excellent passer of the ball.’
While history quite rightly often points to Gordon Smith’s fantastic achievement of winning the Scottish League with three different clubs out with the Old Firm, Bobby Wishart wasn’t that far behind by winning two with Aberdeen and Dundee and will remain forever part of the folklore of the legendary side that became Champions of Scotland and Princes of Europe.
Honours at Dundee:
Scottish League Champions: 1961/62
European Cup semi-final: 1962/63
League: 76, 11 goals
Scottish Cup: 7, 1 goal
League Cup: 12, 1 goal
Europe: 8, 1 goal
Totals: 108, 14 goals .