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Tommy Walker dies at 77

TOMMY Walker, OBE, one of Scotland's great footballers of the thirties who went on to become Heart of Midlothian's most successful manager, died yesterday in St Columba's Hospice, Edinburgh. He was 77.

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He served Hearts for more than 50 years as a player, manager, director and vice-chairman.

He joined the club in 1932 as a 17-year-old member of the ground staff, yet rapidly made his mark to win the first of his 20 caps for Scotland only three years later.

His most famous goal was probably his penalty for Scotland against England in the 1-1 draw at Wembley in 1936. He refused to be unnerved when the ball was blown from the spot three times, after which he placed it in a rugby-style hole and scored.

The talented inside right eventually signed for Chelsea, but he returned to his beloved Hearts for a second even more successful career as manager, leading the club to their only two championship flags this century. During his managerial reign from 1951 to 1966, the club also won the Scottish Cup once and the League Cup four times.

This was the era of the three famous Hearts forwards, Willie Bauld, Alfie Conn, and Jimmy Wardhaugh, known as the ''Terrible Trio''. Tommy Walker once said that the trio gave himself and the supporters an unbelievable amount of joy and satisfaction.

Even when his career as manager was over he continued to serve Hearts as a director and then vice-chairman before resigning at the age of 65.

He is survived by a daughter and a son.

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