Motherwell FC is today saddened to learn of the passing of former manager Roger Hynd, aged 75.
Roger, the nephew of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly, had a fine playing career, most notably for Rangers with whom he had played in a European Final, and Birmingham City in the English top flight.
He arrived at Fir Park in 1977 following a spell in which John Hagart had acted as caretaker following Willie McLean’s departure.
The traditional new manager “bounce” was certainly visible. His first seven games in charge saw five wins against Partick Thistle, Celtic, St. Mirren, Ayr United and Arboath, with two draws, against Dundee United and Aberdeen, with the loss of a solitary goal at Tannadice.
This form had brought a new found belief to Fir Park as the Champions elect Rangers came to North Lanarkshire in February 1978. The atmosphere generated by the 20,000 crowd had the old stadium crackling with anticipation as the Steelmen and Light Blues took to the field.
Within minutes the ‘Well fans were in dreamland as the hosts raced into a two goal lead through strikes from Jimmy O’Rourke and Vic Davidson.
As the teams settled to restart the game, there appeared to be an “exchange” between Home defender, Willie McVie and a section of Rangers fans. Within seconds, thousands of visiting fans invaded were on the pitch, leaving the referee with no option but to take the players back to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms.
Around half an hour had passed before order was restored, allowing Rangers to finally kick off again. The break had allowed the then Rangers boss, Jock Wallace, to settle and rearrange things from Motherwell’s whirlwind start, and the visitors clicked into gear, eventually running out 5-3 winners in a truly titanic struggle.
The final four league games of 1977/78 season saw four defeats, all without troubling the opposing goalkeeper. And whilst everybody else in the country was settling down that summer to watch Scotland having a crack at winning the World Cup in Argentina, Roger was hatching a plan to make the his first full season in charge at Fir Park an improvement on the sixth place finish the club had just earned.
And he appeared to have bought shrewdly that close season with ‘keeper, Dave Latchford, defender Alan Mackin and strikers John Clifford and Mike Larnach all arriving from Birmingham City, Queen’s Park, Celtic and Newcastle United respectively.
The first game of the new campaign would see West Bromwich Albion at Fir Park for Joe Wark’s Testimonial, only the second such game sanctioned by the club after Charlie Aitken’s, twenty-one years earlier. It’s fair to say Motherwell with, Roger’s new recruits involved, couldn’t cope with winger Laurie Cunningham, who’d go on to star for Real Madrid, as the English aces romped to an 8-1 win.
The start to the season wasn’t favourable though and after just a few months, Hynd had handed in his resignation. That ended his association with professional football and he spent a significant part of his career away from the game in teaching.
Although history won’t necessarily recall Hynd’s time in North Lanarkshire as a roaring success, his 14 wins, 19 defeats and only 3 draws, is not a record to be ashamed of whatsoever.
Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to express our sincere condolences to Roger’s wife Jane, along with the entire Hynd family at this very sad time.