Aug 19 2010 By Lizzie Struthers
RUGBY Park’s west stand will be renamed in honour of Killie legend Frank Beattie this Sunday.
He is the only player in the long and proud history of Kilmarnock FC to have led the club to a Scottish League Championship – in 1965.
The former Killie captain sadly died in November last year, aged 76.
Kilmarnock FC will pay tribute to him with a special renaming ceremony of the west stand at the club’s first home game of the season against Motherwell.
Frank’s family and fellow teammates of 1965 will be attending the historic day.
Frank Whitfield Beattie was a gentle giant, a six-footer who gave 19 years of service to Kilmarnock and the first player to have more than 600 first-team games for the club.
Born in Stirling, he was signed by the then manager, Malky McDonald, from Bonnybridge Juniors in 1953.
Frank’s early appearances for Killie were as an inside forward, making his debut against St Mirren in a League Cup tie on September 4, 1954.
But it was some five years later, after Willie Waddell succeeded Malky McDonald, that Frank found his true position as a half-back.
That switch was the catalyst for Frank’s career, and it was no coincidence that Kilmarnock FC went on to enjoy the best period in its history over the next few years.
He was a central figure in the League Cup final at Hampden in season 1962-63, referee ‘Tiny’ Wharton adjudging that Frank had handled the ball into the net rather than head it, to deny the Ayrshire side an equaliser against Hearts, who went on to win the game 1-0.
But in 1965 Frank, the Killie players and supporters had reason to celebrate when they beat Hearts 2-0 at Tynecastle to win the First Division Championship.
He led his team into the European Cup, eventually losing to Real Madrid over two legs, and in season 1966-67, under his captaincy, reached the semi-finals of the Fairs Cup where they were beaten by Leeds United.
In 1971 he was awarded a testimonial in recognition of his long service to the club, and although Celtic beat Killie 7-2, the match was memorable for the fact that a youngster by the name of Kenny Dalglish scored SIX goals for the Glasgow side.
Frank’s last game at Rugby Park was on August 28, 1971, and his final appearance for the club was at Motherwell a few weeks later.