Killie Trust

Ronnie Hamilton

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Only one player in Kilmarnock FC's 150-year history has been the top scorer for the league champions...Ronnie Hamilton.

Still the club's youngest-ever player, Ronnie talks about the special night in 1964 when Killie were five goals ahead against Celtic. The 5-2 victory set a marker for the Ayrshire men, on route to the club's sole league title.

As player, European goalscorer, title-winner, coach, board member, Chairman, Hall of Fame inductee and supporter, Ronnie Hamilton's service to Kilmarnock can be counted in decades.



Ronnie Hamilton's Kilmarnock appearance record

League: 60 games (38 goals)

Scottish Cup: 5 games (1 goal)

League Cup: 9 games (4 goals)

Europe: 6 games (2 goals)

Total: 80 games (45 goals)


Other games

Summer Cup: 7 games (9 goals)

New York Tournament: 5 games (1 goal)

Friendlies: 1

Total: 13 games (10 goals)

Capped at Amateur level with Scotland on 17th February 1962 v. Ireland (0-0 at Brockville Park, Falkirk)

Capped at U 23 level with Scotland on 2nd December 1964 v. Wales (3-0 at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock)                                                                       

Ronnie Hamilton was signed in 1961 from Saxone Y.C., whilst still a pupil at Kilmarnock Academy. He played his first trial game for the reserves in a Scottish Reserve League Cup Sectional tie on Wednesday 30th August 1961 against Hearts and another game as a trialist in the Reserve League Cup on Saturday 2nd September versus Raith Rovers. He was signed (as an amateur) in the week after this second game.

Ronnie’s first reserve league appearance as a signed player was on Saturday 9th September against Airdrieonians, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory.   

A week later, on Saturday, 16th September 1961, Ronnie made his first team debut at the age of 16 years, 50 days – the youngest ever player for the club in a League game, and the youngest known in any of the major domestic competitions. The game against St. Mirren at Rugby Park was played on a sunny but very furiously windy day, and watched by a crowd of 11,492. The strong gale acted to Killie’s advantage in the first half, and they led 3-0. However, it was to Saints advantage after the interval, but Kilmarnock managed to get a goal against the wind in between Saints second and third goals, and they hung on to win 4-3, with Ronnie scoring twice (first and last) and Brien McIlroy and Ian Davidson also scoring. Ronnie went on to play in just another three first team League games that season, scoring once, which meant he made a total of 4 League appearances, scoring 3 goals.

Ronnie made 11 League appearances and scored 6 goals in 1962-63; made 4 League appearances and scored 5 goals (1 a penalty) in 1963-64, before his best ever season: top scorer when Kilmarnock won the title in 1964-65, making 28 appearances and scoring 15 goals. He was on course for an even better season in 1965-66, as he had made 13 League appearances and scored 9 goals. His last appearance and goal came against St. Johnstone on Christmas Day 1965 in a 3-1 home win.

Ronnie's only league hat-trick was against St. Johnstone in a 4-1 home win on 18th April 1964, Jackie McInally being the other scorer, and one of Ronnie’s 3 goals being a penalty.

His 2 goals in European ties were in the Fairs Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt at Rugby Park in September 1964, scoring the first and last in the famous 5-1 win. He did not play in the first leg as he was sitting accountancy exams, but he played in both games against Everton in the next round. In the European Cup in 1965-66 season, he missed the first leg against Nandori ’17, but played in the 1-0 win at home and also played in both legs against Real Madrid. 

Ronnie also played in 2 of the 10 games played by the Kilmarnock Reserves when they won the Reserve League Cup in 1964-65, and he received a winning medal for that as well as the first team League winners medal. He played in the Semi-Final 2nd leg against Hibernian at Rugby Park on 12th April 1965, which Kilmarnock won 2-1 to go through on a 3-2 aggregate, and he also played in the 2nd leg of the Final against Dundee United at Rugby Park on 29th April 1965. Kilmarnock were 1-0 down from the 1st leg played 2 days earlier, but before a crowd of 3,653, Tommy McLean levelled the aggregate in the 11th minute, and Ronnie scored the winner in the 77th minute to earn Killie a 2-0 win on the night. They lifted the Cup on a 2-1 aggregate.                                                                                                                                            

He made all his 5 appearances in the New York Tournament in 1965, scoring in a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion (Bertie Black got the other goal).

The only friendly he played in was the famous 4-3 win at Rugby Park against Russian club Moscow Torpedo on Tuesday, 4th December 1962. 

In mid-January 1966, Ronnie was transferred by Malcolm MacDonald as part of a deal that included £4,000 as well as Ronnie going to St. Mirren and Gerry Queen coming to Kilmarnock. He remained with St. Mirren until during the 1970-71 season, when he moved to Queen of the South, where he stayed until the summer of 1975. He returned to Kilmarnock as a player-coach, playing mainly in the reserves. He was an unused substitute for the first team in a Scottish Cup Quarter-Final tie on 6th March 1976 at Dumbarton.

In the mid-1980’s, Ronnie eventually became a member of the Kilmarnock board of directors, but resigned, before returning to the board in 1990 as part of the new directorate formed by the Fleeting take-over. He went on to become chairman, a position he held when the Scottish Cup was won in 1997.

(Statistics and profile courtesy of John Livingston, Kilmarnock FC Historian)

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