Former Aberdeen manager Eddie Turnbull has passed away at the age of 88.

He passed away peaceful on Saturday afternoon.

Eddie was manager of Aberdeen between 1965 and 1971, during which time he transformed the club. He won the first silverware in almost 25 years when the Dons famously beat Celtic 3-1 at Hampden in 1970 to win the Scottish Cup. The following season the Dons came agonisingly close to winning the League Championship. Craig with Eddie at Hampden last year

Eddie was a hugely influential figure in AFCs history and he laid the foundations for much of the success that the club was to enjoy in the following years.

Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Current Aberdeen manager Craig Brown this evening paid tribute to Eddie Turnbull.

"I shared hours in Eddie's company. And it was a great pleasure to be in his company because he spoke football better than anyone at that time.

"I first met Eddie on the coaching staff at Largs when he was the top coach in the country at the time. He was hugely respected by everyone. All the coaches from my era worked with him. Archie, Walter Smith, Sir Alex Ferguson, Jim McLean, myself.

"Everyone who attended those courses used to hang on his every word because he was so knowledgeable. It was a joy to watch him at work.

"I cannot praise him highly enough as a coach and as a manager.

"It is a very sad passing for his family and Scottish football."

RedWeb will have more tributes over the weekend.  


AFC Historian Kevin Stirling looks back at Eddie's time at Pittodrie.  

It is always a sad occasion when a club legend is no longer with us. Having personally met Eddie Turnbull in his later years on several occasions, his passing is all the more sad. Having got to know several former Dons from that great side that Eddie Turnbull put together in 1970 and knowing how much respect and admiration they had for Eddie, perhaps gives an indication of how respected he really was.

Eddie Turnbull, perhaps more than most played a huge part in the development of Aberdeen FC in the modern era. After arriving in 1965 when Aberdeen were in the midst of the most mediocre spell in their history, Turnbull immediately set about a revolution...

February 1965 was a significant month in the history of Aberdeen.

Eddie Turnbull The Dons had just been knocked out of the Scottish Cup by lowly East Fife, ending a disastrous spell for the club that had been Scottish champions ten years earlier. Crowds had dwindled and the Dons had slipped into rapid decline. The cup result only hastened the departure of Tommy Pearson. It was only when the Aberdeen board turned to former Hibernian player Eddie Turnbull that the club fortunes would change. Turnbull had already marked the Dons card when he took his part time Queens Park to Pittodrie on Scottish Cup duty a year earlier and almost caused a sensation by holding the Dons to a draw at Pittodrie before going out narrowly in the replay at Hampden.

Eddie Turnbull was a young coach and had a burning desire to make a name for himself as a manager after a successful playing career. Nevertheless his appointment was viewed as a surprise—he had no Aberdeen connection and he was certainly unproven as a manger.

Born in Falkirk on 12th April 1923, Turnbull began his playing career with Grangemouth before joining Hibernian after the Second World War. It was at Easter Road that Eddie Turnbull was to find fame as a player. He was an integral part of the 'Famous Five' Hibernian forward line that won three league championships in the 50's. He won the first of his 8 Scotland caps against Belgium in 1948 in an international career that spanned 10 years.

After retiring from playing in 1959 Turnbull remained at Easter Road as trainer. It was in March 1963 that he cut his ties with Hibernian and took the first steps in to coaching when he was appointed coach with Queens Park. It was his new approach to coaching and tactical awareness that attracted Aberdeen's interest and Eddie Turnbull joined Aberdeen as manager in February 1965. His hard line approach was felt almost immediately as he wasted no time in making changes. After assessing the squad it soon became clear that there was going to be changes made but nobody could have predicted the cull that followed. By the end of the season Turnbull announced that 17 players would be freed.

The axe did not stop there as only Bobby Calder was retained to head up the scouting which was also radically overhauled by Turnbull. A new and almost revolutionary training schedule was introduced as Aberdeen were hauled in to a new era under the tough taskmaster. Turnbull had to move quick to strengthen the squad and one of the first players he fixed up was promising keeper Bobby Clark from his old club Queens Park. His new network of scouts also helped to bring in the likes of Tom McMillan, Jim Whyte, Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Wilson.

Evidence of better days were evident in his first full season as progress was made on all fronts. Relegation was never going to be in the Turnbull vocabulary and after years of embarrassing cup exits the Dons reached the semi final only to go down to Rangers at Hampden. It was significant that the crowds came back in numbers and the seeds of recovery were sown. By 1967 the Dons reached their first Scottish Cup Final since 1959 only to be robbed of their manager who was forced to stay back in the club hotel on the eve of the final against Celtic. On their way to the final Aberdeen defeated Hibernian 3-0 in a quarter final replay before an incredible 44,000 at Pittodrie.

It soon became clear that Turnbull had a keen eye in the transfer market bringing in players for little or no transfer fees and bringing out the best in them. The scouting network continued to flourish as the likes of Martin Buchan and Tommy Craig were brought in. Turnbull's side was beginning to take shape. However by the end of season 1968.69 it became clear that all was not well. Certainly Aberdeen were playing with a fluency that was at times a joy to watch, but to succeed they needed more and Turnbull was acutely aware of that. It was in the summer of 1969 that Eddie Turnbull took a huge gamble.

The Aberdeen support was stunned to learn of the sale of both Tommy Craig and Jimmy Smith. Craig became the first £100,000 teenager while Smith's precocious talents were to grace Newcastle for an £80,000 fee. While it was huge transfer fees at that time Turnbull remained undaunted as he embarked on a completely new approach. While some may have suggested that skill was sacrificed, the Dons boss thought that his side had a soft centre and that issue had to be addressed if any success was to be forthcoming. Eddie Turnbull

While Craig and Smith were both rare talents, their skills were perhaps not best suited for the rigours of the Scottish League. The time was right for a more methodical approach and by season 1969.70 there was no doubt that the side was going through a transitional phase. It was without doubt the most crucial phase of his spell with Aberdeen.

His initial approach was to build a defence that was as solid as the city granite. Over the next two seasons Turnbull honed the Aberdeen rearguard in to a formidable force and one that was to become the meanest in the country. By the turn of the year Aberdeen had made no great strides in the league but the big breakthrough was to come in the Scottish Cup. Aberdeen flattered to deceive on their way to Hampden—cruising past Clyde in the opening round was followed by a real struggle against Second Division Clydebank. Turnbull made Martin Buchan the youngest Aberdeen captain and from that point on the Dons went on to the final against Celtic with a determination that few outside of Pittodrie had appreciated.

The Dons went in to the final as a rank outside bet but the confidence that the Aberdeen players had that day belied those odds. Aberdeen went on to win 3-1 against a Celtic side on the threshold of a second appearance in the European Cup Final. It was on the back of a resolute defence that paved the way for the Dons success and with Derek McKay and Joe Harper scoring the goals that took the cup north for only the second time in the clubs history, Turnbull's place in Pittodrie folklore was assured.

The following season Aberdeen under Eddie Turnbull came agonisingly close to winning the league as they slipped up in the closing weeks. The ethic that Turnbull had brought to Aberdeen was the envy of many; built on a resolute defence and a well-drilled team playing as a unit, with lightning quick front players. It was an ideal mix for domestic and European success.

It can only be imagined just how far the Aberdeen side of 1970 would have progressed in Europe had they not become the first team to go out in a penalty shoot out against Honved in Hungary.

It was in the summer of 1971 that Eddie Turnbull was enticed back to Hibernian to take over as manager at Easter Road and his tenure at Aberdeen came to a close. For a generation of Aberdeen supporters Eddie Turnbull was always welcomed back to the north while his roots were always at his beloved Easter Road.

A true legend in every sense, Eddie Turnbull will be a huge loss to Scottish football.


Eddie Turnbull - The complete AFC Record:

P
W
D
L
F
A
League
213
99
42
72
385
278
Scottish Cup
29
18
6
5
60
21
League Cup
42
18
11
13
67
66
Europe
10
6
1
3
24
12
Total
294
141
60
93
536
377


Eddie Turnbull