64 days to go: Jimmy Mackay’s FIFA World Cup story

As part of our countdown to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, we are profiling every Australian player who's been to a World Cup.

Today we’re up to number eight in our countdown with the late and great Jimmy Mackay, a midfielder for Australia at the 1974 World Cup.

Full Countdown List: Every Socceroo to play at a FIFA World Cup

Cap number: 213

World Cups played at: 1974

Position: Midfielder

Age at World Cup: 30 (passes away in 1998 aged 54)

Clubs played for:

Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic, Airdrie, Melbourne Croatia, Hakoah Eastern Suburbs, South Melbourne Hellas, South Melbourne, Shepparton United

Best World Cup moment:

Mackay played in all three matches for the Socceroos in the tournament, including the final clash against Chile where the side recorded their first point in a 0-0 draw.

And coming up against the great West German Franz Beckenbauer earlier in the tournament, Mackay received a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on the ‘Kaiser’ but received a huge cheer from the crowd, who disliked Beckenbauer as he played for Hamburg’s great rivals Bayern Munich.

Career highlight:

Mackay is best known as the man who scored the goal which booked the Socceroos spot at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.

In a clash with South Korea on November 13 of 1973, it was Mackay’s incredible strike from 30-metres out with 20 minutes left which handed the Socceroos a 1-0 win.

It was enough to send Rale Rasic’s trailblazers to Germany to be among the world’s best at the ‘74 tournament.

 Defender Doug Utjesenovic said, "that was one of the freakiest goals. You could try a million times to score the exact goal (and never do it). There was a free kick, the ball was knocked back and he ran onto the ball. It was a real thunderbolt."

Post-playing career:

After retiring in 1977, Mackay tried his hand at a comeback with Shepparton United a couple of years later but it was very short-lived.

He sadly passed away of a heart attack in 1998.

Did you know?

After playing in the Scottish first division with Airdie, Mackay arrived in Australia in 1965 for a working holiday and ended up staying for good, signing with Melbourne Croatia soon after and winning numerous honours.

*Photographs from the Les Shorrock, Laurie Schwab and Anton Cermak collections are used with permission from Deakin University Library, Eileen Shorrock and Mrs Jana Cermak.