2023 Killie Hall of Fame Inductee
2023 Killie Hall of Fame Inductee
George Maxwell had one of his school pupils – Gordon Smith – as a team- mate during his early days and then later coached Boyd. Not only is he the highest- scoring defender in the club’s history, he was also crowned the “Man with hardest shot in Scotland”. Killie fans knew all about George’s rocket shot but it was made official in 1981. He recalled: “There was a contest held at Firhill to find the hardest shot in football. “All 10 Premier Division teams sent a representative. Two keepers, Dundee United’s Hamish Mcalpine and Billy Thomson of St Mirren, took part. “Representatives from Glasgow University set up two laser beams and we had to hit a penalty without a goalie between the post. “I recorded 77.13 mph, and that just beat my former team-mate Iain Jardine. “I was given quite a big trophy, and it’s now somewhere in a cabinet at Rugby Park. “I just seemed to have this knack of being able to hit the ball sweetly. “One of my favourite goals was against Motherwell when I struck it from way out and the ball didn’t move more than six inches off the ground. I could see my team- mates thinking, ‘ What is he doing?’. “My goals total was helped by being the penalty taker. They weren’t blasted, but placed inside the post at the keeper’s left hand.” George played his first game for Kilmarnock on New Year’s Day, 1970. That game against St Mirren was followed by a trip to play Dinamo Bacau in the Fairs Cup. He recalled: “It was quite an experience. We flew to Bucharest on a chartered plane and then transferred to a Russian aircraft to get to Bacau. “Fog meant we had to make the return trip to Bucharest by bus. That showed us a fair bit of Romania. It was quite a place.” George joined Kilmarnock from school and then combined football with life as a PE teacher. That led to him being in the same side as one of his pupils. He went on: “I was at Liverpool for a week before Walter McCrae signed me for Kilmarnock, just a couple of years after the club had been League Champions. “Gordon Smith made his first- team breakthrough in 1972, and I was his teacher at Auchenharvie Academy in Stevenston. “I realised it could be an awkward situation.
So I told him I didn’t want him to call me ‘Sir’. “We agreed that he would try to avoid approaching me or talking to me during classes. “The last thing I wanted to do was embarrass him. But it was an arrangement that worked well and he went on to have a great career. “Many years later, I had Kris Boyd as a pupil at the school where I was working. “I know some critics used to say he could be lazy, but I always found him really hard-working and it was clear he had an eye for goal. “He never let missing a chance discourage him and it’s great to see him still scoring. “I played during what were referred to as the ‘ Yo- yo Years’ for Killie, and I think the club belongs up where it was when I first signed.” George would love to see Killie reach the Scottish Cup Final this season.
He said: “I felt we should have won the League Cup semi-final against Dundee in 1973. “A Tommy Gemmell goal beat us on an icy pitch with only half the lights on at Hampden.” George had brief spells with Queen of the South and Stranraer after leaving Kilmarnock. He spent 43 years as a teacher and eventually became a deputy head.
May 14th 2023 George "Sam" Maxwell is "inducted" into Killie's Hall of Fame: Maxwell signed professional forms on a part-time basis as an 18-year-old following a successful trial for the club, after being discovered while playing for Irvine Royal Academy and Kilmarnock Amateurs.
During his first couple of years, Maxwell represented the reserve team while studying to be a P.E teacher before making his league debut in a draw against St Mirren on New Year’s Day in 1970.
Over the next decade, he became a first-team regular and fans’ favourite due to his consistent form across both the defence and midfield, in addition to being a potent threat in front of goal. Indeed, he holds the club record for the most penalties scored in competitive games – a total of 31 of his 65 goals came from the spot, with many others coming from free-kicks and long-range shots.
Maxwell was part of the promotion-winning squads of 1974, 1976 and 1979, alongside being a four-time Ayrshire Cup winner. He was also part of the successful Tennent- Caledonian Cup campaign in 1979, in which he hit the last-minute equalising penalty and subsequently the winning penalty in the shoot-out at Ibrox.
In 1981, Maxwell famously won the Champion Hot-Shot Trophy following a competition held to discover the player with the fastest shot in the top-flight, with his winning effort recorded at 77.13 mph.
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