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Shuggie, Shuggie swing on the bar!

28 Jun 2012 14:27:03

Shuggie, Shuggie swing on the bar!

Hugh Sproat joined Motherwell 33 years ago today and for the next five seasons we were treated to some wonderful entertainment - and some fine goalkeeping.

Shuggie replaced the long serving Stuart Rennie when manager Ally MacLeod decided that we needed a full-time 'keeper.  The flamboyant custodian had been under MacLeod's charge when he was at Ayr United and the new man did not take long to stamp his own mark between the sticks at Fir Park.

Hugh Sproat - joined Motherwell 28 June 1979

There were several characteristics that shaped his relationship with Motherwell fans - apart from his trademark moustache.  He was a fine shot stopper and no shrinking violet when cutting out high balls but his quick reactions and speed on foot caused him to make many wandering forays far from the security of his eighteen yard box.  He also had an alarming tendency to head the ball clear instead of making a routing catch.

He responded to the famous 'Shuggie, Shuggie swing on the bar' chorus and, while play was active, the fans were able to cheer their hero as he did their bidding.  Banter with the fans came naturally to him.  His eccentric style even reached to his choice of jersey; he would wear green against Rangers and blue when facing Celtic!

He was a vital part of the team that won the First Division championship in 1981/2.  In that season, under Hay's management, we were unbeaten at home in the league and conceded 36 while 92 were banged in at the other end.

He was the Motherwell player of the season in 1980 emulating Rennie's awards in 1977 and 1979.  he made 146 appearances in claret and amber.

He returned to Ayr in 1984 and played for a couple of seasons before retiring from the game at the age of 34.


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