Time Tunnel - The Kemp Brothers
In the Tunnel this week are the Kemp brothers Jimmy and Bobby Kemp.
Both played for Montrose in the early 1960’s often forming a left wing partnership at numbers 10 and 11. Jimmy signed for Montrose late in 1959 and was a shrewd acquisition by the new and now legendary Manager Norman Christie. Jimmy Kemp was a goal machine and his positional sense was unbelievable. If videos were in fashion in those days present day forwards could learn a great deal from Jimmy. He had a proactive knack of getting across and in front of his marker at the last second as a cross came in.
If Jimmy was the better known of the two brothers because of his goal scoring feats then Bobby was not far behind and in my eyes at least was every bit as valuable to the team. His pace and crossing ability laid on many goals and he also chipped in with plenty of his own. Both brothers were regulars in the starting eleven usually along with other regulars such as Phil Grieve in goal, Willie Nicoll at centre half, Ronnie Cross at wing half with Frank Sandeman up front and Ally Riddle on the right wing. That was the backbone of the regular team with others such as Russell, Ogilvie, McCorquodale and Dunn alongside. In fact that eleven were the starting line up when goals from both Kemp brothers against Albion Rovers set up a cup tie with Celtic at Parkhead in February 1961. The excitement in the town before that game was tremendous as Montrose were doing well in the league and at the time were top having won the previous four games in a row. Could there be an upset at Parkhead? The Montrose Standard thought so, the Glasgow Herald did not and the latter was correct. The Celts had done their homework and put out a very strong team on a very wet, heavy pitch. Their stamina and pace put them four goals up inside half an hour and it was damage limitation for the Mo after that. In the second half however although Celtic claimed another two goals through clinical finishing, Montrose did have their chances with both Kemp brothers going close and Frank Sandeman having a snap shot cleared off the line. That 0-6 defeat hit Montrose hard and certainly affected their league form as they lost their next three games and in all lost seven of their last ten games when promotion before that Celtic game looked odds on. A seventh placed finish was disappointing but at least the bank balance had been strengthened by the huge Parkhead crowd. I might be wrong but if memory serves me correctly the crowd was around the 50,000 mark. How we could do with a share of that nowadays.
Jimmy was transferred to East Stirlingshire in 1964 and amazingly achieved promotion with them and played in the top tier of Scottish football although the team became known as ES Clydebank that season. He later returned to Links Park and picked up where he left off by being in the team which almost beat Hearts in the Scottish Cup with only a last gasp equaliser saving the Edinburgh giants. He ended his playing career with Brechin City.
Bobby was transferred to St Johnstone in 1962 in a deal which brought in more valuable funds to Montrose. He did well at Muirton and after six seasons he moved on to Tynecastle where he figured in the Hearts team for another couple of seasons before retiring from Senior football in Scotland.
Although Jimmy may be remembered more for his goal scoring feats it was brother Bobby’s career which hit more heights – but as usual it’s the goal scorers who grab the attention. My own recollections of that era are still vivid in my mind. I can still see Jimmy Kemp ghosting in front of his marker at Palmerston Park Dumfries and nicking one into the bottom left hand corner. I can see Bobby cutting inside then outside his full back then smashing a shot into the top right hand corner at Berwick I think it was.
Steve Doyle (Sassmo)