Paul Sturrock

Last updated : 13 April 2024 By Barry Scott

Paul Whitehead Sturrock (born 10 October 1956 in Ellon, Aberdeenshire)

Sturrock made his debut in the European Cup Winners' Cup match v Juil Petrosani of Romania on 18 September 1974 and his league debut on 28 December 1974 as a substitute against Motherwell.

In his first season at Tannadice he made nine League appearances and came on from the substitutes' bench for three more and in the process he scored six goals. His first goal for Dundee United was one of two he scored in a 2–2 draw with Rangers at Tannadice on 5 April 1975. Dundee United finished fourth in the League that year.

In the following season, he made 18 League appearances, eight as sub, and scored three times. He was also played as a substitute in two of the three Scottish Cup ties and was on from the start in five out of six League Cup games and scored once. He also started in three of the four UEFA Cup games netting one in that competition, too.

1976–77 not only saw Dundee United consolidate their Premier League position but throughout the campaign Sturrock was an ever-present, playing in all 36 League games and scoring 15 times. Adding that total to one each in the Scottish Cup and League Cup he was top scorer at the Club that year. He played in United's only Scottish Cup tie, a 4–1 defeat at Paisley.[who?] He also appeared four times plus once as sub out of the six League Cup ties. In a short-lived Anglo Scottish Cup campaign he was brought on as sub in one leg of the tie against Aberdeen. This season was also significant in international terms for Sturrock as he made his Under-21 debut against Czechoslovakia in a 0–0 draw on 12 October 1976 in the first ever Scotland Under-21 side. Four months later on 9 February 1977 he netted his first international goal in an Under-21 game in which Scotland beat Wales 3–2.

He continued to be a regular in Dundee United's side and featured regularly in European competition.

1982–83 was to prove to be, arguably,[original research?] the pinnacle of Sturrock's career at Dundee United (although some[weasel words] might say that his World Cup Finals appearance three years later was his zenith). In a season that saw United lose only four League games, they won the Scottish League Championship and Sturrock contributed to this success with eight goals in his 28 appearances. He also set up Ralph Milne for his spectacular fourth minute opener against Dundee in the final League game and set the side on the final steps to the ultimate reward. The Scottish Cup that year had been yet another early exit at the hands of St. Mirren. Sturrock scored seven in the nine games he turned out in on the way to a League Cup quarter-final exit. He also played in seven of the eight games and scored once in a UEFA Cup run that ended with an exit in Prague.

His playing career ended in 1989. In 385 league appearances from 1974 to 1989 he scored 109 goals for the club. His final tally of 576 games in which he scored 171 goals makes him Dundee United's top attacking player of all time.

Sturrock stayed at Tannadice for the next five years, passing on his knowledge in the role of coach. He left the Club in 1993 after twenty years continuous service.

He once held the record for the most goals in a Scottish Premier League fixture, scoring five times for Dundee United against Morton on 17 November 1984. This has since been equalled in 1997 by Marco Negri for Rangers against Dundee United, by Kenny Miller in 2000 for the Ibrox club against St. Mirren and by Kris Boyd for Kilmarnock and for Rangers ironically both against Dundee United in 2004 and 2009 respectively.

Extract from Paul Sturrock's profile on Wikipedia