Tommy Docherty was scouting a different East Stirling player in 1962 when he noticed the combative, attacking left-back Eddie McCreadie.
Soon the Glaswegian defender was heading south to help kickstart the Doc’s modernisation project at Stamford Bridge.
Tall, brave, fast and aggressive, ‘Clarence’ (as he was nicknamed) formed an overlapping pair with right-back Ken Shellito. Their raids down the flanks were so novel in England and so full of flair, West Germany asked to play friendlies against Chelsea and their ‘South American-style full-backs’ ahead of the 1966 World Cup.
The 23-cap Scotland international was also versatile when required, filling in at centre-forward in the 1965 League Cup first leg and scoring from a brilliant 80-yard solo run that would win the tie. His role under Dave Sexton became more technical and defensive but no less aggressive – despite writing poetry in his spare time Eddie would never shirk a fight.
Injury blighted his career from 1970 and although he shared the FA Cup glory at Old Trafford that year he missed out on the Cup Winners’ Cup final games against Real. Eventually in 1974 Eddie was transferred to the coaching staff under Ron Suart, soon taking the reins fully and leading Chelsea to promotion in 1977.