Carl Bertelsen (1937-2019)

Everyone at Dundee Football Club was saddened to learn of the passing of former player Carl Bertelsen at the age of 81.

Bertelsen joined Dundee in the summer of 1965 for a fee of £10,000 from Morton and made his debut in the first game of the season in a League Cup sectional tie away at Motherwell on August 14th and made his home debut four days later in a 0-0 derby draw against Dundee United in the same competition.

A forward by trade, Bertelsen featured on the left wing in a 3-1 win in the return at Tannadice and that came a week after Carl had scored his first goal for the club playing through the middle in the opening league game of the season away to Clyde; a 2-0 win in which Andy Penman scored the opener.

At the end of September Bertelsen, described in The Courier as a “clever forward”, scored the winner in a 3-2 win at Pittodrie and followed that up a week later with a goal against Rangers in a 1-1 draw at Dens.

After some inconsistent results in October (for example a 5-2 Charlie Cooke inspired victory over St Mirren in which Carl scored, coupled with a 5-3 defeat to Kilmarnock), manager Bobby Ancell shuffled the team and swapped Kenny Cameron from left wing to centre-forward with Bertelsen. Cameron started banging in the goals, including a Christmas Day hat-trick at home to Motherwell with Carl also scoring in the 4-0 win and as The Dee shot up the table, he flitted in and out the side playing mostly out wide.

However Carl’s goalscoring exploits from the season before at Morton hadn’t been forgotten and in March he joined Kilmarnock for the same £10,000 fee The Dee had paid, departing after six goals in 22 appearances.

Born in Haderslev, Denmark, Carl was one of a number of Scandinavian footballers who were brought over to Scotland in the Sixties after playing for Haderslev FK and Esbjerg fB in his homeland.

A schoolteacher by profession, he had played international football for Denmark, who were still amateur at the time, winning 21 caps including an appearance against the Soviet Union  in the semi-finals of the 1964 European Championships and scored in the third place play-off with Hungary. 

He was brought to Greenock by the ambitious Morton manager Hal Stewart who had accompanied Dundee on their tour of South Africa in 1953, but turning professional at Cappielow meant having to give up his international career.

Twenty goals in his first season in Scotland secured the move from Morton to Dundee and after signing for Kilmarnock went on to score 14 goals 39 appearances at Rugby Park. Carl returned to Denmark to sign for Odense after fourteen months in Ayrshire and his last match for Killie the Inter-Cities Fair Cup semi-final against Leeds United in May 1967.

The thoughts of everyone at the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park are with Carl’s family, friends and former team mates at this sad time.

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