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Ivan Golac
Personal information
Full name Ivan Golac
Date of birth 15 June 1950 (1950-06-15) (age 59)
Place of birth    Koprivnica, SFR Yugoslavia
Height 5 ft 10 in
Playing position Fullback
Youth career
1962-1968 FK Partizan
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
FK Partizan
Bournemouth (loan)
Manchester City (loan)
FK Belasica (loan)
Portsmouth (loan)
120 (3)
144 (4)
009 (0)
002 (0)
001 (0)
024 (0)
008 (0)   
National team
1978 SFR Yugoslavia 001 (0)
Teams managed

FK Partizan
Torquay United
Dundee United
ÍA Akranes
FK Sartid
FC Karpaty Lviv

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Ivan Golac (Serbian Cyrillic: Ивaн Гoлaц )(born 15 June 1950) is a former football player and manager from former Yugoslavia.

A Yugoslav international right back, he is best known as a player and manager of FK Partizan, of Belgrade. In the United Kingdom he is remembered as one of Southampton's first foreign imports and as a Scottish Cup-winning manager with Dundee United.


Playing career

Born in Koprivnica, Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia, Golac moved to Belgrade where he joined the youth section of FK Partizan in his early teens and eventually graduated to the first team. He made over 350 appearances for the club and won League championship medals in 1976 and 1978. During this era, he also made his debut for the national team, but that match against Algeria in 1976 proved to be his only one at international level.

The year of 1978 would prove to be a watershed in Golac's career. He had reached the age of 28, when Yugoslavia's Communist authorities would allow players to move abroad; it was also the year in which English football's restrictions on foreign players were lifted. That summer Ivan Golac became one of the first of the new imports when Southampton manager Lawrie McMenemy paid a bargain £50,000 to bring him to England. Over the next few seasons, his technical skills and attacking full back play made him a cult figure at The Dell. His time at Southampton included an appearance at Wembley in the 1979 League Cup Final.

The relationship turned sour in 1982 when a contract dispute between player and club led to Golac going out on loan to AFC Bournemouth and Manchester City. A brief spell back in Yugoslavia with minor level club FK Belasica was followed by a transfer back to Southampton in 1984. His return to the club was unspectacular, and after another period on loan, this time at Portsmouth, Golac retired in 1986.

Managerial career

Following the end of his playing days, Golac turned to coaching, where his laid-back, positive style led to further successes. Returning to Partizan, he became assistant to manager Momčilo Vukotić in 1989 and helped the club to Yugoslav Cup success that year. The following September, he had an extraordinary debut in management when Vukotić was taken ill on the eve of a Cup Winners' Cup tie against Celtic in Glasgow, with Partizan leading 2-1 from the first leg. An astonishing match saw Golac's team progress on away goals after a 5-4 victory for Celtic.

Golac remained in charge at Partizan for the rest of the season before parting company with the club. He still had a home in Hampshire, and returned to Britain in search of work. After being unsuccessfully shortlisted for the manager's job at old adversaries Celtic, he had a brief spell in charge of Torquay United during 1992. Then, in July 1993, he was announced as the surprise choice to succeed legendary Dundee United manager Jim McLean.

The Scottish sporting media quickly latched on to Golac, whose hippyish public image - he took United players to "smell the flowers" in Camperdown Park during training sessions, and claimed to have learned English from listening to Rolling Stones records - was in pointed contrast to the austere reputation of his predecessor, McLean. Against the odds, Golac's confident approach led underdogs United to Scottish Cup success at the end of his first season in charge, defeating hot favourites Rangers 1-0 in the final. It was the first time Dundee United had won the trophy, having lost in the final six times under McLean.

Despite the Cup triumph, poor League form and the fraught relationship between Golac and McLean (who remained club chairman) led to his departure from the club less than a year later. Since then, he has held several managerial posts around Europe without recording any significant achievements, having been in charge at ÍA Akranes in Iceland, FK Sartid in Serbia and FC Karpaty Lviv in Ukraine. In January 1994, he had been linked with Southampton for a possible return as manager following the departure of Ian Branfoot, but the job went to Alan Ball instead.[1]

Outside football, Golac has in recent years also had a spell running a chocolate factory in Belgrade. Today, he and his wife Bratislava live mainly in Vienna.



As a player

Partizan Yugoslavia

Southampton England

As manager

  • Dundee United Scotland

Scottish Cup Winner: 1994


  • Jeremy Wilson (2006). Southampton’s Cult Heroes. Know The Score Books. ISBN 1-905449-01-1.  
Preceded by
Phil Boyer
Southampton F.C. player of the season
Succeeded by
Kevin Keegan


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