Tall blond Scottish centre half, Ken McNaught came from illustrious footballing stock. His father, Willie, was, in the 1940s and 1950s, a distinguished left back for Raith Rovers and Scotland; for the former gaining the club’s appearance record over a career that spanned twenty years. His influence on his son was immeasurable, and he persuaded the teenage centre forward to swap his position for central defence. He joined Everton as an apprentice on completing his O Levels in 1972, making his debut against Leicester City in January 1975.
Although never especially quick, McNaught was tall and imposing in the air and powerful in the tackle. He established himself in the Everton team through the tail end of the 1975/76 season. Through the next campaign he missed not one of Everton’s 58 league and cup matches, and in the League Cup Final epic against Aston Villa was arguably Everton’s best player, subduing Andy Gray, who was in the finest form of his career.
Evidently, the Scot impressed Villa for at the season’s end Ron Saunders made a £200,000 bid for McNaught, which Gordon Lee, seeking to instil his own vision at Goodison, accepted. Forming a formidable Villa Park partnership with Allan Evans, McNaught was a key member of Villa’s League Championship winning side in 1981. A year later, Villa confounded all expectation to also lift the European Cup. In 1983 McNaught followed Saunders to West Bromwich Albion, and there were later spells with Manchester City and Sheffield United.