In 1890 the Scottish Referee newspaper published a series of profiles of prominent Scottish footballers and officials.


W Jenkinson HeartsSince the Wizard of the North penned the thrilling novel from which this man’s club takes its name Mid-Lothian has undergone a transformation. One of the most interesting features in the changeful scene is the growth of the athletic spirit, the culture of the gospel of muscle. In our day this is so pronounced that “fair Edina, Scotia’s darling seat,” takes rank in the athletic world equal to that she for long enjoyed in the literary world. The “Hearts,” as they are pithily and generally called, as a club, has done much to foster and develop love for football in Scotland’s metropolitan county. Mr Jenkinson, who has played for them now for seven long years, is one of the best players they have produced, and one of the very few Eastern men who have been chosen for International honours.

Brought up in the school with such players as N. J. Ross, now of Preston, and McLennan, now of Accrington, he has served a long apprenticeship to the game. His youthful years were spent in the Mayfield and the Avondale, euphonious titles for clubs that betoken a poetic fancy to those who stood sponsors to them, and fitting stepping-stones to Mr Jenkinson’s present historic romantic club, the grand old Heart of Mid-Lothian. During his long sad honourable connection with his club, Mr Jenkinson has served not only it but his city and county faithfully and well. His steady service to both has been rewarded in the bestowal upon him of inter-city and inter-county honours. He has played against Glasgow and all the leading Scottish counties; the greatest honour that has so far come his way was his selection, along with Hutton and Low, of the St. Bernard’s, for the Irish international in 18$7, an honour given not only to three players, but to the East of Scotland, whose right and claim to a shale in representative honours had for years been slighted. Worthily the three justified their choice, and proved to the governing body of the game that was in the days of old there were wise men in the East. Mr Jenkinson’s merits are not confined to the football field; he is a very fair sprinter, and has won honour in his clubs annual sporting carnival.

Till this season he has played on the outside right wing consistently, and at times brilliantly. This year, with the consent of the Hearts’ executive, be has taken up the inside right position, which he fills with credit to himself and advantage to his club. A player of Mr Jenkinson’s powers could not hope to escape the notice of the eagle-eyed English agent, but this flattery failed and seeming friendship even in the person of Mr N. J. Ross, who sought to woo his old clubmate to proud Preston’s fold, was also powerless to change his affections. To all his charmers Mr Jenkinson has turned a deaf ear, and he has beaten the English traffickers in blood and gamblers in gold with a trump card, “Queen of Hearts” We admire Mr Jenkinson’s steadfast adherence to his club, and we trust he may long beam brightly a “Star of the East.”

[Scottish Referee, 6 January 1890]



George Gillespie Queens ParkIt is sixteen years ago since George, fresh and fair and with curly locks, commenced his football career in the Roselyn, a young Partick club then budding into fame. Originally a back, he found scope for the exercise of his powers, when be entered the ranks of the Rangers as partner to the great Vallance. It was in the “Light Blues” that he made his debut as a goalkeeper, and soon won his spurs in this position. While in them, too. his country recognised his powers. and appointed him to the international against England in 1881 and 82. Against Wales, too, he also played in 1880, ’81, and ’86. He refused twice to play against Ireland, so that the old country were saved an injustice at his hand,. Against London, Sheffield, and Edinburgh he too frequently played.

His honours since joining the Queen’s Park have not been increased — a result due to no want of ability, but to circumstances over which he had no control. Mr Gillespie has played more final ties than any other player, and he has played longer than any player. With a record such as this his experience of the game is rich and varied. Learning all the quirks of forward play in the open field, he has brought to his present position a wealth of resourcethat enables him to outwit the dashing centre and manipulate his daisy cutters. The Queen’s goal is safe in his hands. and so for that matter is any. With him between the posts they need fear no foe.

[Scottish Referee 13 January 1890]



Michael McKeown Celtic“Behind yon hills, where Lugar flows,” the crack back of the Celts learned to peg the game. At the pretty little Ayrshire village that takes its name from the stream that Scotia’s Bard, has immortalised in deathless song, Mr McKeown kicked away his first football boots. Under the genial “generalship” of James McLaren with whom he came from the Cronbery Club, on the Eglinton Estates, he joined the Lugar Boswell, and his name has to be added to the brilliant galaxy of talent this Ayrshire club has produced. This includes such names as Maggin, McGhee, Lundy, Maclaren, and Auld — grand players all of them, and men beside whom Mr McKeown takes his place and need not blush, for in pluck and ability be gives way to none of them.

When the “Grand Old Gineral” left Lugar for the Edinburgh Hibernians, Mr McKeown followed him. Whilst in the east he played against Glasgow and Dumbartonshire. On the formation of the crack Celtic combination in Glasgow last season, McLaren and McKeown joined Mr Tom Maley’s team of all the talents, and here both of them are likely to remain. Since coming to Glasgow Mr McKeown has had his share of football honours. He has played for Glasgow against London and Edinburgh, and he played at Sheffield in the recent match against the cutlery town.

Mr McKeown is a great player, and he looks like one; he is as firm on his feet as a sailor in a sou’-wester and can kick as strong as a Clydesdale colt. He is not a “fiddle-faddler” on the ball like dashing Willie Groves, but with one of his huge punts he will have the ball at the goal sooner than the Celts fast centre forward. Mr McKeown has a calf development that a lady of the Corps de Ballet might well envy, and chest proportions within which there beats a heart fit for a lion tamer.

He is splendid company at the social board, and when his team are down in their luck he takes to the boards like Macarthy of Enniscorthy, sets the floor a spring and dispels dull care. He has just completed his majority, a fact which he has recently celebrated by taking to himself a partner for life. With the poet, he believes there’s nothing in a name, and so he spells McEwen with an o. He will not go down to football posterity, however, on a few letters of the alphabet, but on his merits as a player; these are of an order that should readily admit him into any company, and secure him reward from any association.
[Scottish Referee 3 February 1890]



R Bishop FalkirkAlong with several other “old lights”, Mr Bishop joined the Falkirk Club in 1880. The four seasons succeeding this event he played regularly for the second eleven. His first important match was in the final tie for the possession of the Stirlingshire Cup in 1864. On that occasion Falkirk adopted the three half-back system, and right well did the then young recruit acquit himself. His play on that occasion was as good as any on the field and he fully deserved the first badge of honour he won on that occasion, and which he proudly wears to this day. His play could not pass unnoticed by the County Association. and he has played in several of their trial and inter-county matches.

Good a player as Mr Bishop was, it was as the leader of a club that be has made his fame. For some years be has acted as hon. secretary to the club he has always been connected with, and his efforts have not been without result. At the beginning of the present season the Falkirk Club seemed in the worst possible condition. No less than five of their players left to join other clubs, but Mr Bishop saw budding talent in some junior members, and with the aid of other county football players who wore dissatisfied with their old club, he has placed Falkirk Club in a better position than ever they were.

He has represented Stirlingshire Association at Scottish Committee meetings for three years, and has been president of the former body for the same period. His heart is in the game, and anything he can do to further its interest is done with a willing hand. He has been the “authority” on football matters in Falkirk district for a long time, and long may he continue to be. He is deservedly popular with all lovers of the game. No better example of the truth of this statement is there than the fact that on the occasion of his recent marriage he was the recipient of three handsome testimonials from his club, the Stirlingshire Association, and some of his friends in the Carron Iron-Works, where he is employed. As a referee he gives every satisfaction, if we except one occasion at Hampden Park this season. Few gentlemen who act in that capacity have a better knowledge of the game, and still fewer can put that knowledge to such use. Of late he has had serious thoughts of retiring from active service, but we trust that his valuable services will still be retained by his club and the whole football community at large. When the Scottish Association are appointing their office bearers for the year, they might do worse than look into Mr Bishop’s abilities for the post of vice-president. It would only be giving honour to whom honour is due, besides recognising a district that has been too long neglected. Yes, Mr B, nothing would give us greater pleasure than to see you yet mount the “throne” of the Scottish Football Association.

[Scottish Referee  10 March 1890]



James Dunlop St MirrenTo the fame already possessed by Paisley as the haunt of bards and the centre of bobbins must be added that of the home of brilliant football players. The soil seems suited to the lads that chase the bounding ball. They grow up like mushrooms. The St. Mirren is especially favoured, and within the ranks of the club there are several young players who have rapidly risen to fame. The subject of this sketch is one of Paisley present prides and future hopes. Mr Dunlop has graduated from the third to the first eleven of his club in a remarkably short time and at an unusual age. His club’s career, however, has been eclipsed in the wider sphere of representative matches. He is one of the youngest players ever chosen for international honours. He wears his first cap with a blushing pride that befits his youthful veers, and is in harmony with his great ability.

To watch Mr Dunlop play is to witness an artist of the game. He works without effort and has the knack enjoyed only by genius of making art conceal art. In his play there is an entire absence of force; he goes through the field like the, walking gentleman in the drama. On the left wing he poses and passes to his partner with the neatness and accuracy  of a piece of mechanism, and he sends in some posers to the goalkeeper as often as he gets the chance. His cool, methodical style is as unique as it is useful. He delights his clubmates by his play, for he baffles their opponents. Mr Dunlop is of the school of graceful Eddie Fraser, and those who witnessed the play of the young Saints, Hill and Dunlop, recently against the Queen’s Park witnessed a display that recalled to memory the famous Fraser and Anderson combination. Mr Dunlop has lost his “alter ego,” who has been wooed across the Border. He himself has been induced to follow, but to the wiles of the charmer he has remained obdurate, and has nobly resolved to live and die a “Saint.” It is an apt epigram to say of Mr Dunlop’s style of play that it is beauty without the beast.

[Scottish Referee 24 March 1890]



T McDonald FalkirkThere is no more popular player in Stirling-shire than the here of the above sketch. He has been captain of the Falkirk team this season, and the honour has been justly earned. Graduating in the Falkirk Black Watch, he latterly transferred his services to the second eleven of the club he now rules. He was quickly spotted out as a likely man, and those who had that belief have not erred far. He has frequently played in the local inter-county matches, and has always “come off.” He is a very fine shot, and backs up his more-honoured partner – Stark — to a nicety. In fact, it has often been said that it is McDonald that makes Stark shine so well in club matches.

He is not a great orator, but when he does a little in that way he always leaves an impression. On the occasion of the presentation of the county cup he let slip the remark that he hoped to be able to fill with champagne the Falkirk Charity this year. To all appearance he will be kept at his word. He has just attained his majority, and is a very sturdy-built man. That he may long be the leading light of the team he takes by the hand is our wish, and if he keeps up his present form, there are sure to be some honours in store for him its the near future.

[Scottish Referee 14 April 1890]



W Thompson Third LanarkGreatness overshadowed loses half its power. It has been the misfortune of Mr Thomson to grow up under the shadow of Hampden Park. A player born out of his time, yet he has not allowed this to influence his conduct, but has acted his part nobly, sometimes bravely, determined to make a name for himself by the consistency and brilliancy of his play. This he has done, and can look back with satisfaction on his career.

His introduction to his present club in 1884 was of a romantic nature, the first match he played for the Third being in Bonnie Dundee. Previous to his connection with the Volunteers he was a member of the prosaic Possilpark, and had for companions James Nisbet, W.B. Johnstone, Tom Robertson, R. Bishop, and others, who, like himself, have stepped up the ladder of football.

Outside of his own club Mr Thompson has never reached the topmost rung, partly for the reason we have stated, but mostly owing to the fact that his sterling merits have not been recognised by the powers that be. It is not creditable to the officials of Scottish football that not a single International honour stands to Mt Thompson’s credit, and the pugnacious, pertinacious, vulgar crowd have ousted him from a position to which he was well entitled, and his consistent ability has been sacrificed over and over again for erratic brilliancy.

Pure football is a perennial fount of pleasure, and in company with his clubmate, friend and partner, Mr Marshall, Mr Thompson has treated the Scottish football public to displays of the game that recall the brilliance and excellence of Eadie, Fraser, and Willie Anderson. The Third Lanark pair are the nearest approach to that beautiful combination we have had in this island, yet it is strange – passing strange – that in our representative matches Marshall and Thompson have never received an opportunity of proving their prowess.

This season they have decided to dissolve a partnership which has been of immense service to their club and of great benefit to the game. We know that their club, whilst deeply regretting this step, will not allow their merits to pass unrewarded. We regard their departure from the field as a distinct loss to Scottish football, and we can only hope that the partnerships they may form in the prosaic business of life may be as pleasantly enjoyed and as prolific of friendships as these which they have experienced in the fitful romance of the football field. Socially, Mr Thompson is well liked : he is a scholar by profession, a gentleman by nature.

In more senses than one he has taught the young idea how to shoot. He knows the rule of three, and has often “squared the circle” by placing the ball between the posts. He is not fond of football foibles, and sports modestly Scottish and Charity badges. We have examined Mr Thomson in every department of the game, and award him a certificate of the first class. Passed with honours.

[Scottish Referee 19 May 1890]



Lawrance DumbartonTwo events of prime importance have occurred in the history of Dumbarton — these are, the capture of the Castle by William Wallace, and the capture of the Queens Prize by Mr Lawrance. The hero of the one has long passed into oblivion; the hero of the other still survives the wave of popularity that surged and swayed round him when he entered the rock-girt town with the blue ribbon of Wimbledon pinned to his breast. The influence of that victory still remains, however, with Mr Lawrence, and, like some other football notabilities, he is loth to leave the arena in  which he has done some service, and acquired some reputation.

Mr Lawrance is one of two legislators that Dumbarton has given to our football councils. Both have shown their provincial training, and the measures to which they have given their support have been, as a rule, in the interest of their county.

It is one of the freaks of fortune that a democrat like Mr Lawrance be chairman of the upper crust of Scottish football. In this he has a difficult part to play, and one that will try his powers to some purpose. His long experience in the game is certainly in his favour but his style is decidedly against him. If determination would secure success, then Mr Lawrance should not fail. There are other qualities beside this required, however, if the League policy is to be carried out to a triumphant issue. To allay the opposition with which the League has to contend Mr Lawrance is too cynical and too egotistical. He is a striker, not a stroker. His manner provokes antipathy, and induces opposition. He rouses the wrath of his opponents, and when he apologises he still leaves a sting behind him. When pulled up in the course of a speech by interruption he hangs fire a little, and never misses the target, generally finishing with a bull right in the centre. There are sterling qualities in Mr Lawrance’s character, and it is a pity they are overshadowed by failings which are prominent to the eye, and discount to some extent his undoubted ability. Were he more generously charged with the milk of human kindness, of which the poet speaks, he would personally be a greater success, and the new movement in which he is deeply interested would gain rather than lose by the addition.

[Scottish Referee 23 June 1890]


Willie Maley CelticA great club is the embodiment of a great idea. The Celtic are such a club, and the subject of our sketch was one of the gentlemen who put into plain and practical shape a plan long cherished for the formation of the club. The wisdom of the originators of the Celtic is seen in the position the club occupies, although it has only been two years in existence. The marvellously rapid progress of the club is due undoubtedly to the playing power of the members who compose the team, but it is also  attributable to the excellent executive which since the club’s inception has guided its efforts. Mr Maley is one of the best of these.

Too modest to shine on the field where he always seems to be holding himself in reserve, his light burns brightly in the council chamber. The Celtic, like every other club, requires advisers, and in Mr Maley it has one of the most judicious, one whose opinions are admired for their soundness, heightened by a manner of expression that commands for them increased respect. Mr Maley is not an orator, and thinks before he speaks. He looks soft and pliable, but that is only a freak of nature, for he is hard – nay, clear-headed – and does not wear eye-glasses. To people in general he is reserved to the border of indifference; among his friends and club mates he is familiar, yet dignified. Men of Mr Maley’s stamp are a distinct gain to the intellectual side of a physical pastime which is bound by profit by the connection. He was not born with a proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but he is a gentleman, because he could be nothing else. Our estimate of his character is thus summed up – mild, mannered, manly Maley.

[Scottish Referee 25 August 1890]



Donald Gow RangersAbility is said to run in the blood, and the two famous Light Blues – by name Gow — are examples of the truth o the adage. The two brothers are not Dromios in looks, but they resemble each other in their tastes. Donald the elder, but is not an old man by any means at two and twenty. Since the light first beamed in his blue orbs he has taken to the colour and been a kicker ever since. Some five years ago he joined the Rangers, and proved such an adept at showing his heels that in 1888 he was raised from the ranks to captain the Scottish team against England. The International of that year is black-letter day in the history of the game, and it is the only blemish on Mr Gow’s football career. For his failure on that occasion be has to thank the misjudged kindness of kind friends and his then inexperience. Time, however, has cured both these evils, and his present play is quite worthy of another cap.

This season he has surpassed himself, and the proud position his club occupy as leaders of the League is due in a large degree to the energy, tact, and ability he has shown at right back. Gow has fine turn of speed which enables him often to circumvent an opponent. Proof of his prowess as a sprinter is found in the fact that in 1888 he won four first prizes in the open hundred. Personally he is modest to a fault, but now that he has supplemented his other excellent qualities as a player by dash and pluck, few are able to cope with him, far less upset him, yet be is not a heavy man at 11st. Mr Gow is a typical Scotchman — cool, clever, calculating, and his name is Donald.

[Scottish Referee 1 September 1890]




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