Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott came out of nowhere: in 1916/17 he was nowhere to be seen, from 1917/18 he was an almost ever present at Right-Back in the Falkirk FC side. This is obviously not true, but it is how it seems to someone looking back with only match reports to go on. Of course he must have been making waves with Denny Hibs before he joined Falkirk, but this was during the First War and there was limited coverage of Football at the senior level, never mind the juniors. When this is added to the fact that there was no reserve football for him to be given a trial it does seem like a true deus ex machina.

What is interesting is that his career almost completely mirrors that of one of Falkirk's most consistent players in the club's history: Thomas Ferguson. Both born in the 1890s both from the Parish of Denny [Ferguson was from Longcroft], both came to Falkirk's notice in local junior football during WWI, and for the next ten years nearly every Falkirk FC line-up started Ferguson; Scott ............

Make no mistakes he was good, nobody lasts that long in the top league in his country without being good, but it looks odd that he was never selected for the national team. He did play for the Scottish League against the English League when it was still an important fixture, and was chosen by the Scottish FA to go on their 1927 tour of Canada, but it takes a sheen off his otherwise remarkable career.

I can not say why he was never capped, nor why he was never pilfered by an English League club [as so many were]. Sometimes though we should consider the fact that footballers are humans too, and maybe he was not all about chasing more and more money. Consider the facts that we know: Thomas was from Denny, his first serious engagements with football were with his local club Denny Hibs, when he came to the notice of bigger football clubs he joined Falkirk [just a short train ride away, this was when Denny was still on the national railway system], he stayed with Falkirk for more than a decade. The only aberation being a season with Morton when Falkirk released him. After he retired from football he stayed in Denny until he passed away in 1976.

It looks like me he was just contented with his life, as a professional footballers he would earn more than most without needing to leave his town and family, for some people he had an almost perfect life. Some people can do without moving to some grimy industrial mill town in Lancashire just to get a bit more money.

He came agonisingly close to playing 500 matches for Falkirk FC, but in the end never quite made it, however it is a bit of a consolation that altogether with his matches for the Scottish League & the Scottish FA, plus his season with Morton he did get to at least 504 in his career [there is a chance he would have played more matches, guesting with clubs and various elevens in benefit matches, but these are difficult to track down] which puts him in a select group for his time.

To be noted is his scoring record, which is very good for a Right-Back in a time when the backs rarely left their half, but this is explained by the fact that for most of his time he was Falkirk's Penalty taker [but remember in the pre-WWII era, excepting handball, you had to nearly assault a player for the ref to give a foul, never mind a penalty]. Match reports of time say little, but one of the many anecdotes surrounding Thomas was that when Falkirk were given a penalty, the skipper, Tom Townsley, would stick two fingers in his mouth, whistle and Tom Scott would start his long run up from Right-Back straight to the Penalty Box and in one fluid movement would whack the ball past the hapless goalie. I'm not sure if that is completely within the laws of Football, but I choose to believe it must have happened at least once for the story to get about.

Thomas Scott's Falkirk FC Career

[Lea=Scottish League, SCu=Scottish Cup [including Scottish Victory Cup 1918/19], Cup=Domestic Cups [Dunedin cup, Dewar Shield], Loc=Local Competitions [Stirlingshire Cup, Falkirk Hospitals Shield etc], Oth=Other Matches [Friendlies, Benefits, Etc]]

Season
Lea
SCu
Cup
Loc
Oth
Tot
1917/18
34/-
-/-
1/-
-
2/-
37/-
1918/19
30/-
2/-
-/-
-/-
3/-
35/-
1919/20
37/3
1/-
-/-
2/1
1/-
40/4
1920/21
35/3
2/-
1/-
2/-
2/1
42/4
1921/22
41/2
2/-
2/-
1/-
4/1
50/3
1922/23
37/4
3/1
2/-
4/1
3/-
49/6
1923/24
26/-
6/-
1/-
3/-
2/-
38/-
1924/25
34/-
4/1
-/-
-/-
-/-
38/1
1925/26
28/1
2/-
1/-
2/-
1/-
34/1
1926/27
31/2
7/2
2/-
1/-
2/-
43/4
1927/28
30/-
1/-
3/-
2/-
1/-
37/-
1928/29
24/-
3/-
1/-
-/-
-/-
28/-

387/15
33/4
14/-
17/2
21/2
472/23


Thomas Scott

b c1895, Denny, Stirlingshire
d 15th September 1976, Denny, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday August 18th 1917 v Dumbarton (A) Scottish League

Positions – Right-Back, Right-Half

Representative Honours – Scottish League v English League 1921/22

Club Honours – Dunedin Cup W 1917/18, 1922/23, RU 1921/22, Dewar Shield W 1927/28, RU 1926/27, Stirlingshire Cup W 1922/23, 1925/26, Stirlingshire Redding Pit Disaster Benefit Cup W 1923/24, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1919/20, 1920/21, 1922/23, 1923/24, 1925/26, 1926/27, 1927/28

Known Career – Denny Hibernian, Falkirk [1917/18-1928/29], Morton [1929/30]

Other Matches

Played for Scottish FA XI v Montreal All-Stars at Montreal, Quebec, 24th May 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v New Ontario All-Stars at Fort William, Ontario, 1st June 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v Manitoba All-Stars at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 4th June 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v Saskatoon All-Stars at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 8th June 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v Calgary All-Stars at Calgary, Alberta, 12th June 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v Upper Island All-Stars at Nanaimo, British Columbia, 18th June 1927.
Played for Scottish FA XI v Northern Ontario at Timmins, Ontario, 1st July 1927.