Monday, 28 April 2014

Unsung Heroes - Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell is another of those players who will always come just under the radar, because he was not a great Centre-Foward, he was instead a bloody good Inside-Left, and could score a goal or two, Starting his senior career with the 'Shire, when Falkirk got promoted to the First Division we filched him, and apart from a period on Loan with Vale of Teith, he played his entire career with the two clubs, going back to ESFC in 1910.

During his time at Falkirk he proved his mettle by being selected for the Scottish International Trials in 1906, but didn't make it.

To put it in perspective he scored 47 Leaugue goals for Falkirk [56 in total], and there are no current Falkirk midfielders with anything like that tally.

Known Career – East Stirlingshire [1900/01-1905/06], Falkirk [1905/06-1909/10], Vale of Teith [1906/07], East Stirlingshire [1910/11-1912/13]

with FFC c1907

Thursday, 24 April 2014

ESFC-FFC Brothers

When two clubs have such a synchretic history and relationship [yet are not hindered by the baggage which weighs down the clubs to the East and [especially] the West of Scotland], they end up sharing many common factors - East Stirlingshire and Falkirk are the embodiment of this ... shared grounds, shared competitions, shared players .....

In this era of professionalism, sets of footballing brothers are more and more becoming a rarity, however back in the Nineteenth Century with more senior clubs therefore more competitions, there were fewer barriers to brothers playing on with the same clubs.

Of course it is not quite so rare for a club to have brothers amongst its ranks, both ESFC and FFC have many examples of this, there is even the case of Michael and Thomas Harley who played for Falkirk until the Summer of 1889 then both at the same time jumped ship to Bainsford. However I know of only one pair of brothers of whom one played for East Stirlingshire and the other for Falkirk.

Alex and Michael Drain came from Kilsyth [well they lived in Kilsyth: their father was from Cumbernauld, Alex was born in Rosehall [John & James, brothers in between were born in Airdrie] and Michael was born in Cumbernauld, and a younger brother in Kilsyth]. And it was in Kilsyth football that they were first noticed. Alex was a solid Left-Back with Smithstone Hibs [and with Kilsyth Hibs when they changed name], before moving up to their bigger rivals Kilsyth Wanderers [getting 'capped' for Stirlingshire], where came to the notice of Glasgow Celtic. Although I do not think he ever made it into the 1st XI, he certainly was a bit of a regular for the reserves for a while. And it was probably the lack of first team chances which prompted him to sign for East Stirlingshire in 1896. However tragedy was to befall him that season, as he was a miner in the real world [he is listed in the 1881 Census, aged 14, as an Iron Miner] and was severely injured in a mining accident, which was to end his life within a year.

His wee brother on the other hand played as an inside forward, normally Inside-Right, and first came to notice with the Junior side Kilsyth Emmet in the Stirlingshire Junior Cup and various Junior Leagues in Stirlingshire, by 1898 he had graduated to Kilsyth Wanderers [Kilsyth Hibs having folded in between] before joining Falkirk midway through the 1899/1900 season, but he never quite hit it off at Falkirk, although scoring when he got the chance, you had to be very good to dislodge Andrew Burt & Thomas Baird, and he wasn't quite that good. After Falkirk he dissapeared from my radar, and may have left football altogether.

Sadly as there were six years between the brothers, and Alex's early death there is little chance they played together [and no chance that they played on either side of the Falkirk Derby]. But there is still the slight chance they played against each other in some bizarre Kilsyth Charity Competition, but the lack of media coverage for Kilsyth at the times no-one will ever know.

Alex Drain

b 20th December 1868, Rosehall, Lanarkshire
d 15th March 1898, Kilsyth, Stirlingshire

Known Career – Smithstone Hibernians [1892/93], Kilsyth Hibernians [1893/94], Kilsyth Wanderers [1894/95], East Stirlingshire [1894/95 guest], Celtic [1895/96], East Stirlingshire [1896/97]

Michael Drain

b 17th December 1874, Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire

Known Career – Kilsyth Emmett, Kilsyth Wanderers [1898/99-1899/00], Falkirk [1899/00]

Sunday, 20 April 2014

East Stirlingshire Ancients 1893

Not even fifteen years after their birth East Stirlingshire were old enough to be fielding an ancients side, and a bloody good one at that. In 1893 they put out a side which thumped their contemporaries from Stirling. Most of the team, it has to be said, were not long retired from the first eleven. But who am I to argue with History.

On Friday May 5th 1893 East Stirlingshire Ancients beat King's Park Ancients by 5 goals to 2 at Merchiston Pk, Bainsford

ES - James Dougall; Allan Rae & Peter Mitchell; Andrew Inch, Henry Brand & Robert Johnston; Robert Wilson & Peter McGregor, Lawrence McLachlan, John Taylor & Alexander Cockburn.

KP - W.Armstrong; T.W.R.Johnston & Robert Wilson; Wm Muir, Wm Morrison & Wm Miller; B.Taylor & John Gray, Wm McLay, John McLaren & McQueen.

Strangely in all my time I have never come across an East Stirlinjgshire Ancients v Falkirk Ancients match, except for the 10th Anniversary match of the first Stirlingshire Cup, but that was meant to be between the same players, so is not quite the same thing.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Arsenal v East Stirlingshire 22nd Feb 1896

Among my many faults, not only do I follow Falkirk Football Club, but am also a bit of a Gooner! So I can say without doubt that I am sooo jealous of this match! The world has so chnged in the last 100+ plus years that it makes it seem bizarre, or even ridiculous, but in February 1896 the Zebras went south to take on the soon to be mighty Arsenal.

Like I said: Jealous!!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Laurieston FC - Clubs in Falkirk District

Laurieston FC were one of the longest lasting of the small senior clubs in Falkirk District, which, in my opinion, counts greatly in their favour: although always struggling in the face of clubs with a larger support, they never gave up the ghost until League football finally killed off the village club.

Coming from just a mile or two direcly East of Falkirk, Laurieston was a newtown of its era, originally called New Merchiston [along with Grangemouth the Laird was Lawrence Dundas, who also owned Merchiston in Edinburgh] it was created to situate some nail factories, and though Laurieston was soon superceded by Camelon in the nail business, Laurieson remained, though have never discovered which industries replaced the nails!

The club itself seems to have been formed about the summer of 1884, and as far as I know played their home matches throughout at Zetland Park, just below the village toward Grangemouth [though whether this is the same ground as the current football pitches located there is impossible to ascertain]. However much is known of the club, many of the players are clearly named in many of their matches, so there is more known of the club. The players who were randomly 'snatched' by Falkirk & East Stirlingshire just show the big fish nature of football. But Laurieston were also a big fish in their own little pond, often 'pilfering' players from Rumford Rovers & Redding Athletic in their own right.

They were sometimes, but not always, knockovers, but were fully part of the local senior scene, entering the Scottish Cup, Stirlingshire Cup and the two local cups for most of their lifespan, as well as other cups where they had the opportunity. I do not think they won anything in their time, but nor do I think they expected to, they played for their village and they hoped against hope that they could pull off a result.

Among the players they reared were Peter Steele [East Stirlingshire], David Fleming [Falkirk FC], Mathew Myles [many clubs].

One of the few teams where it is known their colours, as the Falkirk Herald in 1889 stated that they played in Amber & Black stripes. It is an absolute shame we went the way of splitting out football on senior/junior lines as they could have survived in a Division 8-10 of Scottish Football, with the odd draw against a big team in the cup keeping them going, but that was not to be: they were replaced by the Junior Club Laurieson Villa soon after, who produced the mighty Jock Simpson.

I would put all of Laurieston FC's competetive matches here, but they did play a lot, am working on it!

18th Oct 1884 King's Park           13  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
26th Sep 1885 Laurieston             0  Campsie Central       4  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
17th Apr 1886 Falkirk                7  Laurieston            0  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
11th Sep 1886 Grahamston             0  Laurieston            2  Scottish Cup 1st Rd
25th Sep 1886 Grahamston             3  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd [Grahamston disqualified]
 2nd Oct 1886 Laurieston             1  Falkirk               3  Scottish Cup 2nd Rd
30th Nov 1886 Falkirk                4  Laurieston            1  Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd
19th Feb 1887 East Stirlingshire     6  Laurieston            0  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
 7th Sep 1887 Slamannan              5  Laurieston            4  Scottish Cup 1st Rd
29th Oct 1887 Campsie               11  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
25th Feb 1888 Laurieston             6  Camelon               3  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
 7th Apr 1888 Laurieston             1  Grangemouth           3  Falkirk District Charity Cup Semi-Final
 1st Sep 1888 Vale of Bannock        3  Laurieston            2  Scottish Cup 1st Rd
27th Oct 1888 East Stirlingshire    11  Laurieston            2  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
20th Apr 1889 Laurieston             8  Stenhousemuir         1  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
 8th May 1889 Camelon                5  Laurieston            4  Falkirk District Charity Cup Semi-Final
11th May 1889 Denny                  7  Laurieston            2  Kilsyth Charity Cup 1st Rd
 7th Sep 1889 Dunipace               2  Laurieston            3  Scottish Cup 1st Rd
28th Sep 1889 Laurieston             1  East Stirlingshire    4  Scottish Cup 2nd Rd
 2nd Nov 1889 Laurieston             1  Kilsyth Wanderers     0  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
16th Nov 1889 Falkirk                6  Laurieston            2  Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd
22nd Feb 1890 Falkirk                4  Laurieston            1  Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield Semi-Final
 6th Sep 1890 Campsie                4  Laurieston            1  Scottish Cup 1st Rd
 1st Nov 1890 Laurieston             3  Bridge of Allan       2  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
22nd Nov 1890 Laurieston             1  Stenhousemuir         1  Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd
29th Nov 1890 Laurieston             2  Stenhousemuir         1  Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Rd Replay
13th Dec 1890 Campsie Hibs           1  Laurieston            6  Stirlingshire Cup 3rd Rd
17th Jan 1891 Grangemouth            4  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire Cup Semi-Final
28th Feb 1891 East Stirlingshire     7  Laurieston            1  Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield Semi-Final
25th Apr 1891 Falkirk                8  Laurieston            0  Falkirk District Charity Cup Semi-Final
31st Oct 1891 Laurieston             4  Bridge of Allan       2  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
12th Dec 1891 Falkirk                3  Laurieston            2  Stirlingshire Cup 3rd Rd
18th May 1892 Falkirk                7  Laurieston            0  Falkirk District Charity Cup Semi-Final
29th Oct 1892 Laurieston             3  Camelon               7  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
12th Apr 1893 Falkirk               12  Laurieston            0  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
17th May 1893 East Stirlingshire     5  Laurieston            1  Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield Semi-Final
16th Sep 1893 Denny                  5  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire League
14th Oct 1893 Laurieston             1  Dunipace              4  Stirlingshire League
21st Oct 1893 Gairdoch               8  Laurieston            0  Stirlingshire League
28th Oct 1893 Laurieston             2  Bridge of Allan       4  Stirlingshire Cup 1st Rd
 4th Nov 1893 Grasshoppers           6  Laurieston            2  Stirlingshire League
11th Nov 1893 Laurieston             5  Grangemouth           7  Stirlingshire League
 3rd Feb 1893 Grangemouth            8  Laurieston            3  Stirlingshire League
10th Feb 1894 Laurieston             2  Denny                 1  Stirlingshire League
24th Feb 1894 Laurieston             7  Slamannan Rovers      4  Stirlingshire League
10th Mar 1894 Laurieston             3  Grasshoppers          3  Stirlingshire League
31st Mar 1894 Laurieston             1  Gairdoch              7  Stirlingshire League
18th Apr 1894 East Stirlingshire     8  Laurieston            2  Falkirk District Charity Cup 1st Rd
15th May 1894 Falkirk                7  Laurieston            0  Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield Semi-Final
 1st May 1895 Camelon                3  laurieston            1  Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield Semi-Final

Saturday, 5 April 2014

International XIs

In these days of jet setting and pre-season friendlies wherever it is nice [to me anyway] to think back to a time when the Scottish FA would send off a squad to play a whole bunch of games in a fertile territory in a largely proselytising role. The first of these tours undertaken by the SFA was to Canada in 1927 and had 3 Falkirk players. Both Canada & USA by then had their own fledgling clubs, and several Scottish players had journeyed across the pond to play in those leagues, though it must be said that since very few footballers were paid much in the 1920s it was mainly to work in the heavy industries not the football which attracted them for wages.

In 1927, just after the end of the season the Scottish FA sent a team on one of their few 'missionary' tours playing club sides and local XIs [and the Austrian Club side Vienna Hakoah], and were largely successful. But This about the Falkirk side of that tour. The Three Falkirk players, Thomas Scott, Patsy Gallacher and John Hunter were different carachters: Thomas Scott spent nearly his entire career at the club, Gallacher was an ex-Celtic legend who had been jetisonned by Celtic, and Falkirk saw a bargain, even though he was aging, and Shoogly Hunter a local who did well for some six years with Falkirk before going south to chase his fortune in the English Leagues.

These games came nowhere close to internationals, so Patsy Gallacher who was Irish and had previously played for Ireland and the Irish Free State, but was brought in Scotland, and played all his football in Scotland was given an honour which the SFA can no longer bestow on many servants of our game.

Patsy Gallacher

24th May v Montreal All-stars (IR) 1 Goal
28th May v Toronto All-Stars (IR) 1 Goal
8th Jun v Saskatoon All-Stars (IL) 1 Goal
16th Jun v Vancouver All-Stars (IR) 1 Goal
22nd Jun v Victoria All-Stars (IR)
1st Jul v Northern Ontarion (IL) 2 Goals
11th Jul v Toronto Ulster United (IR) 1 Goal

John Hunter

26th May v Hamilton All-Stars (IL)
1st Jun v New Ontario All-Stars (IR) 4 Goals
4th Jun v Manitoba All-Stars (IL) 1 Goal
6th Jun v Regina All-Stars (IR)
12th Jun v Calgary all-Stars (IL) 1 goal
18th Jun v Upper island All-Stars (IL) 1 goal
22nd Jun v Victoria All-Stars (IL) 1 Goals
26th Jun v British Columbia All-Stars (IL)
27th Jun v Edmonton All-Stars (IL)
29th Jun v Vienna Hakoah (IL)
10th Jul v Ontario All-Stars (IL) 1 Goal
11th Jul v Toronto Ulster United (IL)
15th Jul v Montral All-Stars (IL)

Thomas Scott

24th May v Monteal All-Stars (RB)
1st Jun v New Ontario all-Stars (RB)
4th Jun v Manitoba All-Stars (RB)
8th Jun v Saskatoon All-Stars (RB)
12th Jun v Calgary All-Stars (RB)
18th Jun v Upper Island All-Stars (RB)
1st Jul v Northern Ontario (RB)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Falkirk v Kelvinbank 1877

Back in the day it was common for Combined Elevens to play matches, mostly for benefit games, but often as a bridge between Club and national football. Falkirk District XIs were commonplace throughout the 1880s and 1890s. However the first team to play under such a name was special, since it was the first ever game of football played in Falkirk.

In November 1877 the provost sponsored a match between Kelvinbank and a team of Falkirk Bairns then playing in Glasgow. The game was played at Mayfield, which was probably the same ground as Falkirk FC's later ground at Blinkbonny.

Falkirk XI v Kelvinbank, 8th Dec 1877 at Mayfield, Falkirk

Falkirk XI 0 Kelvinbank 5

Falkirk XI– P.C.Masterton; J.Richardson(Capt) & J.McNee; J.Thomson & J.Finlayson; J.Dunn & D.R.Watson, J.Taylor & R.McNee, J.Pringle & W.Parkinson.

Kelvinbank– D.McCall; McDonald & Robertson; Preston & Watson; W.Cumming(Capt) & W.Kerr, J.Thomson & W.Anderson, M.Currie & R.Cumming.

Scorers– Unknown.

James Richardson for the Falkirk side was the brother of George [the Falkirk FC Secretary], and later played for Falkirk FC, in later life he was manager of the Gothic foundry and as I never tire of telling people, was remarkably Falkirk's only player who was born in Peru!