Season 1876/77

Queen’s Park opened the season with their Amateur Sports at Hampden Park.  The 5,000 or so spectators were able to make use of the new grandstand which could accommodate around 1,000 persons.  The event was a success but the programme was so long that darkness set in before it could be completed.

Before the actual football season started, the sad news was received that James Smith, one of the founders of Queen’s Park and one of the club’s most notable players, had died at his brother’s house in Elgin.  He had been recuperating there after suffering sunstroke in London, where he had been living for some years.

James Smith
Queen’s Park’s first match of the season was a Scottish Cup tie with Sandyford at Hampden Park on Saturday 30 September 1876.  Queen’s won 7-0 but the scorers are not known.

On the following Saturday, Notts County made a return visit to Hampden Park.  The crowd, though over 6,000, was lower than two years previously as some saw the result as a foregone conclusion.  County defended doggedly for 24 minutes but, once Queen’s opened the scoring, the result was never in doubt and the home side recorded a 5-1 victory.  Willie Mackinnon scored the second goal and Jimmy Weir got numbers four and five.  The scorers of goals numbers one and three are less clear but they seem likely to have been Angus McKinnon and Tom Highet.  The visitors’ goal came when Harry McNeil knocked the ball past his own goalkeeper, much to the amusement of the crowd.

Reports of the Notts game listed two of the Queen’s Park players as A C Cochrane and A L Senior.  In a match report in the following month, the Glasgow Herald commented - “It should be stated that ‘A C Cochrane’ and ‘A L Senior’, … are, politely speaking, noms de guerre, or what are less politely known as ‘aliases’.  There may have been satisfactory reasons in this case, but the system is bad one, as it opens the door to a lot personation, and imports an unworthy air of secrecy to an open and manly game.”  

“A C Cochrane” was in fact Tom Highet, a man who used several aliases during his playing career.  “A L Senior” was almost certainly Angus McKinnon, who had missed the whole of the previous season due to illness.  Indeed, a couple of match reports subsequently referred to him as A M’Kinnon.  Possibly, he used the pseudonym “Senior” to differentiate himself from his teammate Willie Mackinnon.  Both were generally referred to as M’Kinnon in the newspapers of the day.  Willie's’s surname was given as McKinnon on his birth certificate.  However, he preferred "Mackinnon".  The exact spelling of Angus’ surname is unclear and I have chosen to use McKinnon.

Angus McKinnon only played half the season and never appeared for Queen’s Park again.  It may be that illness or injury ended his career.  He died in Canada in 1880 but it is unclear when he emigrated.

Queen’s Park’s next game on Saturday 14 October resulted in a 3-0 win over Clydesdale at Hampden Park, with the goals coming from Tom Highet, Charles Campbell and an own goal.

On both of the following two Saturdays, Queen’s Park recorded 7-0 wins.  First of all, Eastern were defeated at Barrowfield Park in Bridgeton, with goals from Fred Tod (2), Andrew Hillcoat (2), Angus McKinnon (2) and Harry McNeil.  The second game was a Scottish Cup second round tie against Caledonian at Kelvinbridge.  Around 2,500 fans saw Queen’s win 7-0 - a bigger win than expected.  Angus McKinnon got three goals in the first half and Tom Laurie and Harry McNeil both scored twice in the second period. 

On Saturday 4 November 1876, Queen’s Park renewed their rivalry with Wanderers at the Oval in London.  Queen’s recorded a resounding 6-0 victory, with goals from Angus Mckinnon, Willie Mackinnon (2), Tom Highet and Jimmy Weir (2).  The Sportsman commented that Queen’s Park “were undoubtedly superior to their opponents at every point of the game.  Weir’s dribbling was the best we have ever seen, and he was carried to the pavilion in triumph at the close.”  The Queen’s Park team was J Dickson, goal; J J Taylor and R W Neill, backs; C Campbell and J Phillips, half-backs; J B Weir, W M Mackinnon, H McNeil, T C Highet, A McKinnon, and F Tod.  Supporters back in Glasgow were in a state of excitement on the Saturday evening waiting for the score from the Oval.  When the result eventually came through, it was better than anyone could have hoped.

Queen’s Park were due to met Arthurlie in the Scottish Cup on Saturday 11 November but the tie was postponed due to snow.  The game took place at Hampden Park on the following Saturday and Queen’s won 7-0.  The scorers of five of the goals were James Phillips, Jimmy Weir (2) and Willie Mackinnon (2).  It is unclear whether the fourth goal was scored by Weir or Tom Lawrie and the scorer of the fifth goal is unknown. 

On Saturday 25 November, Queen’s Park met Rangers at Kinning Park.  Rangers had switched from Burnbank to Kinning Park after Clydesdale moved to their new ground at Titwood.  The 2,000 spectators saw a closer game than expected.  Queen’s won 1-0 with a Gillespie own goal just before half-time.  Rangers disputed the score, claiming hand ball, but the referee gave the goal.

On Saturday 2 December, Queen’s Park were back on Scottish Cup duty, with the Northern club from Springburn the visitors to Hampden.  Queen’s enjoyed a comfortable 4-0 victory.  The first goal came shortly after the kick-off and Andrew Hillcoat got the second with a header 29 minutes into the second half.  Two further goals followed but the scorers are not known.  The Second Eleven were due to play Crosshill at Crosshill’s ground in Cathcart.  Queen’s turned up with only ten men and, for some reason, refused to start the match, even though Crosshill apparently offered to play with ten men.

A week later, Cambridge University attracted a 7,000 crowd to Hampden Park.  Queen’s Park took the lead in 25 minutes through a Roughton own goal, Tom Highet scored a second from a Campbell corner kick, and Angus McKinnon got a third before half-time.  There was no further scoring and Queen’s ran out 3-0 winners.

On Saturday 16 December, Queen’s Park defeated Dumbreck 4-0 at Hampden.  Queen’s scored three goals with the wind in the first half – the first from a scrimmage in front of goal, the second by Tom Lawrie, and the third from a corner kick.  Queen’s played most of the second half without Lawrie but succeeded in scoring a further goal through Harry McNeil.

After declining to take part in the English FA Cup in the previous three seasons, Queen’s Park did enter in 1876/77 but scratched to Oxford University.

On Saturday 30 December 1876, Queen’s Park were involved in one of the most controversial games in the history of Scottish football when they entertained Vale of Leven in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.  There was heavy rain throughout and the ground was a quagmire.  Despite the terrible conditions, about 2,000 spectators turned up.  Queen’s took the lead after around 20 minutes with an own goal and had the better of things up to half-time.  In the second half, Queen’s Park faced the wind and, after eight minutes, Vale of Leven equalised through Baird.  Queen’s claimed that there had been hand ball in the build-up.  The umpires could not agree but the referee gave the goal.  Vale of Leven were now the stronger team and got a second through Baird.  Queen’s claimed a goal when the Vale goalkeeper appeared to save a Weir shot behind his own goal but to no avail and the Dunbartonshire men ran out 2-1 winners.

Alexandria Station was besieged when the train carrying the Vale of Leven team arrived at 10 o’clock.  The players were carried shoulder high amid the cheers of the crowd.

On the Monday after the match, a letter was published in the North British Daily Mail.  The writer, Humphrey Clinker, said that the Vale players came on to the pitch before the game and “took a few turns about, as football players usually do.”  He added that they then left the pitch, retired to the east end of the pavilion and reappeared shortly afterwards.  He stated that there were numerous slips, falls and miskicks by Queen’s Park during the game but the Vale men managed to keep their feet very securely.  He maintained that “spike holes were seen and examined by several competent enough to judge of that.”   Spiked boots were strictly forbidden.

The Queen’s Park President and Secretary then travelled to Alexandria and, in the company of the Vale of Leven President, visited the home of each Vale player to check his boots.  No spikes were found but Queen’s stuck to their view that there had been spike marks on the pitch.

On Monday 5 February, the North British Daily Mail printed a letter from the President of Vale of Leven.  He maintained that the “spike marks” had been made by umbrellas and walking sticks. That seemed to be the end of the matter but the controversy fuelled an intense rivalry between the two clubs.

On Saturday 6 January 1877, Queen’s Park beat Clydesdale 1-0 at Titwood Park with a disputed goal.  

The Queen’s Park first eleven did not return to action until April and the Second Eleven took centre stage in the following three weeks.  On Saturday 20 January, Crosshill’s first team were beaten 3-0 at Kilmailing Park, with goals from Mitchell, Greig and Park.  Then, on the following Saturday, 2nd Eastern were defeated 2-0 at Barrowfield Park in Bridgeton.  Mitchell scored the opening goal and the second was an own goal.

The match with Eastern was played according to the Sheffield Association rules to prepare the Queen’s Park side for their trip to Birmingham in the following week.  The Second Eleven’s journey to England proved successful with a 4-3 win over Calthorpe before a “large attendance of spectators”.

After trial matches on the previous two Saturdays, Glasgow met Sheffield at Hampden Park on Saturday 10 February and recorded a narrow 1-0 victory.  Robert Neill, Charles Campbell, James Phillips, Jimmy Weir, Harry McNeil, Willie Mackinnon and Tom Highet all featured in the Glasgow side.

The next two Saturdays featured trial matches for the England v Scotland game at the Kennington Oval on Saturday 3 March 1877.  Robert Neill, Charles Campbell, James Phillips and Willie Mackinnon were selected for the Scotland team that secured a fine 3-1 victory. 

Two days after the England game, Scotland beat Wales 2-0 in Wrexham.  Neill, Campbell and Phillips again featured in this match, as did Harry McNeil.  Charles Campbell, who captained the side, scored one of the goals.

The Glasgow representative side was back in action on Saturday 24 March against the Scotch Counties at Hampden Park.  A crowd of 4,000 saw Glasgow win 2-0.  Robert Neill, Charles Campbell, Tom Highet, Jimmy Weir, Willie McKinnon and Harry McNeil played for Glasgow.  The proceeds of £130 went to Broomhill Home for Incurables.

On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park staged a charity match for the benefit of the widow and family of Sergeant Taylor who had been fatally injured in a disastrous fire in Crosshill.  There was “a numerous assemblage of spectators” and about £16 was handed over to the fund.  The second eleven forwards/first eleven backs beat the first eleven forwards/second eleven backs 4-3.

On Saturday 14 April, Queen’s Park returned to first team action and beat Hamilton FC 3-0 at South Avenue in Hamilton.  The scorers are not known.

A group of influential Glasgow businessmen had raised funds for a new cup competition, with the proceeds to be given to charity.  Queen’s Park were invited to select their opponents to play for this handsome trophy – the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup.  They opted for near neighbours 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers.  They were then asked by the Charity Committee if they would be willing to play a further match against Vale of Leven if they beat the Volunteers.  This was agreed.

Glasgow Merchants' Charity Cup

The Charity Cup match with 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers took place at Hampden Park on Saturday 21 April 1877.  Despite the weather being very wet, there was a good turnout of spectators.  Queen’s won 3-0 with goals from Harry McNeil (2) and Jimmy Weir.

The winner of the Queen’s Park versus 3rd LRV tie had been expected to play Vale of Leven on Saturday 28 April in the Charity Cup Final.  However, Vale had declined to take part “most reluctantly”.  They were unhappy at the reception they had received from the crowd at the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers in the previous month.

Rangers stepped in to replace Vale of Leven in the Final.  There were around 11,000 spectators inside or outside Hampden Park, including the Lord Provosts of Glasgow, Govan and Crosshill.  Queen’s Park won 4-0, with goals from Jimmy Weir (2), Charles Campbell and Andrew Hillcoat.  All the goals were scored in the first half.  The Queen’s Park team was J Dickson, goal; J Taylor (captain) and R W Neill, backs; C Campbell and J Phillips, half-backs; T C Highet, J B Weir, F Tod, W M Mackinnon, A B Hillcoat, and H McNeil.  The Lord Provost of Glasgow presented the cup and gold badges to the Queen’s Park team.  In the evening, the teams were entertained in Mr Ancell’s Restaurant in Glassford Street.  The Charity Cup was filled with wine and handed round the company.

The last game of the season involving Queen’s Park players came on Saturday 5 May when Glasgow met Ayrshire in a match in aid of the Kilmarnock Burns Statue Fund.  The Glasgow side, which won 4-0, included Joe Taylor, Robert Neill, Charles Campbell, James Phillips, Jimmy Weir, Willie McKinnon, Harry McNeil and Tom Highet.

At the Annual General meeting later in May, the Queen’s Park Secretary said that the first team had played 16 games with 1 lost (66 goals for and 3 against), while the second eleven had played 14 matches – won 11, drawn 2, lost 1 (44 goals for and 13 against). 

Results 1876/77

First Team
30/09/1876 Queen’s Park 7 Sandyford 0 – Scottish Cup
07/10/1876 Queen’s Park 5 Notts County 1
14/10/1876 Queen’s Park 3 Clydesdale 0
21/10/1876 Eastern 0 Queen’s Park 7
28/10/1876 Caledonian 0 Queen’s Park 7 – Scottish Cup
04/11/1876 Wanderers (London) 0 Queen’s Park 6
18/11/1876 Queen’s Park 7 Arthurlie 0 – Scottish Cup
02/12/1876 Queen’s Park 4 Northern 0 – Scottish Cup
09/12/1876 Queen’s Park 3 Cambridge University 0
16/12/1876 Queen’s Park 4 Dumbreck 0
30/12/1876 Queen’s Park 1 Vale of Leven 2 – Scottish Cup
06/01/1877 Clydesdale 0 Queen’s Park 1
14/04/1877 Hamilton 0 Queen’s Park 3 
21/04/1877 Queen’s Park 3 3rd LRV 0 – Charity Cup
28/04/1877 Queen’s Park 4 Rangers 0– Charity Cup Final

Second Team
14/10/1876 Second Clydesdale 0 Second QP 3 (0-2 in one report)
28/10/1876 Second QP 4 Second Caledonian 0
04/11/1876 Second QP 2 Mauchline 2
18/11/1876 Second 3rd LRV 1 Second QP 3
25/11/1876 Second QP 2 Second Rangers 1
16/12/1876 Shotts 1 Second QP 3
06/01/1877 Second QP 5 Second Clydesdale 0
20/01/1877 Crosshill 0 Second QP 3
27/01/1877 Second Eastern 0 Second QP 2
03/02/1877 Calthorpe (Birmingham) 3 Second QP 4
03/03/1877 Second QP 1 Crosshill 1
10/03/1877 Mauchline 4 Second QP 1
17/03/1877 Second QP 8 Shotts 0

Representative Matches
10/02/1877 Glasgow 1 Sheffield 0
03/03/1877 England 1 Scotland 3
05/03/1877 Wales 0 Scotland 2
24/03/1877 Glasgow 2 Scotch Counties 0

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