Season 1877/78

The season opened once again with the Queen’s Park Sports at Hampden Park which were “held under the most favourable circumstances as to weather, and in presence of a very large assemblage of spectators.” The Sports took place on Saturdays 1 and 8 September and entries were numerous, with competitors travelling from as far away as London.

Queen’s Park’s first football match of the new season came on Saturday 15 September, with the first eleven beating the second eleven 7-1. This first team versus second team pre-season fixture was to become the norm for Scots clubs for the best part of the next hundred years.

Queen’s Park’s first competitive action of the season came on the following Saturday, with a 1-0 victory over Parkgrove before a crowd of over 1,000 at the Govan club’s new ground Trinidad Park. Harry McNeil headed the only goal five minutes from time from a Jimmy Weir cross. A feature of the match was the splendid performance of Martin, the Parkgrove goalkeeper. 

On Saturday 29 September, Queen’s were in Scottish Cup first round action at Hampden Park, with Whiteinch being defeated 9-0. The scorers are not known.

The following Saturday saw the Welsh Wizards visit Hampden Park. There were about 25 Association clubs in Wales at the time and the Druids’ side was composed of players from the best of these teams. Queen’s won 3-0 before 6,000 plus spectators, with goals from Willie Mackinnon, Tom Highet and Jimmy Weir. 

A week later, Queen’s beat 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 2-0 at a Cathkin Park ground that had been enclosed and improved during the close season. Tom Highet and James Richmond, who had joined the club from Clydesdale, were the scorers.

Queen’s Park once again scratched from the FA Cup.

Queen’s Park returned to Scottish Cup action on Saturday 20 October, beating Clydesdale 2-0 at Titwood Park with goals from Tom Highet and Andrew Peden. Clydesdale had lost several of their best players at the end of the previous season and were unable to mount a real challenge. This was reflected in the size of the crowd. 

On Saturday 27 October, Queen’s Park travelled to the capital to take on a team selected from the Edinburgh Association clubs. The match took place at 3rd Edinburgh Rifle Volunteers’ ground at Powburn before a crowd of nearly 2,000, including a large number of rugby players. The pitch was in extremely poor condition but Queen’s eventually won 2-0, with goals from Fred Tod and Willie Mackinnon in the final 15 minutes.

A week later, Queen’s met old rivals Clydesdale once again at both first and second team level. The first Eleven were 3-0 victors at Titwood (scorers not known), while the Second Eleven won 7-0 at Hampden Park, with goals from Crichton (3), Fraser (2), McGill and Niven.

The following Saturday was a bad day for Queen’s Park, with the club being defeated for only the third time ever and knocked out of the Scottish Cup. Queen’s opponents were the 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers and the game drew a crowd of between 3,000 and 4,000 to Cathkin Park, with a great many more peering over the hoarding round the ground. The only goal of the game came after half an hour. The Queen’s ‘keeper slipped as he attempted to kick the ball clear and William Miller pounced to score.

On Saturday 17 November, Notts County (or Nottinghamshire) made their latest visit to Hampden Park. Queen’s Park won a one-sided match 6-1 before a crowd of around 2,000. Queen’s scored four first half goals. Jimmy Weir got the first in the fourth minute and scored a second not long afterwards. Number three came from a scrimmage, with Willie McKinnon and Andrew Peden forcing the ball under the bar. A few minutes from half-time, Weir got his hat trick. Fred Rothera of Notts County then retired hurt just before the interval. Queen's offered to provide County with a good substitute but the Englishmen opted to continue with ten men. Notts were hard pressed in the second half and Tom Highet scored a further two goals for the home side.  Erasmus Keely pulled one back for County to loud applause. In its report on the match, the Nottinghamshire Guardian commented - "For the Queen's Park the forwards dribbled and passed in capital style, the accuracy with which they manipulated the ball proving more successful than the long kicking and wide crossing of the opposition."

On the following Saturday, despite being without five first team players, Queen’s Park beat Caledonian 5-0 at Hampden Park. The scorers are not known. 

A match had been arranged on Saturday 8 December between Queen’s Park and Vale of Leven to raise funds for the dependants of miners who died in the Blantyre Pit Disaster. Vale withdrew and 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers stepped in. Unfortunately, the match could not go ahead. There was a rumour in town that the match had been postponed due to bad weather and several players failed to appear.  About 600 people had paid at the gate to see the game. Some players from both sides were at the ground and, rather than disappoint the supporters who had braved the weather, took part in a 9-a-side match of an hour's duration between the Queen’s Park forwards and 3rd LRV defence and vice versa. Mr Wallace's side beat Mr Campbell's side 2-1.

The Second Eleven headed south to take on the first teams of Calthorpe (Birmingham) and Stoke on Saturday 8 December and Monday 10 December respectively. Queen’s won 8-0 before "a large and fashionable audience" in Birmingham. The Birmingham Daily Gazette said that Queen's Park was recognised as the strongest club in Britain and had done more to bring Association football into prominence than any other body in the kingdom. The match in Stoke was much tighter. A crowd of 5,000 saw Queen's win 1-0 with a goal from David McGill.

Second Eleven - Season 1877-78

On Saturday 15 December, Cambridge University were the next team from south of the border to visit Hampden Park. The weather was wet and windy and the ground very soft and the 1,250 spectators were left disappointed after a scoreless draw. Only two halves of 35 minutes were played due to the stormy conditions.

On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park and 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers had another attempt to play their match for the Blantyre Relief Fund but again the weather was the winner. There was no third attempt but tickets had been sold in advance for the match and presumably the money was donated to the fund rather than returned to the ticket holders.

The match scheduled for Saturday 29 December was also postponed but this time because Oxford University were unable to raise a team for their visit to Glasgow. Several players were away “presumably for Christmas” and one was ill.

Queen’s Park were back in action on Saturday 5 January 1878 with a 10-0 win over Lancefield at Hampden Park (scorers not known).

A week later, Queen’s made their way to Alexandria and took on Vale of Leven in what the North British Daily Mail described as “the finest match ever played in Scotland”.  John McDougall delighted the home fans in the crowd of around 4,000 by giving Vale the lead in the first half but Queen’s equalised in the second half, through Jimmy Weir, and the game ended a goal apiece. 

On Saturday 19 January, Queen’s Park travelled to Trent Bridge to take on Notts County. A crowd of around 4,000 to 5,000, the largest ever at a football match in Nottingham, saw the Scots win 2-1.  Harry McNeil opened the scoring in four minutes but Cursham equalised for County. Before half-time, Jimmy Weir or George "Geordie" Ker, depending on which report you read, scored the winning goal for Queen’s “after a sharp scrimmage”. In the second half, Notts County were largely on the defensive and Queen’s ran out comfortable winners. The Nottinghamshire Guardian commented “It was very gratifying to note that, notwithstanding the immense concourse which was present, none of the coarseness was indulged in which occasionally form rather a disagreeable characteristic of football matches”.

The following two weeks were taken up by trial matches for the forthcoming Sheffield fixture and it was three weeks before Queen’s Park were in action again, winning 4-0 away to Caledonian.  However, it was the Second Eleven that took the limelight that weekend, with Calthorpe making the trip from Birmingham to Hampden Park. A big crowd was on hand to see Queen’s win 7-0. It was a very one-sided affair.  In the second half, the Queen’s Park ‘keeper did not touch the ball.

While Queen’s were taking on Caledonian, James Phillips, David Davidson, Willie McKinnon, Jimmy Weir and Harry McNeil played in the Glasgow side that beat Sheffield 4-2 at Bramall Lane before a crowd of some 7,000.

Willie Mackinnon

On Saturday 16 February, Queen’s Park headed for Dumbarton to take on Lennox and won 4-1. Tom Highet opened the scoring and Charles Campbell got the fourth with a free kick off the underside of the bar. The other scorers are not known. 

On Saturday 23 February, there was a trial match for the following Saturday’s Scotland v England game. Charles Campbell, James Richmond, Tom Highet, Willie McKinnon and Harry McNeil were selected for the Scotland side that was to secure an emphatic 7-2 victory over the Auld Enemy at Hampden Park. Harry McNeil scored twice in the match and Willie Mackinnon was also on the scoresheet.

On Saturday 9 March, Queen’s Park travelled to Kilmarnock to take on an Ayrshire Association representative side in aid of Kilmarnock Infirmary and Fever Hospital. The afternoon was miserably wet “rendering the ground a puddle, especially near the goals where the tussles occurred”.  Queen’s Park won 2-0. Both goals were scored by James Richmond late in the match.

A week later, Vale of Leven visited Hampden Park for a game that had been anticipated with great interest. Some 12,000 spectators attended the match, an enormous crowd for the time, with 9,000 paying at the gate and the rest viewing proceedings from neighbouring elevated spots. Despite being without goalkeeper John Dickson who had been confined to his house with a serious illness, Queen’s Park had a comfortable 2-0 win. Geordie Ker opened the scoring after 10 minutes with a beautifully judged shot. The second goal arrived in 20 minutes when a Tom Highet shot was diverted into the goal off the leg of John McPherson. Queen’s besieged the Vale goal for much of the rest of the game but there was no further scoring.

On Saturday 23 March, Queen’s Park beat Caledonian 3-0 at Burnbank. The scorers are unknown.  Queen’s were without seven of their usual side, including Robert Neill, James Phillips, David Davidson and Jimmy Weir who played in Scotland’s 9-0 win over Wales at Hampden Park. Weir scored twice in that match.

On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park beat Alexandra Athletic 3-0 in a fine game at Kennyhill Park. The goal scorers were Fraser, Smith and Weir.

A week later, on Saturday 6 April 1878, Queen’s Park took on English opposition once again. Birch, an old and well-known Rugby Union club from Manchester, had challenged Queen’s to a match under Association rules. The match, which created considerable interest in Lancashire football circles, was played at the ground of Manchester Rugby Club at Whalley Range. Birch had been practising hard and drafted in Slaney of Stoke City and the Notts County goalkeeper, Greenhalgh, but it was all to no avail. Queen’s strolled to a 6-0 win before a crowd of 2,000, despite being without several regulars. The Scots were five up at half-time with goals from Geordie Ker, Harry McNeil, Tom Highet (2) and Bob Fraser. Harry McNeil scored the only goal of the second half. The Manchester Courier said that the match was "looked upon as a crusade into what was a hotbed of Rugby unionists".  The newspaper added that it was hardly probable that the Association game would ever become a formidable rival to rugby in the Manchester area. How wrong they were.

The sad news was received that John Dickson, who kept goal for Queen’s Park in the club’s three Scottish Cup’s winning sides, had died at the age of 28. Dickson had also been a prominent oarsman with the Clydesdale Amateur Rowing Club.

On Monday 29 April, Queen’s Park beat Partick FC 4-0 at Whiteinch in a match for the benefit of a Partick player seriously injured in a cup tie with Barrhead. The scorers are not known.

The Queen's Park AGM took place in Glasgow's Lesser Trades' Hall on Thursday 30 April. Joseph Taylor was appointed President; J Baillie, Treasurer; and Angus McKinnon, Secretary. It was reported that the first eleven had played 23 games in the season, with 20 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss (94 goals scored and 5 lost). The second eleven had played 17 games, with 14 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss (70 goals for and 5 against).   

As in the previous season, the competition for the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup did not run smoothly. On 27 April 1878, the North British Daily Mail reported that teams were refusing to play one another in the Charity Cup. A dispute between 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers and Rangers resulted in the Volunteers withdrawing from the competition. The Scottish Football Association then arranged for Vale of Leven to meet Rangers but Vale refused to play the Light Blues. The SFA then decided that Queen’s Park and Vale of Leven would compete for the Cup.

The match for the Charity Cup took place at Hampden Park on Saturday 4 May when Queen’s and Vale met in what was described as the last great match of the season. There was a healthy attendance of around 3,000 and £150 was raised for charity. Queen’s won by the only goal of the game scored in 20 minutes. A fine piece of passing by James Richmond and Willie Mackinnon set up Jimmy Weir for the goal. Queen's thought that they had scored a second on the stroke of half-time but the referee indicated that he had already signalled the end of the first half. The men who won Queen's Park's second Charity Cup were - A R Anderson; R W Neill and J Phillips; C Campbell and D Davidson; J B Weir, J T Richmond, W M Mackinnon, G Ker, T F Smith and H McNeil. 

On Monday 6 May, a letter from Peter McNeil, Honorary Secretary of Rangers, was published in the North British Daily Mail complaining about the Charity Cup fixtures and threatening to withdraw from the SFA if not given publicly a full and satisfactory explanation of the Association’s conduct.

The season ended on Saturday 25 May before around 1,500 spectators at Alexandria. Two mixed sides, selected from the first elevens of Vale of Leven and Queen’s Park, played out an entertaining scoreless draw. After the match, there was dancing on the pitch for a couple of hours, to the music of Bonhill Instrumental Band.

Results 1877/78

First Team
22/09/1877 Parkgrove 0 Queen’s Park 1
29/09/1877 Queen’s Park 9 Whiteinch 0 – Scottish Cup
06/10/1877 Queen’s Park 3 Welsh Druids 0
13/10/1877 3rd LRV 0 Queen’s Park 2
20/10/1877 Clydesdale 0 Queen’s Park 2 – Scottish Cup
27/10/1877 Edinburgh Clubs 0 Queen’s Park 2
03/11/1877 Clydesdale 0 Queen’s Park 3
10/11/1877 3rd LRV 1 Queen’s Park 0 – Scottish Cup
17/11/1877 Queen’s Park 6 Notts County 1
24/11/1877 Queen’s Park 5 Caledonian 0
01/12/1877 1st Lanark Rifle Volunteers 0 Queen’s Park 4
15/12/1877 Queen’s Park 0 Cambridge University 0
05/01/1878 Queen’s Park 10 Lancefield 0
12/01/1878 Vale of Leven 1 Queen’s Park 1
19/01/1878 Notts County 1 Queen’s Park 2
09/02/1878 Caledonian 0 Queen’s Park 4
16/02/1878 Lennox 1 Queen’s Park 4
09/03/1878 Ayrshire Association 0 Queen’s Park 2
16/03/1878 Queen’s Park 2 Vale of Leven 0
23/03/1878 Caledonian 0 Queen’s Park 3
30/03/1878 Alexandra Athletic 0 Queen’s Park 3
06/04/1878 Birch (Manchester) 0 Queen’s Park 6
29/04/1878 Partick 0 Queen’s Park 4
04/05/1878 Queen’s Park 1 Vale of Leven 0 – Glasgow Charity Cup Final

Second Team
22/09/1877 Second QP 10 Shawfield 1
20/10/1877 Renfrew 1 Second QP 3
03/11/1877 Second QP 7 Second Clydesdale 0
10/11/1877 Stonelaw 0 Second QP 0
24/11/1877 Second Caledonian 0 Second QP 3
01/12/1877 Rosslyn 0 Second QP 0
08/12/1877 Calthorpe (Birmingham) 0 Second QP 8
10/12/1877 Stoke 0 Second QP 1
12/01/1878 Second QP 4 Second Vale of Leven 0
19/01/1878 Second QP 10 Lenzie 0
09/02/1878 Second QP 7 Calthorpe (Birmingham) 0
16/02/1878 Second QP 7 Second Lennox 0
06/04/1878 Renfrew 0 Second QP 1
13/04/1878 Uddingston 2 Second QP 1
20/04/1878 Kilmarnock 1 Second QP 5

Representative Matches
09/02/1878 Sheffield 2 Glasgow 4
02/03/1878 Scotland 7 England 2
23/03/1878 Scotland 9 Wales 0


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