Queen’s Park made an early start to the 1879/80 season when they travelled through to Costorphine on Saturday 26 July 1879 to meet a team selected from the Edinburgh clubs. Despite a special train being run from Edinburgh, there were only about 250 spectators at the game. Queen’s won 5-0. George "Geordie" Ker scored twice in the first half but the three second half scorers are not known.
The next match did not take place until Saturday 23 August when Queen’s Park met Rangers in the Public Park in Rothesay for the benefit of the poor of the Island of Bute. There were around 5,000 spectators present, the great majority holidaymakers from Glasgow. Queen’s won 1-0 in a field that was not suitable for football. George Gillespie performed heroics in the Rangers’ goal but was finally beaten by a George Ker shot that “went skimming through”. Over 100 guineas (£105) was collected at the gate and given to the poor of the island.
After not submitting an entry in the previous season, Queen’s Park had decided to enter the FA Cup in 1879/80. The draw was made on Thursday 4 September and Queen’s were drawn against Sheffield FC. As competing for the trophy could have involved repeated journeys across the border, Queen’s once again scratched from the competition.
The annual Queen’s Park Sports took place at Hampden Park on Saturday 6 September after a preliminary event on the previous Saturday. About 5,000 spectators attended and were entertained by the band of the 3rd Lanark Rifles who played “an admirable selection of operatic and dance music”.
On Saturday 13 September, Queen’s Park beat Caledonian 7-0 at Burnbank. On the following Saturday, Queen’s travelled to Kinning Park to take on Rangers in the first round of the Scottish Cup. A closely-fought match ended scoreless.
The Scottish Cup replay with Rangers took place at Hampden Park on Saturday 27 September before a crowd of 5,000. Queen’s Park won 5-1. Jimmy Weir opened the scoring with a “rocket-like shot” and Johnny Kay got a second before half-time. George Ker got the third and “Bird” scored numbers four and five.
The North British Daily Mail reported on two unusual incidents that occurred during the course of the match: - “During the game a frightened hare started off across the park in rear of the grandstand, and made its way past the road followed by thousands of excited eyes, but it was despatched by a dog in the recreation park. Nor was this all. In a few minutes thereafter a loud crackling sound revealed the fact that the old pavilion at the Queen’s Park had fallen, and buried several men and boys in the debris. It was covered with spectators at the time, but fortunately no one was seriously hurt, although several received bruises.”
The scorer of the fourth and fifth goals against Rangers was named as Bird but was in fact James T Richmond. Throughout the season, reports sometimes referred to him as J Bird and at other times T Bird. Occasionally, he was even given his correct name. It is unclear why some players chose to use pseudonyms.
On Saturday 4 October, there was a big crowd at Cathkin Park to see Queen’s Park and 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers play out a scoreless draw. Queen’s Park did the bulk of the attacking but could not breach the Volunteers’ defence.
On Monday 6 October, around 80 gentlemen associated with Queen’s Park met in the St Enoch Restaurant to make a presentation to Joseph “Joe” Taylor on the occasion of his marriage. The player, who had been with the club for nine years, was given a valuable gold watch and a handsome locket for his wife.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park met the 19th Lanark Rifle Volunteers at Hampden Park in the second round of the Scottish Cup. Queen’s recorded a resounding 14-1 victory. The Volunteers held out for 20 minutes but, after Tom Highet opened the scoring, the floodgates opened. Further goals from George Ker, James Richmond, David Davidson, Johnny Kay and Harry McNeil had Queen’s six up at the interval. Another eight goals followed in the second half. Ker got three of these and another two came from Highet and Kay. The scorers of the other two goals are not known.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park won 3-2 at Connel Park in Mauchline.
A report appeared in the North British Daily Mail on Tuesday 21 October 1879 of Queen’s Park winning 3-1 away to Milton of Campsie. The report did not specify the date on which the match took place but it has to be assumed that it was Saturday 18 October.
On Saturday 25 October, Queen’s Park beat 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 6-0 before a crowd of 1,500 at Hampden Park. Although there had been a number of changes in the Volunteers’ line-up since the sides last met, a Queen’s victory by such a wide margin had not been anticipated. Queen’s Park were four up at the interval. According to the Glasgow Herald, the goals came from James Richmond, Willie Mackinnon, “severe tussle” and Richmond again. The North British Daily Mail, however, gave the scorers of the second and third goals as Jimmy Weir and Tom Highet. The second half scorers were Richmond and Mackinnon “after a brilliant run”.
On Saturday 1 November, Queen’s Park were back in Scottish Cup action, defeating Partick FC 5-1 at Hampden Park in their third round tie. The goals came from an own goal, James Richmond, Tom Highet, not known and Jimmy Weir. Nisbet scored for Partick seconds before the end.
There was a large attendance at the Holm Quarry Ground in Kilmarnock on Saturday 8 November 1879 to see Queen’s Park beat an Ayrshire Association select side 3-1. Jimmy Weir scored the only goal of the first half with a splendid shot. Johnny Kay doubled the lead and the Ayrshire ‘keeper gave away a third goal near the end when he threw the ball between his own posts when attempting to clear.
On the same day, the Second Eleven travelled to London to take on Pilgrims, one of the biggest clubs in the London area. The match was played at the Kennington Oval and Queen’s Park won 2-0 with goals from W Holm and W Peden. Misty weather and an admission charge of one shilling restricted the crowd to around 500. The match was refereed by Charles Alcock of Wanderers. The Daily Telegraph and Courier reported - "But for the admirable play of the Pilgrims' goalkeeper, the victory would have been far more decisive."
On Monday 10 November, in what was becoming an annual event, the Second Eleven moved on to Stoke-on-Trent to meet the Stoke first eleven. Excursions were run from all over the Potteries area and a crowd of over 4,000 attended the match. Queen’s Park won 2-1. Day opened the scoring for the home side but G Ferguson equalised and then William Holm struck the winner.
On Saturday 15 November, the annual match between Queen’s Park and Notts County attracted some 6,000 spectators to Hampden Park. The first half of the match was played according to the Sheffield rules and the second half by the Scottish rules. Queen’s went two up through goals from Bob Fraser and Geordie Ker but Notts pulled one back from a scrimmage before half-time. In the second half, John Morgan of Notts prevented three goals by handling the ball but the free kicks came to nothing. (There were no penalty kicks in those days.) Queen’s Park scored twice more to make the final score 4-1. The scorer of the third is unknown but James Richmond got number four. The teams dined in the Athole Arms Hotel after the game and the Notts’ players left on the 9.15pm train.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park were on Scottish Cup fourth round duty against Strathblane at Hampden Park. A large number of Strathblane supporters came by train. The Strathblane players were late in arriving and the match was played in two halves of 40 minutes. Queen’s Park were 3-1 up at the interval and got another seven in a second half in which the Strathblane goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory. The scorers of the Queen’s Park goals in a 10-1 victory were Eadie Fraser (5), George Ker (3), Johnny Kay and David Davidson.
On Saturday 29 November 1879, Queen’s Park faced old foes Vale of Leven in Alexandria. The match had created considerable interest and a special train left Glasgow’s Queen Street Station at 1.30pm for Alexandria. A crowd of between 3,000 and 4,000 saw Queen’s go down to a 3-0 defeat.
There were no matches played in Glasgow on the following two Saturdays due to frozen pitches.
On Saturday 20 December, Queen’s Park beat Hurlford 15-1 at Hampden Park in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. The Queen’s scorers were George Ker (5), J B Watson (5), James Richmond (2), Tom Highet (2) and Johnny Kay. The Glasgow Herald reported that Hurlford “received little assistance from their goalkeeper, who seemed to fear instead of being anxious to repel the approach of the ball.” The North British Daily Mail, the only newspaper to give the scorers in this game, credited “J B Watson” with five goals. Could this have been J B Weir? The Nottinghamshire Guardian report of the Notts County v Queen’s Park game in February 1879 also listed J B Watson in the Queens line-up so maybe it was that player who went nap against Hurlford.
The Scottish Football Association had taken the ambitious decision to organise a tour of Canada in the close season. Players who would be available for the tour were identified and a series of trial matches was arranged. On Thursday 1 January, Friday 2 January and Saturday 3 January 1880, the Scottish Team for Canada, generally known as the Scotch Canadian Team, played Rangers, Newcastle and Blackburn Rovers respectively. William Somers, George Ker and Johnny Kay played in the first and third games but the line-up for the match at Newcastle is not known. Several more trial matches were played but the tour came to nothing following the death in the following April of William Dick, the Secretary of the SFA, who was the driving force behind the idea.
The Queen’s Park first eleven were not back in action until Saturday 10 January when they defeated Caledonian 7-1 at Hampden Park. The scorers are not known.
Queen’s Park had received a bye in the sixth round of the Scottish Cup and, on Saturday 17 January, they met Dumbarton at Hampden Park in the seventh round or semi-final of the competition before a crowd of around 6,500. The ground was hard due to frost. The match was looked upon as being the one that would virtually settle the destination of the cup. Queen’s Park scored the only goal of the game with around 14 minutes to go. After a scrimmage in front of goal, Tom Highet passed to George Ker who dashed in to score despite the best efforts of the goalkeeper. The North British Daily Mail reported that “the cheer which greeted this success on the part of the Queen’s Park was heard all over the enclosure and re-echoed by the crowd outside.”
Saturday’s 31 January and 7 February saw trial matches for Glasgow’s annual clash with Sheffield.
Also on Saturday 7 February, the Scotch Team for Canada played the first of three practice games in England. The team travelled to their base in Manchester on the Friday and, on the following day, won 7-3 in Darwen in Lancashire. On Monday 9 February, the Scotland side beat Manchester Wanderers 8-1 and, a day later, they beat Nottingham Forest 2-0. William Somers, Johnny Kay and Harry McNeil played in all three matches. David Davidson played in the first game.
The Scotch Team for Canada were in action again on Saturday 14 February, drawing 2-2 with Scotch Counties at Kinning Park. William Thomson, William Somers, David Davidson, George Ker and Johnny Kay played. On the same day, a weakened Glasgow side beat Sheffield 1-0 at Sheaf House Gardens, Bramall Lane in Sheffield before a crowd of 4,000. Charles Campbell and Eadie Fraser played for Glasgow. A further member of the Glasgow team, J Campbell, was listed as being a Queen’s Park player but his name does not crop up anywhere else.
While members of the first team were on representative duty, the Second Eleven met Stoke at Hampden Park before a “fair attendance”. Queen’s Park won 7-1. It was 3-0 at half-time, with goals from Ferguson, Fraser and from a scrimmage. Lawrie (2), Fraser and Ferguson added four more in the second half. After the match, the teams went to the Athole Arms Hotel in Dundas Street where “Amid toast, song and sentiment a happy evening was spent.”
On Saturday 21 February 1880, Queen’s Park and Thornliebank contested the Scottish Cup Final at Cathkin Park. There were close upon 5,000 spectators inside the ground but possibly a greater number on elevated spots round the ground who had been reluctant to pay enhanced prices to sit in the open air on a dirty wet afternoon. The ground was soft after heavy rain and was in a very poor state in places.
Underdogs Thornliebank fought determinedly and it took Queen’s Park 35 minutes to go into the lead. An expertly-taken Bob Neill corner kick resulted in a melee in front of goal and James Richmond got the final touch. Just before half-time, Queen’s went two up when a George Ker shot was deflected in off a Thornliebank defender. Despite constant Queen’s pressure, the third goal did not arrive until the 90th minute. After a brilliant run down the wing, Richmond passed to Jimmy Weir. He in turn headed the ball to Tom Highet who sent it between the posts. Thornliebank were fortunate to escape with only a three goal defeat.
The Queen’s Park team that secured a fourth Scottish Cup was – J Graham, goal; W S Somers and R W Neill, backs; C Campbell and D Davidson, half-backs; J B Weir, J T Richmond, G Ker, T C Highet, J Kay, and H McNeil, forwards.
The ceremony of handing over the Scottish Cup and gold badges to the winning team took place at Mr Pigott’s St Enoch Restaurant on the following Tuesday.
The Hampden Eleven were also in action on Cup Final day, beating Falkirk 4-2 at Hampden Park, as were the Scotch Team for Canada who beat the Ayrshire Clubs 3-1 at Rugby Park (William Thomson and Bob Fraser played).
On the following two Saturdays, there were trial matches for the upcoming Scotland v England match. The match itself took place on Saturday 13 March 1880. A second grandstand was erected at Hampden Park prior to the game. Scotland won 5-4 before a crowd of between 10,000 and 12,000. Bob Neill, Charles Campbell, George Ker and Johnny Kay played. Ker scored a hat-trick and Kay was also on the scoresheet. On the same day, the Scotch Team for Canada beat Heart of Midlothian 5-1 at Powderhall.
There was another international trial match on Saturday 20 March, this time in relation to the upcoming Scotland v Wales game. The Wales game took place on Saturday 27 March 1880. William Somers, David Davidson and Eadie Fraser played in the Scotland side that won 5-1 at Hampden Park. Davidson scored the opening goal.
On Monday 29 March, Manchester Wanderers were the visitors to Hampden Park. Queen’s Park won 2-0 before a crowd of around 650. The goals came towards the end of the match from David Davidson and Tom Highet. The Manchester side arrived several players short and their places were taken by well-known Glasgow players.
Saturday 3 April 1880 was a high-scoring day for Queen’s Park who beat an Edinburgh Association select 16-0 at Hampden Park. The Edinburgh team, drawn chiefly from the University and Brunswick clubs, was very weak. The scorers were George Ker (5), John Smith (3), Harry McNeil (2), Johnny Kay (2), Eadie Fraser (2), Bob Fraser and David Davidson.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park won 3-2 at Connel Park in Mauchline.
On Tuesday 13 April, Queen’s Park went down 1-0 to Caledonian at Burnbank. Charles Thomson scored the only goal of the game five minutes before half-time. Due to a late start, it was arranged to play two half hours.
The Scotch Team for Canada were in Edinburgh on the following Saturday facing Hibernian. The Scotch Team won 3-0 before a crowd of around 5,500. The team is not known but Johnny Kay scored twice.
On Wednesday 21 April, the Sheffield Zulus visited Hampden Park. The Sheffield players were in Zulu costume and, as the game progressed in heavy rain, they cut an increasingly comical appearance as they splashed about in the rain and mud. Queen’s Park won 7-0 with goals from Tom Highet (3), Eadie Fraser (2), David Davidson and James Richmond.
On Saturday 24 April, Queen’s Park and Vale of Leven met at Hampden Park in the first round of the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup. The crowd of around 5,500 saw Queen’s Park reverse the previous season’s score with a 4-0 victory. Queen’s were one up at the interval through George Ker and second half goals followed from Tom Highet, John Smith and Johnny Kay.
The Queen’s Park Annual General Meeting took place on Thursday 29 April 1880 in the Marie Stuart Hotel in Crosshill. The match secretary Hugh Wylie reported that the First Eleven had played 21 games during the season, with 18 wins, two draws and one loss (112 goals for and 11 against). The Second Eleven had also played 21 games, with 16 wins, one draw and four losses (70 goals for and 25 against). The Hampden Eleven had played 20 matches, with 15 wins, two draws and three losses (47 goals for and 21 against).
Despite the AGM having taken place, the season was not yet over. On Saturday 8 May 1880, Queen’s Park met Rangers at Hampden Park in the Charity Cup Final. The game did not live up to expectations. Queen’s took the lead around the half hour mark with a firmly-hit George Ker daisy-cutter from 20 yards. The Queen’s Park goalkeeper did not touch the ball in the first half. Early in the second half, Rangers equalised against the run of play through Willie Pringle. Queen’s appealed for offside. The umpires were divided but the referee gave the goal and the match finished one apiece. The Queen’s Park was A Rowan, goal; W S Somers and R W Neill, backs; A Watson, C Campbell, and D Davidson, half-backs; T C Highet, E Fraser, G Ker, J Smith, and J Kay, forwards.
The replay took place at Kinning Park before a crowd of 5,000 to 6,000. Every available vantage point outside the ground was fully occupied by fans of all ages. Rangers had the better of the early play and took the lead in 15 minutes through David Hill. The game was very rough and, towards the end of the first half, Bob Neill was injured and could take no further part. In the second half, Queen’s Park, with ten men and with George Ker very lame, defended bravely. The game appeared to be petering out but, with 12 minutes remaining, Queen’s equalised with a fine long shot from David “Iron Horse” Davidson. Then, as time was running out, James Richmond got the winner for Queen’s Park. At least, the majority of reports gave the goal to Richmond. The Evening News, however, said that Richmond was not playing, having been replaced by E Fraser. This seems likely to have been incorrect. Rangers appealed that the ball had been in touch before being crossed by Johnny Kay for Richmond to score. The appeal was turned down and the Rangers players refused to continue. Time was called before the Rangers players returned to the centre of the field to restart the game and Queen’s Park ran out 2-1 winners.
The Queen’s Park team seems likely to have been A Rowan, goal; R W Neill and W S Somers, backs; D Davidson (captain), C Campbell, and A Watson, half-backs; J Holm, J T Richmond, G Ker, J Smith, and J Kay, forwards.
Some newspaper reports named the Queen’s Park goalkeeper in the two games with Rangers as A Gough rather than Archie Rowan. Could A Gough and A Rowan have been the same person?
Queen’s Park’s final game of the 1879/80 season came on Saturday 15 May when Clapham Rovers visited Hampden Park. The Scottish and English cup holders met to raise money for Mrs Dick, the mother of the late secretary of the Scottish Football Association. It seems likely that the money will have gone to the Dick Memorial Fund, which provided for the erection of a substantial monument over the 29-year-old administrator’s grave in Glasgow’s Necropolis. The first half was played under Scottish rules and the second under English rules. Harry McNeil opened the scoring for Queen’s Park after half an hour but Edward Ram made it 1-1 at half-time. Cazanove scored a second for Clapham five minutes into the second half but Queen’s equalised when a William Somers corner kick was forced through goal. Queen’s Park then mounted attack after attack and were rewarded when another expertly-taken Somers corner was forced home.
26/07/1879 Edinburgh Select 0 Queen’s Park 5
23/08/1879 Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 0
13/09/1879 Caledonian 0 Queen’s Park 7
20/09/1879 Rangers 0 Queen’s Park 0 – Scottish Cup
27/09/1879 Queen’s Park 5 Rangers 1 – Scottish Cup
04/10/1879 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 0 Queen’s Park 0
11/10/1879 Queen’s Park 14 19th Lanark Rifle Volunteers 1
18/10/1879 Milton of Campsie 1 Queen’s Park 3
25/10/1879 Queen’s Park 6 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 0
01/11/1879 Queen’s Park 5 Partick 1 – Scottish Cup
08/11/1879 Ayrshire Association 0 Queen’s Park 3
15/11/1879 Queen’s Park 4 Notts County 1
22/11/1879 Queen’s Park 10 Strathblane 1 – Scottish Cup
29/11/1879 Vale of Leven 3 Queen’s Park 0
20/12/1879 Queen’s Park 15 Hurlford 1 – Scottish Cup
10/01/1880 Queen’s Park 7 Caledonian 1
17/01/1880 Queen’s Park 1 Dumbarton 0 – Scottish Cup
21/02/1880 Queen’s Park 3 Thornliebank 0 – Scottish Cup Final
29/03/1880 Queen’s Park 2 Manchester Wanderers 0
03/04/1880 Queen’s Park 16 Edinburgh Association 0
10/04/1880 Mauchline 2 Queen’s Park 3
13/04/1880 Caledonian 1 Queen’s Park 0
21/04/1880 Queen’s Park 7 Sheffield Zulus 0
24/04/1880 Queen’s Park 4 Vale of Leven 0 – Glasgow Charity Cup
08/04/1880 Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 1 – Glasgow Charity Cup Final
12/04/1880 Rangers 1 Queen’s Park 2 – Glasgow Charity Cup Final Replay
15/05/1880 Queen’s Park 3 Clapham Rovers 2
20/09/1879 Kilbirnie 0 Second QP 1
04/10/1879 Second QP 2 Second 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 0
18/10/1879 Hurlford 5 Second QP 4
23/10/1879 Johnstone Athletic 0 Second QP 1
25/10/1879 Second 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 1 Second QP 4
01/11/1879 Whitefield 1 Second QP 4
03/11/1879 Pilgrims (London) 0 Second QP 2
10/11/1879 Stoke 1 Second QP 2
22/11/1879 Petershill 3 Second QP 3
29/11/1879 Second QP 2 Second Vale of Leven 1
20/12/1879 Drumpellier 0 Second QP 6
03/01/1880 Kilmarnock 2 Second QP 0
10/01/1880 Second Rangers 3 Second QP 2
24/01/1880 Second QP 0 Partick Thistle 1
31/01/1880 Ayr 1 Second QP 3
07/02/1880 Second 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 0 Second QP 4
14/02/1880 Second QP 7 Stoke 1
06/03/1880 Renfrew 0 Second QP 2
03/04/1880 Irvine 3 Second QP 8
18/10/1879 Renfrew Ramblers 0 Hampden Eleven 1
23/10/1879 Second Eaglesham 1 Hampden Eleven 6
03/11/1879 Bellshill 1 Hampden Eleven 2
15/11/1879 St Mirren 0 Hampden Eleven 3
22/11/1879 Cartside 0 Hampden Eleven 1
29/11/1879 Possil Blue Bell 2 Hampden Eleven 0
20/12/1879 Falkirk 2 Hampden Eleven 1
03/01/1880 Hampden Eleven 3 Cartside 0
10/01/1880 Dennistoun 0 Hampden Eleven 1
31/01/1880 Bellshill 1 Hampden Eleven 3
14/02/1880 Barrhead 1 Hampden Eleven 2
21/02/1880 Hampden Eleven 4 Falkirk 2
06/03/1880 St Mirren 4 Hampden Eleven 1
20/03/1880 Ardayre 1 Hampden Eleven 2*
27/03/1880 Caledonian Burnbank Eleven 1 Hampden Eleven 1
13/04/1880 Hampden Eleven 2 Pollokshaws Athletic 0
17/04/1880 Second Heart of Midlothian 2 Hampden Eleven 4
*Some reports gave the score as 1-1
14/02/1880 Sheffield 0 Glasgow 1
13/03/1880 Scotland 5 England 4
27/03/1880 Scotland 5 Wales 1
14/02/1880 Sheffield 0 Glasgow 1
13/03/1880 Scotland 5 England 4
27/03/1880 Scotland 5 Wales 1