At a meeting of the Football Association in London on Monday 20 July 1885, professionalism in English football was adopted by a large majority. Professional players would not be allowed to play for more than one club in a season and would have to be registered annually with the FA.
Queen’s Park’s opening game of season 1885/86 took place on Saturday 22 August 1885. Queen’s travelled to Dundee to play Strathmore at Rollo’s Pier and recorded a 3-1 victory. William Harrower scored all three goals.
Queen’s Park’s first home game of the season took place on Saturday 29 August. The occasion was a Scottish Cup first round tie against Partick side St Peter’s. Queen’s won 16-0 in a completely one-sided match. George Gillespie was only called upon once “to defend his charge”. The goal scorers are not known but the North British Daily Mail reported that Robert Christie “obtained nearly half the goals”. This would imply that he scored seven times. The names of the St Peter’s players would suggest that they were of Irish origin. The 16-0 victory remains to this day Queen’s Park’s record score.
A week later, Queen’s Park’s Amateur Sports were held at Hampden Park. Despite the morning having been wet, a crowd of over 6,000 attended. Many athletes from England travelled north to take part. The North British Daily Mail commented that the Sports “… proved on of the most enjoyable, if not, indeed, the finest athletic displays ever seen in Scotland”.
On Wednesday 9 September, Queen’s Park and Rangers met at Hampden Park in a benefit match for the former Queen’s Park and Scotland star Eadie Fraser, who was suffering from ill health. Rangers won a fast-paced match by two goals to one. The scorers are not known.
A special committee of the Scottish Football Association met in Glasgow on Thursday 10 September to consider the issue of professionalism. The meeting came out strongly in favour of Scottish football remaining amateur. There was also a substantial majority in favour of a bye-law preventing Scots clubs playing against professional sides.
On Saturday 12 September, Queen’s Park met Hibernian at Easter Road. Despite stormy weather, which left the pitch soft and slippery, a large crowd turned out for the game. An understrength Queen’s Park side lost 2-1. William Watt scored the Spiders’ goal.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park welcomed Blackburn Rovers to Hampden Park. Earlier in the week, Queen’s had received a telegram from Rovers stating that, due to the SFA refusing to recognise professional players, they were unable to send their full team north. They would instead send a scratch side of amateur players. Queen’s Park won the match 7-1 before a crowd of 3,000, with goals from William Watt, William Harrower, Jimmy Hamilton (2), John Lambie, Robert Christie and David Allan. The Blackburn side, minus their imported Scotsmen, were no match for the Spiders. On the same afternoon, Rovers fielded a professional side against local rivals Blackburn Olympic and won 3-0.
On Saturday 26 September, the visit of Rangers attracted a big crowd to Hampden Park. Queen’s Park won a somewhat unpleasant game 3-2. The Queen’s goal scorers were John Lambie, William Harrower and Robert Christie. McKenzie and Somerville replied for the Light Blues.
A week later, Queen’s Park were in Scottish Cup second round action against Pilgrims at Hampden Park. The game had had been expected to be very one-sided, following Pilgrims’ 10-1 loss to Vale of Leven on the previous weekend, and the attendance was meagre. However, the Govan side did very well and lost narrowly by the only goal of the game. The scorer of the goal is not known.
On Thursday 8 October, Queen’s Park journeyed to Ayr for a match with Ayr FC. The match generated great interest in the town. The result was a 2-2 draw. The strength of the Queen’s Park side is not known.
There were further English visitors to Hampden Park on Saturday 10 October. On this occasion, it was old friends Notts County. Although the County side consisted of only amateur players, a large crowd saw some fine football. Queen’s Park won 5-1, with goals from E Evans, Robert Christie, William Harrower (2) and John Lambie.
The North British Daily Mail reported on Wednesday 14 October that the SFA had resolved, in association with the Irish and Welsh Associations, to recommend to the English FA that they play amateurs only in the forthcoming international matches.
On Monday 17 October, Queen’s Park met Dumbarton at Boghead Park. The match created “the greatest possible interest” and the ropes and grandstand were crowded long before kick-off. A splendid game ended in a 3-2 victory for the Spiders. The goals came from Ninian McWhannell (2) and Jimmy Hamilton.
Queen’s Park had been drawn away to East Stirlingshire in the third round of the Scottish Cup. In a preview of the match, the Evening Times said - “The premier club must not look upon their opponents as mere juveniles. They can play an excellent passing and dribbling game, and when urged on by their genial president and his supporters they make a determined effort before they succumb.” The match took place at Bainsford on Saturday 24 October and resulted in a 3-0 win for Queen’s Park.
No fewer than five Scottish clubs had entered that season’s English FA Cup competition and, in the first round, Queen’s Park found themselves drawn at home to Partick Thistle. The tie took place on Saturday 31 October and a crowd of around 8,000 attended, despite heavy rain. Thistle took the lead through Johnston but Queen’s hit back with five unanswered goals through George Somerville (2), David Allan, Jimmy Hamilton and unknown to progress to the second round. However, the Spiders did not get to play in the second round. Due to the difference in the rules of the two countries in relation to professional players, the club decided to take no further part in that season’s competition.
On Saturday 7 November, Queen’s Park met Rangers for the second time in the season. The game took place at Kinning Park and attracted a crowd of 4,000 on a fine afternoon. Queen’s won 4-0, with goals from Jimmy Hamilton (2), an own goal and a goal arising from a scrimmage. The Queen’s Park side was – G Gillespie; W Arnott and A Watson; C Campbell and J Gow; J Lambie, J Hamilton, G Somerville, D Allan, W Harrower and W Gray.
A week later, Airdrieonians visited Hampden Park in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup. There had been heavy snow and sleet on the morning of the match, but the afternoon was more pleasant. The Airdrie goalkeeper was in brilliant form and it took the Spiders 80 minutes to score the only goal of the game. William Watt was the scorer after fine play by Jimmy Hamilton and David Allan.
Queen’s Park had been scheduled to travel to Birmingham on Saturday 21 November to take on Aston Villa. However, not all of the first eleven could get away for the game and Villa would have had to field a purely amateur side. As a result, it was decided to call off the fixture. They arranged instead a match with Pollokshields Athletic at Hampden Park. A small crowd saw Queen’s win 2-0, with goals from John Lambie and William Watt.
The first eleven was not in action on Saturday 28 November but a number of first team players did take the field. They travelled to Dundee as part of the Queen’s Park Musical and Dramatic Association. In the afternoon, the Queen’s lads beat Our Boys 4-1 in front of 4,000 spectators at West Craigie, with goals from George Somerville (2), Jimmy Hamilton and an own goal. In the evening, the Association provided an evening of entertainment before a “large and highly appreciative audience” in the Caird Hall.
Saturday 5 December 1885 was Scottish Cup 5thround day and Queen’s Park had been drawn away to Arthurlie. Queen’s won the match 2-1. The scorers are not known. On the same afternoon, Glasgow met London at the Kennington Oval. There were no Queen’s Park players in the Glasgow side, although three players with Queen’s Park connections – Woody Gray, William McLeod and Bill Sellar – did feature. Despite fielding what was considered a weak team, the Scots won 5-2. There was also action at Hampden Park. Glasgow met Edinburgh in the inter-city rugby match, with the home side winning by a goal and a try to a try.
A week later, Queen’s beat Abercorn 4-1 at Hampden Park. The scorer of the first goal is not known but the other goals came from William Watt, John Lambie and E Evans.
The debate about professionalism raged on and, in the following few days, the English FA announced that they were unable to accede to the request by the Scottish, Welsh and Irish Associations to play only amateurs in the international matches and the SFA refused to allow Corinthians to include Scottish players in matches against Lancashire professional clubs.
On Saturday 19 December, Queen’s Park and Dumbarton played out a 2-2 draw at Hampden Park. David Allan and John Lambie got the Queen’s goals.
On Boxing Day, Queen’s Park played Blackburn Rovers at the Leamington Road ground in Blackburn. The crowd of 4,000 was said to have been the largest at the venue for some time. Due to the SFA’s ban on Scots clubs facing professional opponents, Blackburn were compelled to field a team of amateurs. They borrowed players from Blackburn Olympic, Darwen, Church, Northwich Victoria and Blackpool. Queen’s Park won 3-0. Jimmy Hamilton got the first two goals. The scorer of the third is not known.
Corinthians were the visitors to Hampden Park on New Year’s Day. The North British Daily Mail described the visitors as a “combination of the best football talent in England, and include crack players from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, besides members attached to leading London clubs”. Despite disappointing weather, a large crowd of around 8,000 was in attendance to see the sides fight out a 2-2 draw. Robert Christie and Alex “Alick” Hamilton scored the Queen’s goals.
While the first eleven was drawing with the Corinthians in Glasgow, Queen’s Park’s second eleven, the Strollers, were in Birmingham facing Aston Villa’s second string. The match at Wellington Road in Perry Barr drew a crowd of some 8,000. The Villa side contained only amateur players. The match ended in a 2-2 draw, with the Queen’s goals coming from a scrimmage and Jimmy Hamilton. Two days later, the Strollers met Derby Midland in Derby. The biggest crowd of the season at the ground saw Queen’s Park win 3-0, with goals from Jamieson (2) and Jimmy Hamilton.
Due to frost and snow, there were few games played on Saturday 9 January 1886 and Queen’s Park were not in action. The weather was not much better a week later when Queen’s Park were to face 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers at Cathkin Park in the seventh round or semi-final of the Scottish Cup. (Queen’s had received a bye in the sixth round.). Snow fell constantly all morning and well into the afternoon. Despite doubt as to whether the game would go ahead, between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators turned out. The Queen’s Park forwards kept their feet better than their opponents and the Spiders were 3-0 ahead at half-time. Robert Christie opened the scoring with a header, either George Somerville or William Harrower got the second (reports varied) and Somerville fired in number three. The 3rd LRV’s captain protested at the game being played in such terrible conditions and said at the interval that three of his men were suffering from exposure. The Volunteers decided not to come out for the second half. Queen’s Park, however, did come out and dribbled the ball between the posts to claim the tie. The Volunteers’ refusal to continue did not prove popular and the Glasgow Herald reported – “The spectators were much disappointed, and exhibited their wrath against the Volunteers in various ways.” 3rd LRV protested at the referee’s decision to award the tie to Queen’s Park. The protest was considered by the SFA Business Committee on the following Thursday and was dismissed.
On 26 January 1886, the SFA decided not to allow Scottish players to play against professional sides in private or international matches.
Queen’s Park were at Gourlay Park in Springburn on Saturday 30 January. A crowd of around 1,000 on a day of poor weather saw the Spiders win 3-1, with goals from George Somerville (2) and David Allan.
Snow put paid to the following Saturday’s fixtures and Queen’s Park’ next match was on Saturday 13 February. The occasion was the Scottish Cup Final against Renton at Cathkin Park. Rain fell in torrents during the first half of the game and there was a gusty wind, but the crowd was treated to a good afternoon’s entertainment in difficult circumstances. There were about 8,000 spectators around the ropes and the surrounding vantage points were fully occupied. Not all of the spectators were able to get a good view of the action. The North British Daily Mail reported – “Much dissatisfaction was expressed by many who came late at being unable to get within half a dozen yards of the ropes.”
With the wind at their backs, Queen’s Park had the better of the first half of the final and led 1-0 at the interval through a well-judged shot by John Lambie. The second half was more evenly-balanced, and Renton equalised from a Bob Kelso free kick a few yards from goal. It was against the rules at the time to score direct from a free kick and Queen’s Park protested that the ball had not been touched on its way between the posts. The umpires could not agree and the referee ruled in Renton’s favour. Queen’s then suffered a blow when Robert Christie had to leave the field ‘dead lame”. He returned eventually but was a virtual passenger. In the final 30 minutes, the depleted Queen’s Park side showed great determination. William Harrower put the Spiders 2-1 ahead after a brilliant run by Alex Hamilton and the incapacitated Robert Christie sealed the victory with a clever header from a Hamilton corner kick. (One report credited David Allan with the third goal.). This was the eighth occasion on which Queen’s Park had won the Scottish Cup.
The Cup Final teams were: -
Queen’s Park– G Gillespie; W Arnott and A Watson; C Campbell and J J Gow; R M Christie, G Somerville, A Hamilton, D S Allan, W Harrower and J A Lambie.
Renton – J A Lindsay; A Hannah and A McCall; R Kelso and D McKechnie; J Thomson, J McCall, A Grant, H McIntyre, A Barbour and J Kelly.
A week after the Cup Final, Queen’s Park were back in England for a match with old friends Notts County. The match attracted a crowd of 6,000 to Trent Bridge. An understrength Queen’s Park side faced an amateur Notts County line-up that included several players brought in from other clubs. The only goal of the game came from Jackson of Notts County with 15 minutes to go. This was the English club’s first ever win over Queen’s Park.
Queen’s Park were not in action on Saturday 27 February. However, five Queen’s players turned out for Glasgow in the fourth annual match with Edinburgh at Hampden Park. They were George Gillespie, Walter Arnott, Charles Campbell, Alex Hamilton and George Somerville. Alex Hamilton scored the first goal in a 3-0 win for Glasgow before a crowd of around 4,500. Woody Gray (Pollokshields Athletic) and William Sellar (Battlefield) were the other scorers.
On the following Saturday, Queen’s Park had been due to play the Corinthians at the Oval in London, but insufficient players were available to travel. As an alternative, a match was arranged with Edinburgh University on the rugby ground at Corstorphine. The clubs agreed that it would be an unofficial match lasting 60 minutes as the pitch was covered with snow. Queen’s Park won 2-1 with goals from William Turner and William Harrower. Robert Christie played for the University.
The Evening Times reported on Tuesday 9 March 1886 that the dispute between the English FA and the SFA over professionalism seemed likely to be settled and the Scotland v England match on 27 March was expected to go ahead. A trial match between the Probables and the Improbables took place at Hampden Park on the following Saturday. A number of Queen’s Park players were involved.
On Saturday 20 March, Scotland beat Ireland 7-2 before a crowd of 3,000 at the Ulster Football Ground in Belfast. John Lambie was the only Queen’s Park player in the side and scored one of the goals. William Turner (Pollokshields Athletic) and William McLeod (Cowlairs) also played. Back in rain-soaked Glasgow, Queen’s Park beat 3rd Lanark Rifle Volunteers 6-0 at Hampden Park. The scorers were George Somerville (2), William Harrower (2), Jimmy Hamilton and Woody Gray.
The Scotland v England match took place on the following Saturday. Despite drenching rain throughout, Hampden Park was almost full, with over 10,000 in attendance. Walter Arnott captained Scotland and Charles Campbell, Alex Hamilton and George Somerville also played, as did Queen’s Park members Woody Gray (Pollokshields Athletic), John MacDonald (Edinburgh University) and William Sellar (Battlefield). England fielded one professional player – James Forrest. The SFA insisted that he wear a different shirt from the rest of the England team.
On Saturday 3 April 1886, Preston North End’s professional side visited Hampden Park for what the North British Daily Mail described as – “A trial of football ability between a team of Scottish amateurs and an eleven of Scotch professionals residing in England.” The biggest crowd yet at the second Hampden Park, up to 15,000, attended the match. In some places, the spectators were a dozen rows deep. Queen’s Park were without Charles Campbell, John MacDonald and Robert Christie and many feared a heavy defeat. However, Queen’s rose to the occasion and led by a William Harrower goal until the last minute of the ninety when Preston equalised. In the view of the Evening Times, the honour of Scottish football had been maintained.
A week later, Scotland beat Wales 4-1 at Hampden Park. George Gillespie, William Harrower and David Allan played for the Scots’ side, with Allan scoring the third goal. While their team mates were on international duty, a Queen’s Park side, comprising a mixture of first and second eleven players, travelled to Perth to take on St Johnstone. The match at the St Johnstone Recreation Grounds ended in a 5-0 win for Queen’s Park. The scorers are not known.
The Corinthians were back at Hampden Park on Saturday 17 April. A crowd of around 5,500 saw Queen’s Park win an evenly-contested game by a single Alex Hamilton goal.
Queen’s Park were not in action on the following Saturday, but five Queen’s men were part of a team called Scotch Crusaders. Queen’s Park had been due to meet Aston Villa in Birmingham, but insufficient platers were available. A scratch side was put together to fulfil the fixture. Despite the change of opposition, the game still attracted a crowd of 10,000 to the Wellington Road ground in Parry Barr. The Crusaders beat Villa 2-1.
On Saturday 1 May, Queen’s Park met Renton at Hampden Park in the first of the Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup ties. A crowd of around 4,000 saw Queen’s go down to an unexpectedly heavy defeat by five goals to two. Alex Hamilton and David Allan got the Queen’s Park goals. The following week’s Scottish Athletic Journal reported “We have it on very good authority that Mr. Charles Campbell of the Queen’s Park, and undoubtedly in his prime the finest half-back in Scotland, played his last game on Saturday.”
A week later, a considerably understrength Queen’s Park team met Hibernian at Easter Road. What was described as a very large crowd saw the sides play out a 0-0 draw. On the evening prior to the Hibs game, Queen’s Park had been presented with the Scottish Cup at the Royal Hotel.
The season was not quite over. On Saturday 15 May, Queen’s Park beat Alloa Athletic 4-0 at Gaberston Park in Alloa. Then, on the following Thursday, the third annual meeting of Arbroath and Queen’s Park took place at Gayfield. Queen’s won 4-2. It is not known who got the goals in either game.
On Saturday 5 June, a four-team tournament took place at Hampden Park to raise funds for 3rdLanark Rifle Volunteers’ new drill hall. The teams competing were Queen’s Park, 3rd LRV, Rangers and Cowlairs.
22/08/1885 Strathmore (Dundee) 1 Queen’s Park 3
29/08/1885 Queen’s Park 16 St Peter’s 0 (Scottish Cup)
09/09/1885 Queen’s Park 1 Rangers 2
12/09/1885 Hibernian 2 Queen’s Park 1
19/09/1885 Queen’s Park 7 Blackburn Rovers 1
26/09/1885 Queen’s Park 3 Rangers 2
03/10/1885 Queen’s Park 1 Pilgrims 0 (Scottish Cup)
08/10/1885 Ayr 2 Queen’s Park 2
10/10/1885 Queen’s Park 5 Notts County 1
17/10/1885 Dumbarton 2 Queen’s Park 3
24/10/1885 East Stirlingshire 0 Queen’s Park 3 (Scottish Cup)
31/10/1885 Queen’s Park 5 Partick Thistle 1 (FA Cup)
07/11/1885 Rangers 0 Queen’s Park 4
14/11/1885 Queen’s Park 1 Airdrieonians 0 (Scottish Cup)
21/11/1885 Queen’s Park 2 Pollokshields Athletic 0
05/12/1885 Arthurlie 1 Queen’s Park 2 (Scottish Cup)
12/12/1885 Queen’s Park 4 Abercorn 3
19/12/1885 Queen’s Park 2 Dumbarton 2
26/12/1885 Blackburn Rovers 0 Queen’s Park 3
01/01/1886 Queen’s Park 2 Corinthians 2
16/01/1886 3rdLanark Rifle Volunteers 0 Queen’s Park 3 (Scottish Cup)
30/01/1886 Cowlairs 1 Queen’s Park 3
13/02/1886 Queen’s Park 3 Renton 1 (Scottish Cup Final)
20/02/1886 Notts County 1 Queen’s Park 0
06/03/1886 Edinburgh University 1 Queen’s Park 2
20/03/1886 Queen’s Park 6 3rdLanark Rifle Volunteers 0
03/04/1886 Queen’s Park 1 Preston North End 1
07/04/1886 Queen’s Park 1 Corinthians 1 (played in Nottingham)
10/04/1886 St Johnstone 0 Queen’s Park 5
17/04/1886 Queen’s Park 1 Corinthians 0
01/05/1886 Queen’s Park 2 Renton 5 (Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup)
08/05/1886 Hibernian 0 Queen’s Park 0
15/05/1886 Alloa Athletic 0 Queen’s Park 4
21/05/1886 Arbroath 2 Queen’s Park 4
03/10/1885 Irvine Athletic 0 Second QP 3
10/10/1885 Dunblane 1 Second QP 2*
10/10/1885 Royal Albert 4 Second QP 2
24/10/1885 Greenock Southern 1 Second QP 7
31/10/1885 Irvine Academicals 0 Second QP 6
07/11/1885 Queen’s Park 2 Rangers Swifts 0
01/01/1886 Second Aston Villa 2 Second QP 2
02/01/1886 Derby Midland 0 Second QP 3
30/01/1886 Irvine Academicals 0 Second QP 1
20/02/1886 Second Falkirk 0 Second QP 3
13/03/1886 Kilbirnie 1 Second QP 2
*Date unclear, venue unknown
19/09/1885 Dalry 4 Hampden Eleven 3*
03/10/1885 Plains 0 Hampden Eleven 8*
24/10/1885 Hampden Eleven 5 Battlefield (Mossfield XI)
07/11/1885 Cathcart 2 Hampden Eleven 6*
12/12/1885 Westbourne 0 Hampden Eleven 2
27/02/1886 Glasgow 3 Edinburgh 0
20/03/1886 Ireland 2 Scotland 7
27/03/1886 Scotland 1 England 1
10/04/1886 Scotland 4 Wales 1