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President 1876 – 1877

JAMES MCBLANE WATT

James Watt was a good club man. Goalkeeper in the 1877 Scottish Cup Final side, he was a fine last line of defence. He lost his position to the hugely talented George Gillespie when Gillespie decided playing outfield was too rough! In the 1879/80 SFA Annual James was described as “a goalkeeper of considerable promise”. A year later he was in the list of those “now retired”! On at least two occasions he had played outfield.

President in 1876 – 1877, he also served the Club as Honorary Treasurer in 1878 – 1879 and 1879 - 1880. It was in this capacity he joined club captain Tom Vallance in leading Rangers’ protest to the SFA after the 1879 Scottish Cup Final. (In the drawn match with Vale of Leven, a Willie Struthers goal was disallowed by the referee. Rangers argued it should have stood.)

James was a machinery merchant, a partner in Dimmack and Watt, iron and steel merchants. Sadly, like three of his colleagues, Peter Campbell, Sandy Marshall and William Dunlop, he did not live to be present at the 1877 Cup Final anniversary dinner of 1898. James had died a few weeks earlier on 22 March. He had suffered from heart disease.

James Watt lies, like so many other Rangers, at Craigton Cemetery. His grave was recently located and restored. We have been unable to trace the registration of his birth but it is almost certain he was born in Ayrshire, in the Mauchline area, in 1860. His death proved hard to trace as well. For reasons unknown, he adopted his mother’s maiden name. Her married name was McBlane. James’ death was registered as James McBlane (known as James McBlane Watt).