In connection with the dribbling game in Glasgow, it should be generally known that Mr. Gillespie supplies the link which binds the players of the dead past to those of the living present. He is still to the fore, and does duty as well as ever. Early in his football career Mr. Gillespie was not a goalkeeper, for I am certain I saw him play at back in some of the early matches of the "Light Blues." Nature, metaphorically speaking, never intended him to be anything in the game but a goalkeeper, and a brilliant one, too. How he kept goal in this great match, and dozens of others, is still fresh in the memory both of old players and spectators. He is the only man on the active list who played ten years ago, and had the distinction of appearing against England twice and Wales three times. From the Rangers he joined the Q.P. about six years ago.
The early history of the Rangers—their triumphs, misfortunes, joys, and sorrows—have all been shared in by Mr. Thomas Vallance, and he still sticks to them like the veritable leech. Who could captain a young team like he? When Vallance led the Rangers to victory in this final Charity tie, I am sure he was barely out of his teens, and I don't think would even yet hesitate to don the blue jersey of the club were it hard up for a back. Vallance was a back, indeed, and for several seasons, but more particularly that of 1879-80, none in Scotland showed better form. His returns near goal were neat and clean, and without being in any way rough with an opponent. Vallance's length of limb and good judgment often saved his club from losing goals. The whole of the Rangers "lo'ed him like a vera brither," and at practice his word was law. He played four times against England.
With quite as much pluck, but awanting in finish and style, the younger of the brothers, Mr. Alexander, was nevertheless a fine back. Lighter made and more easily tackled than Thomas, he had a way of his own in running out the ball before making the final shy, and when this was done well, as it frequently happened in a first-class match, young Vallance received a perfect ovation from the crowd. Alexander was in fine form in this tie, and some of his returns were splendidly made. Instead of going at an opponent with the air of an infuriated bull, as some backs are prone to do now-a-days, he kept close to his man, and waited for an opportunity, which was at once taken advantage of. Like his brother, he is still in the city, and takes a kindly interest in his mother club.
Mr. Hugh M'Intyre and Mr. J. Drinnan were the half-backs in this contest. No such new-fangled device as three half-backs was ever thought of in Scotland at that time, and you may be sure the pair had hard work. Of all the players sent out by the Rangers, M'Intyre was in many respects the most powerful. He was, however, to be outspoken, the coarsest. Woe betide the light and gentle forward who tried to pass Mr. Hugh! He pounced on his man at once, and with raised back—for he was somewhat round-shouldered—gave the excited spectator the idea that he meant to have the ball at any cost. His weight gave him an immense advantage in tackling, and I think old players will be at one with me when I say that he was the best at that kind of work in Scotland. He was about the first to leave Glasgow and accept an engagement in England. He played against Wales in 1880.
In the list of the Rangers' eleven who took part in the match under review, the name of Mr. Drinnan does not occur, and I am obliged to proffer an explanation. In the report of the contest one "R. Jackson" is credited with keeping H. M'Intyre company on the occasion. As the incident is past, and Mr. Drinnan no longer amenable to the laws of engineer apprenticeship, he did in this match what a great many men have done before him - viz., played under an assumed name. He was a very fair back, but not sufficiently brilliant to obtain notoriety, and never had the distinction of playing in an International. He was, nevertheless, a very useful all-round player, and could take his place as a centre forward at a moment's notice.
The Rangers a dozen years ago without Mr. Peter Campbell would have been like the Queen's Park now with Mr. William Sellar left out. He was the life and soul of the forward division, and it is not too much to say of him that a finer dribbler and harder worker never kicked leather. Poor Campbell, like so many more of the old lot, is gone to his account! In a terrible storm in the Bay of Biscay, which left many a home desolate, seven years ago, the steamer in which he was chief engineer foundered, and not a soul was left to tell the tale.* Quiet and unassuming in manner, Mr. Campbell was beloved by all, and his untimely death is still mourned by the Rangers, for whom he did so much. In 1878-79 he was in such good form that he was chosen to play against Wales, and in 1876 and 1878 did duty for Glasgow against Sheffield.
The M'Neils are quite a football family, and, what is of more account, have gained distinction in the game. Is it not a fact that Mr. Peter was one of the founders of the famous club nineteen years ago, and that Messrs. Harry, William, and Moses kept the ball rolling on Kinning Park with credit for many a day? Moses is the youngest of the lot, and consequently what may be termed the most modern. He was quite a boy when this cup tie came off, and played with a dash and finish on the left wing that completely astonished all who were present on Old Hampden Park that May evening. Mr. Moses, too, was more than a mere local player, and through sheer force of ability was chosen to play against England in 1880, and acted in the same capacity for Scotland against Wales in 1876. He is still young and active, and resides in the city.
An original member of the Partick, when that club could boast of having as good a team as now, Struthers was associated with the old pioneers in Messrs. Boag, James S. Campbell, Love, Sutar, Bell, and Smith, and joined the Rangers the previous year before the tie. He was a beautiful dribbler, after the style of Mr. T. C. Highet; went right ahead with the ball close at his toe, and was the most difficult man to tackle in the Rangers. He left Scotland some years ago for England, where he played for the Bolton Wanderers. In brilliant form in the match, he made some fine runs in company with Mr. Campbell and Mr. Hill, and was successful in scoring the first goal got for the Rangers. Mr. Struthers is now in England, where he has settled down.
A most unselfish player was Mr. Hill. He was slow, but sure, and if ever a man showed an example in the field by at once passing on the ball when necessary, and never opening his mouth from kick-of to time call, it was he. One of the prominent figures all through quite a decade of seasons for his old club, Mr. Hill rendered the Rangers valuable service, and never failed to turn up when he was wanted. In the final Association Challenge Cup match with the Vale of Leven, played shortly before the one I am touching upon, and which ended in a tie, some splendid passing was witnessed between him and Mr. Wm. Dunlop, who, by the way, could not play in the Charity event in consequence of an injury sustained a week before.
Like the other members of the Rangers, Mr. Steel was very young when he joined that club. His enthusiasm for the game, however, was unbounded, and I have been told by an old Rangers' man that he was one of the original "moonlighters" of the club. This phrase gentlemen, requires some explanation. It does not refer to Ireland and its agrarian grievances. No, no. It was only a few choice spirits of the Rangers who, determined to win all matches, used to practice at full moon, and frequently frightened some of the belated lieges in the vicinity of Kinning Park, who swore the place was haunted.
Although retired from active duty on the field, Mr. M'Quarrie is even now in football harness as the treasurer of the Partick Thistle. He did not play in many of the first eleven matches of the club, but being a promising lad was always available as first reserve forward. He was rather a neat dribbler and good backer-up, but a little slow in tackling. He was always a steady player, and did very well in this game. He did not play very much after this tie, but gave up football altogether, till his old love for the game returned some years ago, when he joined the Thistle, and is one of their most earnest committee workers.