Hugh Collins
Hugh Collins
Hugh Collins
● Hugh Collins, 1935 (DC)

probably born in Scotland

Hugh William Collins was born on Saturday, 28th April, 1900, in Cambusnethan, North Lanarkshire.

The forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Thursday, 1st May, 1924, having most recently been with Hamilton Academical.

Aged 24, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 3rd May, 1924, in a 6-4 neutral-venue win against Third Lanark in the Glasgow Charity Cup.

That day, Hugh achieved the rare feat of scoring a hat-trick on his debut!

He scored the last of his 7 goals on Saturday, 18th October, 1924, in a 3-1 defeat away to St Mirren in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Wednesday, 6th May, 1925, in a 4-1 defeat away to King's Park in the Stirling Charity Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 16 occasions.

His club-list included Wishaw YMCA, Hamilton Academical, Ayr United, Partick Thistle, Dundee United, Queen of the South, Brooklyn Wanderers, Philadelphia Field Club and Aldershot.

Hugh died on Thursday, 8th December, 1966, in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, aged 66.

Bio Extra

Hugh was born on 28 April 1900 in Cambusnethan, his father named James (a blast furnace filler), and his mother Mary (née McConville). His mother worked as a domestic servant. His grandson Gary Collins told us that Hugh joined the army at the start of World War 1 when he was 14 years old! He was on sentry duty in Belfast, but was fast asleep when Irish nationalist dissidents (probably members of the Irish Volunteers, a precursor group for the IRA) raided the barracks where he was stationed. In a subsequent court martial trial Hugh was found guilty (dereliction of duty?) and as a sentence was sent to the Somme front line – a daunting challenge. Gary also told us that an Edinburgh outfitter showcased the suits he wore in their shop windows, so Hugh must have been a dapper man!

The forward joined his first senior club, Hamilton Academical as a 21-year-old in October 1922 from Wishaw YMCA. He was sent to Ayr United on loan in September 1923, but lasted a month at Ayr, and returned to Hamilton after falling out with the Ayr club. He was soon in the Hamilton 1st team. From 1922 until 1924, when he joined the Jags, Hugh played a total of 53 League and cup matches, scoring 24 goals for the Accies. He played his first match for Thistle in a Glasgow Charity Cup contest against Third Lanark, where Hugh impressed his new employers by scoring a hat-trick in Thistle’s 6-4 victory. The quarter-final tie was played at Hampden Park on 3 May 1924 in front of a 9,600 crowd. The match report stated that both goalkeepers played well, and were beaten by quality goals. During season 1924-25 Hugh played in the 6-1 drubbing of Morton at Cappielow Park on 30 August 1924 in the SFL First Division. Hugh scored one of the goals in this encounter, which would have pleased the Thistle fans in the 7,500 crowd. Thistle played an exhibition match against Rangers on 2 September 1924, with the then Duke of York starting proceedings. The contest was to commemorate the opening of Helenvale Park. Hugh scored the opening goal on 25 minutes, but Rangers went on to win 6-1, scoring 4 goals in the 2nd half. In the springtime of 1925, Hugh moved on to Dundee United, playing for the club on 4 occasions, scoring 1 goal, but he was back at Firhill in early May. The player’s final outing for the Thistle first team was on 6 May 1925, when Thistle lost 4-1 away to King's Park in the Stirling Charity Cup. Hugh played on 16 occasions for the Jags, scoring 7 goals.

Post-Thistle, the player then joined Queen of the South in 1925, after which he went to the USA to play for Brooklyn Wanderers and Philadelphia Field. 1927 found Hugh at a new club, Aldershot F.C. In the 1927-28 FA Cup, Aldershot won through 5 preliminary FA Cup fixtures to get to the 1st round proper of the Cup – a magnificent achievement. They played Queen’s Park Rangers in the 1st Round with the opening contest abandoned due to fog. Hugh scored in the rearranged fixture with Aldershot winning 2-1. They lost by the same score to Peterborough in the 2nd Round, the end of a gallant campaign.

Hugh later settled in Edinburgh, and lived in the Craigmillar area. Grandson Gary goes on “His life was not all football glamour! When he returned from the great war he worked in the docks and had to fight for work tokens! Only the hardest fighters won tokens to get a day’s work!” Hugh married Mary Nelson and had three sons. Gary’s father was the middle son, and was also named Hugh. Hugh died in his Craigmillar home late in 1966, the result of a recent struggle with lung cancer. At that time he was described as a retired dockyard labourer, and it was Hugh Jr. who signed his father’s registry entry. He was survived by his wife and their three children.

On account of his service during WWI, Hugh is included in our feature piece, The Partick Thistle returned →.


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