Jock McTavish
Jock McTavish
Jock McTavish
● Jock McTavish, 1914 (SR)

born in Scotland

John Kay McTavish [note] was born on Sunday, 7th June, 1885, in Govan, Glasgow.

The 5' 7 (11st 7lbs) forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Friday, 9th May, 1913, having most recently been with Newcastle United.

Aged 28, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 16th August, 1913, in a 2-1 win at home to Motherwell in the SFL First Division.

Jock scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 13th September, 1913, in a 1-1 draw away to Third Lanark in the Glasgow Cup.

He scored the last of his 20 goals on Saturday, 1st April, 1916, in a 1-1 draw at home to Ayr United in the Scottish Football League.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 28th April, 1917, in a 2-0 defeat away to Third Lanark in the Scottish Football League, having clocked up 141 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Ibrox Roselea, Petershill, Falkirk, Tottenham Hotspur, Oldham Athletic, Newcastle United, Partick Thistle, York City, Goole Town, Heart of Midlothian, Bo'ness, East Fife, Dumbarton, East Stirlingshire and Arbroath Athletic.

Jock died on Tuesday, 4th April, 1944, in Falkirk, aged 58.

Bio Extra

The son of John McTavish (shipping company's storekeeper) and Margaret McTavish (née Kay) who married on 3rd June 1879 at Kilmaronock, on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

The teenage Jock had played in the juniors with Ibrox Roselea and Petershill before signing with Falkirk in June 1905, just 2 days before turning 20. And what a time he had there! He had Jock Simpson to his right on the wing and they formed a canny partnership which lasted some 5 years, lifting Falkirk to dizzying heights in the Scottish game. They finished runners-up to Celtic in both 1908 (by 4 pts) and 1910 (by 2 pts). International recognition came his way as a Bairn, turning out twice for the Scottish League in 1907 and 1908 and gaining a full international cap in March 1910, albeit the Irish were victorious by one to nil at Windsor Park in Belfast.

His stock was high by that point and he moved to top-flight Oldham Athletic in the summer of 1910, making his Football League debut at Aston Villa that September. After 10 first class appearances, Jock was on the move just months later, joining Tottenham Hotspur at the tail end of 1910, where he played regularly for a couple of years. He played alongside his brother (Bob) whilst at Spurs - what a small world it is. Jock joined Newcastle United in April 1912 and had a decent season, scoring 7 goals in 39 appearances.

Jock returned northwards in the close season of 1913 and Firhill would be his registered home for the duration of the war years, although his time as a Jag was interrupted by loan spells at York City and Goole Town in 1914-15 and Hearts and Falkirk toward the end of the war. He wasn't the first son of William and Margaret McTavish to play for Thistle though - his younger brother (Bob) beat him to it more than 6 years earlier by appearing once as a trialist! Jock was really consistent in his first four 'power years' usually good for at least half-a-dozen goals per season. He topped Thistle's competitive appearances chart in his first season (40) and racked up more than 140 competitive appearances from 1913-14 to 1916-17. Of his many goals highlights, his (only) brace in a 4-1 League win at home to Dundee (August 1914) and his goal in a 3-1 home League win to Rangers (January 1915) were standouts.

After the war, Jock inched closer to home and played with Bo'ness in 1919-20, earning a winners medal in the Central League. He had short spells with East Fife and Dumbarton before an ambitious East Stirlingshire lured him to Firs Park in 1921, although their plans to once again have him partnered by Jock Simspon were thwarted when Blackburn Rovers refused to play ball. He finished his long playing career at Arbroath Athletic of the Eastern League, before returning to settle down in Falkirk, where he turned out in occasional veterans matches and worked as a Gas repairman for the corporation.

Jock died from natural causes after collapsing on a bus in in Grahams Road, Falkirk, near his home in Brown Street.

Jock's nephew, John McTavish, was only 12 when his Uncle died. He went on to be a prominent central defender with Manchester City and St Mirren in the 1950s and 1960s.


Historian's note: The use of 'Kay' as a middle name for John (his mother's maiden name) is widespread in print and online, although the birth register entry was in the plain old name of 'John McTavish'. We know that one of his brothers was registered that way (James Kay McTavish 1883-1888) but it wasn't a rule within the family as none of the others followed suit. Whilst we'd normally be inclined to stick with the birth register entry, it seems that John himself wished to adapt his name to included Kay, and there's plenty of evidence to back that up. He signed himself that way in the register for the birth of his son (John) in 1910, and this was further backed by the public notice in the Falkirk Herald. Also, the FA registration details for season 1910-1911 have him as JK McTavish. Finally, the Falkirk Herald's public notice of his death carried the full name, John Kay McTavish. We therefore have no hesitation in applying his formal name as he wished it to be.

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