Willie Hamilton
Willie Hamilton
Willie Hamilton
● Willie Hamilton, 1914 (SP)

born in Scotland

William Hamilton was born on Wednesday, 9th October, 1889, in Cowdenbeath, Fife.

The 5' 9 (12st 7lbs) midfielder signed for George Easton's Thistle on Monday, 1st May, 1911, having most recently been with Dunfermline Athletic.

Aged 21, he made his debut appearance on Monday, 1st May, 1911, in a 2-1 defeat away to Third Lanark in the Glasgow Charity Cup.

Willie scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 21st October, 1911, in a 3-1 defeat away to Aberdeen in the SFL First Division.

He scored the last of his 14 goals on Tuesday, 26th April, 1921, in a 2-1 win away to Falkirk in the Scottish Football League.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 7th May, 1921, in a 2-0 defeat away to Celtic in the Glasgow Charity Cup, having clocked up an impressive 303 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Vulcan Rovers, Dunfermline Athletic and Partick Thistle.

Willie died on Tuesday, 16th August, 1921, in Dunfermline, Fife, aged 31.

Bio Extra

The old 11 cup winners' medals rule was always rather mean and unforgiving, and the case of Willie Hamilton only serves to strengthen that viewpoint. “Hammy” gave more than 10 years of excellent service to the Thistle cause, and Glasgow became his home from home. The likeable Fifer, quiet and genial off the park, was a whole-hearted competitor on it, excelling in the breaking up of play and leading by example. As a testament to his worth and popularity, there was a fine turnout of 8,000 for his benefit in the spring of 1920, as Jags defeated a first class Newcastle team by 3 goals to 2.

The directors fancied him as a number nine when he first arrived from Dunfermline in 1911, but he wasn't long in falling back to the half-back line where his real combative strengths lay. He had to bide his time to finally claim the centre half position for his own, and did so after the retiral of Alec Raisbeck a few years down the line. In the meantime, he was assisting both the first and second elevens, winning the League championship (1912) and Scottish Cup (1914) with the latter. During his 10 years, he would also claim 5 runners-up medals in local cup action with the first team. However, the Scottish Cup badge of honour was the one he dearly craved.

He was in his footballing prime that season, the beating heart of the acclaimed middle three - Harris, Hamilton & McMullan - regarded as one of the finest lines in the Scottish game at the time, and undoubtedly a major contributing factor to the success of the team in 1920-21. Willie featured in 40 of the 55 games in what was a most demanding campaign. He had played in every round of the Scottish Cup, and was all set to make his 300th appearance in the final itself. Although he had retired, reportedly injured, during the Hamilton game 8 days earlier, there did not seem to be a problem on the eve of the Cup final, as Willie was included in all the pre-match line-ups. However, he took ill (again) on the day of the game, a recurring report of late, and it must have been serious for him to miss such an occasion. As it transpired, he was suffering from TB, and, shockingly, succumbed to the disease exactly 4 months after the final, aged just 31.

He died on the day of the opening game of season 1921-22, and the flags at Firhill flew at half-mast in tribute, as his team mates defeated Clydebank by one goal to nothing. Around 16,000 were at Firhill to see the Cup holders kick-off the new season, and, I'd like to think a great many of them raised a parting glass on that Tuesday evening to a great Thistle servant. Willie never got his coveted Scottish Cup medal, but there are none more deserving of the virtual version, 100 years on.


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