Scottish Corinthians

Other Scottish Players who played for Corinthian

Editor: Andy Mitchell

Andrew Watson was not the only Scot to play for Corinthian. There were others but unlike their professional brothers in the North of England, they freely shared their knowledge without the need for pecuniary incentives.

Like Watson, many were also left out of the history of the early game. Only two played more times for Corinthian than Watson, but they all deserve recognition for their contribution to the development of the beautiful game.

Watson was the first Scot to play for the Corinthians, Humphrey Jones the first Welshman, but it is clear that from day one, the Club were not exclusively an English outfit. Playing in the first game for Corinth against St Thomas's Hospital on October 28 1882, was Frederick Beaumont Spencer, a military man, and son of a solicitor, and although of British extraction was actually born in Corfu and was therefore Greek by birth. Also, in that first game, there were only three players who had attended university, and none had attended Harrow, Eton, Charterhouse or any of the schools that football history says the club exclusively drew its players from. Acknowledging this means accepting a different history of the Corinthian Football Club than in the record books...?

Watson's first game for Corinthian was their tenth game and they faced Upton Park on Thursday 18 Jan 1883. Having missed the previous games due to the loss of his wife, he was also probably trying to make an impression at his new civil servant position at the Admiralty. The game was a rout, Upton Park levelling Corinth by seven goals to none. Alongside him that day was Alfred James Weakley, a South African-born medical student who played regularly for Leyton, St Bartholomew's Hospital. He would partner Watson again with Swifts. Weakley usually played as a striker or midfielder, and Watson must have been surprised at the lack of 'combination' and the unfamiliar playing style of his partner at the back!

The following lists other Scots who shared their skills with the Corinthians and other English amateur teams, helping to spread their knowledge and experience throughout the Southern counties and changing the English game forever!

David 'Davie' Steele Allan 1863 - 1930

Allan only played for Corinth once, against Preston North End in 1885, and was on the winning side, scoring the winning goal in the 1-0 defeat of the Invincibles. In the Corinthian team that day was Queen's Park teammates, Alex Hamilton and making his only appearance for Corinth, Charles Campbell, even though he was a Club member. He was considered an early exponent of the centre back role and was tireless in both attack and defence.

Allan won four Scottish Cups and was twice a finalist in the English F.A. Cup and played three times for the National team, scoring two goals. He was a stockbroker by profession and a member of the Glasgow Stock Exchange.

Walter 'Wattie' Arnott 1861 - 1931

Considered by some as the greatest full-back the Scots ever had, 'Wattie' played five times for Corinth between 1886 and 1888, scoring one goal. He was a true amateur and was, therefore, able to offer his services to a number of teams like Pollockshields, Kilmarnock, Third Lanark, St Bernard's, Celtic and Notts County. But was a Queen's Park stalwart between 1882 and 1893. He played 14 times for Scotland, won the Scottish Cup three times and received two runners-up medals in the English F.A. Cup.

Further reading at Scots Football Worldwide

Charles Campbell

Charles 'Charlie' Campbell 1854 – 1927

Perhaps the most famous Scottish footballer of his age. Played for Queen's Park for 16 years, and the National team 13 times, nine as captain. He was the first Scottish player to play ten times for his nation. He won the Scottish Cup eight times, appeared for Glasgow nine times and collected two English F.A. Cup runners-up medals.

He was with Watson in the thrashings of England in 1881 at the Oval and 1882 at Hampden. Even though he would be selected for the Tour of the North in 1885, his only appearance for Corinth came in April earlier that year. The game was against Preston North End at Deepdale in April 1885, and in front of 15,000 spectators, Corinthian won by a single goal scored by fellow Queen's Park player David Steele Allen.

He was also a member of the Corinthian Club, a singular honour considering the limit on members the club enforced. Ironically, he was not allowed to play any more games for Corinth because the SFA were concerned he might play against professionals, the consequence of which meant he would not be able to play for the national team. Scotland could not afford such a significant player being dropped from the team.

After his football career ended, he became the President of Queen's Park and of the Scottish F.A. When he retired from the Stock Exchange, he moved to Kilkea, Co. Kildare, Ireland to become a 'gentleman farmer'. He died there in 1927 at the age of 79.

James Connor 1861 – 1899

Little is know about James. He is famous for being the first goalkeeper to face the first penalty in Scottish football in a game for Ardrieonians against Royal Albert, on June 6, 1891. He also played for Queen's Park and Scotland, making one appearance in 1886 in the 7-2 demolition of Ireland in Belfast. Similarly, he only made one appearance for Corinth, as a full-back on the 1885 Christmas Tour. Having already played eight games, the match against Newcastle and District was the last of the tour. The game is notable as not only did Corinth win by eight goals to two, with William Nevill Cobbold scoring five, Corinth also put all eight goals past Arthur Wharton, the first Black professional player.

George Gillespie

George 'Geordie' Gillespie 1858 – 1900

'Genial George' began his career with Rangers and played as a defender reaching the Scottish Cup final on two occasions. After his move to Queen's Park, he became a goalkeeper. He won the Scottish Cup two times and received two English F.A. Cup runners-up medals. He made seven appearances for Scotland, He played alongside Watson in all three of Watson's appearances for the national team.

Gillespie only played for Corinth once, in 1886 against Hibernians, Corinth won 7-3 that day. At his death, he held the record for taking part in eighteen consecutive Scottish Cup competitions.

Gillespie died in 1900 from pneumonia at the age of 41. His funeral was considered the greatest ever shown towards a footballer in Glasgow.

Alexander 'Alick' Hamilton 1864 - 1946

A bricklayer by profession, Called 'Wee Hammy' to distinguish him from his two brothers who all played for Scotland. He played once for Corinth, alongside fellow 'Spiders', Charles Campbell and David Steele Allan. (See above).

Played for Rangers and Queen's Park, he appeared four times for Scotland, and played in both the Scottish and the English F.A. Cups, winning the Scottish Cup once. Became President of Queen's Park in 1893

After football, Hamilton took up a civic position as the Sanitary Inspector for Hamilton, retiring in 1939

John Wilson Holm 1855 - 1931

Played for Queen's Park and Pollockshields, Holm was a teammate with Watson at Parkgrove and then at Queen's Park and appears to have been a close friend. Even though the history books state his brothers, Andrew Hair Holm, a Scottish International, and William Hair Holm, played for Corinthian, no records can be found to substantiate this.

Holm played seven times mostly alongside Watson, on the first-ever tour of the North by Corinth at the end of March 1883, and joined them again on the second tour in December 1884, where he partnered Watson in a snowstorm against F.A. Cup winners Blackburn Olympic. The game ended 4-4 with fellow Scot, "J.S. Miller" (Dr, John Smith) scoring two goals. The others were scored by Neville Cobbold and Tinsley Lindley.

Later in life, he became a commercial traveller and died in Dennistoun in 1931

John 'Johnny' Alexander Lambie 1868 - 1923

Lambie is recorded as the youngest ever Scottish captain when in 1886, at the age of 17, he played for and captained Scotland against Ireland scoring a goal on his debut. However, research by Andy Mitchell has updated this long-held 'fact', discovering that Lambie missed the Scotland v Ireland game in 1886. However, he but did play in the same fixture a year later, making him 18 years old at the time, and still Scotland's youngest ever player and youngest ever captain.

Lambie would win the Scottish Cup with Queen's Park but he chose to move to London, forsaking any further honours.

Largely due to being London-based, he was available for Corinthian 'home' games, and appeared 37 times, scoring 14 goals. He toured with them on five separate occasions.

His main club was the London Caledonians, but he also tuned out for Swifts and Richmond Association. He played in the famous rugby match for Corinthian against the Barbarians, beating them at their own game. The only association team to ever defeat the rugby elite.

He died on Christmas Day 1923 at the age of 55

William 'Willie' Allan Lambie 1873 - 1936

The younger brother of J.A. Lambie, he was also a Queen's Park player and also selected 9 times to play for Scotland, once as captain, scoring five goals.

He only made one appearance for Corinth on the 1893 Northern Tour

Humphrey Jones 1862 - 1941

A Cambridge graduate, Jones played on both sides of the Border. Even though Jones was a Welsh international, he joined Charles Campbell's Queen's Park and played alongside Wattie Arnott and Stuart Macrae, which might explain the Corinthian connection. He played over 30 times for Corinthian, from 1884 to 1893, touring eight times. He became the Classics Master at Blair Lodge School, Polmont, Stirlingshire, where he would also turn out for East Stirlingshire. He was once asked to trial for the Welsh Rugby team and turned it down.

In 1884, he played in the Swifts team with Watson in the third F.A. Cup replay against Old Westminsters, Swifts winning 2-1. In the Swifts team were fellow Corinthians, Frank Etheridge Saunders, Rev. Francis William Pawson, George Brann and in goal was Corinthian and Preston North End's amateur international goalkeeper William Crispin Rose. They would accompany Watson again the next round, losing to Tinsley Lindley's Nottingham Forest buy a goal to nil.

Stuart Macrae 1855 - 1927

Macrae is the only Scot to play for England! Born in India, but of Scottish blood, he was the son of a Clan Chief, a title he would later inherit. As the Scottish rules would have it, any player not born or living in Scotland was ineligible to play for the National team. He lived in Newark, Nottinghamshire and played for Notts County he was selected to play for England, making five appearances for his adopted country. He played twice against Scotland and lost both times.

He made seven appearances for Corinth over a five year period and scored his only goal against King's Park Stirling on the December 1889 Corinthian Tour of the North. In December 1884 he played alongside Watson in a three-one loss to Preston North End. In the Corinthian team that day were four Scots: Watson, Holm, Macrae and John Smith.

Further reading at Scots Football Worldwide

James 'Jimmy' McGhee 1862 - 1941

One of the few Scots not associated with Queen's Park to play for Corinth. McGhee only played once, against Third Lanark in 1889, but was on the losing side that day as Lanark thumped Corinthian 5-0.

According to Douglas Lamming, McGhee was a stubborn half or equally effective as an inside forward. He was one of the first Hibs players to be capped for Scotland and won the Scottish Cup with Hibs in 1887.

He played for Hibernians for two decades and later became manager of Hearts for a short period. He emigrated to America and died at the age of 79 in Philadelphia in 1941. His son Bart, played for the USA in the 1930 World Cup. (Source: Andy Mitchell 2021)

Thomas 'Tom' Robertson 1863 - 1924

Tom played for Corinth on three occasions: once on the 1889 Northern Tour against St Bernard's and then the following year against St Bernard's and Kirkcaldy and District. He played in the 5-0 win for Corinth when due to an injury to the goalkeeper, the famous full-back, A.M Walters, had to play in goal and he produced an outstanding performance, preventing St Bernard's scoring and keeping a clean sheet.

Tom played for Aston Villa as an amateur and also Nottingham Forest. He represented Glasgow on ten occasions, won the Scottish Cup with both Queen's Park and St Bernard's and made four appearances of the National team. He would later become an important referee and the president of the S.F.A.

Robert 'Bob' Smellie 1867 - 1951

Principal source: The Men Who Made Scotland by Andy Mitchell. 2021

Bob Smellie was another Scottish captain. He played six times for his country, twice as captain, he made his debut at the age of 19 against Ireland in 1887 and was a member of the team that famously defeated the English in 1889. He was selected twice more but withdrew through injury. With Queen's Park, Smellie lifted the Scottish Cup twice and would hold the post of club director for over 50 years. His only appearance for Corinth was a 1-1 draw in January 1890 against St Bernard's in Edinburgh. Playing for Corinth that day was fellow Queen's Park player Tom Robertson. The Athletic News stated, "Smellie and Roberston [...] were invaluable throughout". The Corinthian team contained seven internationals: William Moon in goal, Percy Walters, Cecil Holden-White, Henry Hammond, Tinsley Lindley, George Cotterill and Harry Daft.

Principal for the firm of L.S. Smellie & Sons, auctioneers and evaluators, Bob died in 1951 at the age of 84. L.S. Smellie & Sons are still in business today in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire.

Dr John Smith 1855 - 1934

Perhaps one of the most interesting and talented football players to come out of Scotland at that period. Playing both North and South of the border for numerous teams such as Liverpool Ramblers, Swifts, Edinburgh University, Mauchline, Casuals and Queen's Park. 6ft three inches tall he would have been a giant on any football field in that era. Skilful, inventive and cool, he was much in demand. With Queen's Park, he won the Scottish Cup twice and an English F.A. Cup runners-up medal. Capped for Scotland 10 times, he appeared for Corinth 17 times, scoring 7 goals.

Smith played with Watson on several occasions and they were great friends. Both played in the 1884 tour game against Blackburn Rovers where the F.A. Cup winners and the best team of their day, were hammered 8-1, with Smith scoring one of the goals. A few days later, they were in the same team that drew 4-4 with previous F.A. Cup winners, Blackburn Olympic, with Smith scoring two goals.

Smith and Watson were together again in January 1885, in a momentous 3-2 defeat of Preston North End at the Oval in London. This would prove to be Watson's last game for Corinth, but they would rekindle their footballing partnership in other teams over the following years.

Allan Stewart 1865 - 1907

Principal source: The Men Who Made Scotland by Andy Mitchell. 2021

Joined Queen's Park from Pilgrims, Stewart played twice for Scotland, scoring on his debut against Ireland. He became club captain for Queen's Park, raised the Glasgow Charity and Scottish Cup. He played once for Corinth, in the 6-2 loss to Celtic in the Northern Tour of 1888-89. The Corinthian team that day contained two England captains, Cecil Holden-White and Charles Wreford Brown. Other internationals in the team were the famous defensive pairing of the brother AM & PM Walters, Tinsley Lindley, one of the finest goalscorers of his time, Fred Dewhurst, one of the few amateur players in Preston North End's 'invincibles', sporting polymath, George Huth Cotterill, and Edward Samuel Currey. Stewart was "...described in one obituary as a 'strenuous, virile yet most gentlemanly player', although the Scottish Referee was less kind, calling him a 'rare, plodding half-back'. (The Men Who Made Scotland, Andy Mitchell).

Stewart died suddenly in London in 1907 aged 42.

Thomas Smith Waddell 1870 - 1956

Joined Queen's Park as a junior at the age of 16 and won the Scottish Cup in 1893. Had to ask permission to play for Corinth and made only one appearance in April 1892, scoring one of the 8 goals needed to beat Renton. In the Corinthian team that day were sporting polymath C.B. Fry and Charles Wreford Brown.

Waddell retired due to ill health in 1895 and became a machine tool-maker.