In series of articles for our 2017/18 programme, Drummond Calder, detailed our 1st ever League season in 1891/92. Due to the temporary demise of the club programme last year the series was not completed, with just the rest of April and May 1892 to cover. However, it is hoped that Drummond will finish the story of our 1st League season in the not too distant future and this will be updated here.
In season 1890/91 League football arrived in Scotland with the Scottish League playing their inaugural season. The following year East Stirlingshire, together with a number of other provincial and city clubs, got in on the League football act. From then until the end of the 19th century, when in season 1900/01 they were finally accepted into the Scottish League, the Shire would play non-league football. This is the story of East Stirlingshire 1st non-league season.
From the club’s formation on 1st October 1880 until the end of season 1890/91 the majority of games East Stirlingshire had played were friendlies. The rest were competitive games in the Scottish Cup, Stirlingshire Cup and other local Cups. Season 1891/92 saw the Shire start their 1st ever league campaign and from then on the focus of the season would change.
At the start of the 1891/92 had retained a number of players from the previous season but as was usual a number of additions were made to strengthen the squad and replace the likes of club legends Andy Ritchie and Davie Alexander who had moved down south to play. The main players that had stayed on were Andra Inches (virtually always wrongly listed as Inch in the press), Bill Keddie and “Duffy” Johnston.
The club started the season with a friendly against Gairdoch on 5th August at Carronshore in front of a crowd of over 600. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Tammy Dunn, R. Burns, Andra Inches, John Pray, Hastings, Thomson, Thomas Howden, Harry Reid, Masterton, Duffy Johnston. There were 5 new players in the team from the previous season. Goodwin and Burns had arrived from Camelon FC, John Pray from Falkirk and Thomson and Masterton from Alva. The game was described as a “hard one” with the Shire running on winners 5-3. Only one ES scorer was recorded but it was very important piece of history. At the start of the 2nd half Harry Reid took and scored the Shire’s 1st ever penalty (it was also the 1st ever penalty in Falkirk District and one of the earliest ever in Scotland).
A 2nd friendly was played away against Laurieston on the evening Wednesday 12th in front of a large attendance who paid the most the home club had ever taken at their gate. The ES team was; R. Goodwin, Parker, R. Burns, Andra Inches, Ross, Wemys, J. Reid, Thomas Howden, Harry Reid, Masterton, Duffy Johnston. The Shire played 3 of their reserves namely Parker, Ross and Wemys and for the last named player this would prove to be the only game he would play for the 1st XI. ES opened the scoring through Masterton in 12 minutes but the home team drew level before the break. In the 2nd half despite the Shire having control of the game they were unable to add to their tally and the game ended 1-1. This was the first time Laurieston had not lost against East Stirlingshire in a game, the previous 7 games between the teams since the first meeting on 3rd April, 1886 had all resulted in heavy defeats for Laurieston.
There was further bad news for the club on the playing front when Tammy Dunn left that evening to sign as a Professional for Wolverhampton Wanderers for “£50 down and £3 10 pw“.
Thomas (Tom, Tammy) Dunn played for East Stirlingshire from 1889/90 to 1891/92. Like his older brother William (Wull, “The Laddie”) Dunn the footballing skill he showed at his tIme with the club brought him to the attention of the Professional clubs south of the border. At the age of 22 Tammy followed his brother south and signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers, a team he would remain with until 1896/97. In 1895/96 he won a Runners Up English FA Cup medal with Wolves. He then played with Burnley for 2 seasons before playing with Chatham in 1898/99 and Thames Ironworks (the team that would become West Ham United) in seasons 1899/90 and 1899/1900. He was the brother-in-law of one of East Stirlingshire’s founders, Sandy Cockburn.
Saturday 15th August saw East Stirlingshire play their 1st ever league match. The league they were playing in was the Scottish Football Alliance League and that 1st game took place at Merchiston Park in Bainsford against Partick Thistle. Despite the gate price being twice what was usually charged (6d and 6d extra for the grand stand) there was a large crowd present to witness the match. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, R. Burns, Mick Harley, Andra Inches, Bill Keddie, Peter Steel, Hastings, Thomas Howden, Harry Reid. Duffy Johnston, Masterton. The line up of the Shire teams saw a number of changes from the recent friendly matches with a number of key players being introduced in the team. Two players from Alva, Graham and Thomson, failed to play for ES. Mick Harley, Bill Keddie, Hastings and Thomas Howden had all played for the club in previous season. Peter Steel had moved from Laurieston and having played 1 guest appearance for the club in March, 1931. He would become a rock in the Shire defense for the next decade. Partick Thistle started the game on the front foot and despite ES trying to get into the game it was the away team that got the 1st goal. The Shire then had a good spell but failed to score and Thistle got a 2nd goal in 30 minutes. Down 2 goals at the interval ES had the wind advantage in the 2nd half which allowed the home team to control the game. However, despite hitting the woodwork on a number of occasions it was not until the 80th minute that the home side got a goal back from the head of Harry Reid. After this ES kept up the pressure but the game ended in a 1-2 defeat. During the 2nd half the home team had had 2 calls for balls crossing the Thistle goal line turned down.
On the same day 2nd East Stirlingshire (called East Stirlingshire Reserves) and Partick Thistle Swifts met in a friendly at Inchview Park, Whiteinch and played out a thrilling 5-5 draw.
On Wednesday 19th East Stirlingshire travelled to Bonnybridge to play local club Grasshoppers in an evening friendly. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, R. Burns, Mick Harley, Andra Inches, Ross, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnstone, Hastings. In a one sided game the Shire won 6-0 after leading 3-0 at half time. The ES scorers weren’t recorded.
On Saturday 22th August East Stirlingshire played a League match against St. Bernard’s at Logie Green in Edinburgh in front of a fair crowd. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, R. Burns, Mick Harley, Andra Inches, Bill Keddie, Peter Steel, Hastings, Thomas Howden, Harry Reid. Duffy Johnston, Masterton. The game kicked off 10 minutes late and ES won the toss and chose to have the sun and wind advantage in the 1st half. Despite a good start by the Shire it was the home team who went into the lead. Both teams then had chances before Thomas Howden equalized for ES. There was no further scoring in the 1st half. The second period was mainly controlled St. Bernard’s and in the end they ran out winners 4 goals to 1, though this scoreline was harsh on ES. This left East Stirlingshire as the only team in the league still to record a point.
The same day East Stirlingshire Reserves met a scratch Gairdoch team in a friendly at Merchiston Park winning easily 7-2.
On the Monday evening of that week a Special General Meeting of East Stirlingshire was held at the clubhouse at Merchiston Park. It was agreed to change the club’s headquarters from Miss Carmichael’s at Bainsford Bridge to the Thistle Tavern. Miss Carmichael’s had been the club headquarters since at least the mid 1880s. At the same meeting ES decided to build dressing rooms at a cost “not to exceed £200”. The dressing room building would be made of “corrugated iron lined with wood” and would be 2 levels with a hall on the top floor.
The following night a presentation was made to John Anderson, who played for East Stirlingshire in the 1880s in Miss Carmichael’s, Bainsford Bridge. He was emigrating to Cape Town, South Africa and his friends gifted him with a travel bag, a tobacco pouch and a pipe (the last two gifts were made by Sandy Cockburn one of the ES founders). He was also gifted a silver watch from his work colleagues at Melville’s sawmill. East Stirlingshire also did him the honour of electing him a life member of the football club, the 1st recorded person to have received this honour.
In the club’s 1922 booklet John (Jock, Pistol) Anderson was mentioned as one of those who had had a part in the foundation in East Stirlingshire although from other sources it is likely that it was his brother William with Jock joining the club shortly afterwards. What is definitely known is that he played, mainly in the back divisions, for the 1st team from 1881/82 right through to 1887/88. He played for East Stirlingshire in the club’s 1st ever Stirlingshire Cup Final in 1883/84 and also he was the 1st Shire player to gain representative honours when he played for Stirlingshire v Lanarkshire in that same season.
During that week the club missed out on signing the Slamannan half-back, W. Nisbet, who signed for Sheffield United instead. Duffy Johnstone, the ES forward received another offer to sign from an English club but as yet he remained an ES player. East Stirlingshire were also reported as planning to run 5 teams; 2 senior, 2 junior and 1 juvenile.
On 29th August Kilmarnock were the visitors to Bainsford for a League game. Again a large crowd turned out to watch. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Andra Inches, Bill Keddie, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Clarkson, Thomas Howden, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnstone. Harry Simpson replaced Masterton in the forward line and he was reported as a “vast improvement” and it appears that Masterton left the club at this point as never played for ES again. Harry Simpson was an ex-Shire player who was originally with the club from 1887/88 before being lured south to play for Stoke in 1889/90. Also Hastings was replaced by Clarkson up front. In a game which the home team were not expected to win ES gave as good as they got. With the sun in their eyes and the wind against them the Shire opened the scoring in 10 minutes through Clarkson though before half-time Kilmarnock were 2 goals to 1 up. ES equalised immediately at the start of the 2nd half through Harry Simpson and the same player put the Shire ahead 3 minutes later with a header. However, it wasn’t long before Kilmarnock went back into the lead with 2 quick goals after which there was no further scoring and the home team at the close had been edged out 3-4.
The ES reserves travelled to play Albert Thistle on the same day in a friendly match and lost 2-3.
The 1st Saturday in September saw the Shire take a break from League football to play Jamestown at home in the Scottish Cup Preliminary 1st Round. This was the 1st season that a Preliminary Round had been introduced in the country’s premier cup competition and it had proved necessary due to the increasing number of clubs now entering. A good turnout of fans were there to watch the match. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Andra Inches, Bill Keddie, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Hastings, Duffy Johnston. The Shire took control of the game from the start and went into an early lead in 3 minutes through Harry Reid and then followed this up with 2 quick goals from Clarkson and the other from a scrimmage. Duffy Johnston added a 4th ES goal before Jamestown were able to pull 1 goal back. However, ES regained control of the game and before half-time Peter Steel scored another goal for ES. In the 2nd period the home team continued where they had left off with Bill Keddie scoring a 6th goal in 55 minutes. Jamestown scored their 2nd goal of the game before Duffy Johnston and Clarkson completed the scoring for ES. The full time score was a comfortable 8-2 win for the Shire which took them into the next round of the cup.
On the same Saturday the East Stirlingshire Reserves were in friendly action away to Rumford Rovers and won easily 6-0 (ES also had a goal disallowed). The ES 3rd team, called Merchiston XI, also had 5-2 away win at 2nd Denny.
East Stirlingshire travelled to Springburn in Glasgow on Saturday 12th September for a Scottish Football Alliance League match against Northern. A considerable crowd turned up at Hydepark to watch the game. The ES team was: R Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Peter Steel, Andra Inches, Hastings, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. The Shire started the game well and went into an earlier lead from a scrimmage. However the home team took control and scored 3 goals before ES were able to add a 2nd goal (scorer unknown). Northern scored again before the break to bring the score to 2-4. In to the 2nd half and Northern added to their tally in 50 minutes but ES found their feet with 2 quick goals of their own, J. Clarkson scored the 3rd ES goal and the other was from a scrimmage. The Shire pressed on to get the equaliser but in the end it was Northern who were the team that scored again before the end. Once again ES had put up a strong fight but lost out, this time 4-6.
On the same day East Stirlingshire Reserves were in Scottish Cup 2nd XI Cup 1st Round action at Merchiston Park against 2nd Denny and easily moved into the next round with an emphatic 8-0 win.
The next Saturday Shire were home to Ayr in a League match in front of a good crowd. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Peter Steele, Andra Inches, Hastings, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. ES lost the toss and had to play against the sun and wind in the 1st half. The home team were determined to get something from the game after failing to register a point so far in the league campaign though their opponents. Ayr, had won their previous league game 5-1 against Port Glasgow Athletic. ES were at Ayr from the start of the game and went 1 goal up in 5 minutes through a scrimmage. The home team then missed a number of good chances before Duffy Johnston scored a 2nd to put ES 2-0 up at the interval. Ayr came into the game in the 2nd half and pulled a goal back early on but soon afterwards Thomas Howden scored a 3rd for ES. After this the home team dominated and Duffy Johnston added a 4th goal. Ayr got a goal back from a penalty but this didn’t stop the ES pressure and Harry Reid scored a further Shire goal. At full time ES had finally won a League game, 5-2. This was the 1st League points that the club had ever won.
On the same Saturday East Stirlingshire Reserves had a large 9-0 friendly away against Tulliallan. Merchiston Juniors (aka Merchiston XI) met Lonriggend Wanderers after the ES 1st XI game had finished at Merchiston Park but went down 2-4 in a friendly match.
During the week ex-ES star Davie Alexander was in town and tried to get Thomas Howden to move to England and sign with a team offering £20 down and £2 5s per week. The ES forward declined the offer.
Thomas Howden was a Bainsford Laddie born in the village on 14/11/1870. For nearly the whole of his known football career he played for his local team, East Stirlingshire, despite a number of good financial offers to lure in South to play professionally. He first played for the Shire in 1889/90 and he became a regular on the right side of the forward line for the next 4 seasons. During this period he gained 3 Stirlingshire caps playing for the county team. He also won the Stirlingshire Cup, Falkirk and District Charity Cup and Falkirk Cottages Hospitals Shield (twice) with the club. Thomas was also selected as a reserve for the Scottish Football Alliance League v Scottish League match in May 1892. In 1893/94 he moved to local club Gairdoch and then in the following season he played for Clackmannan where he won a Fife Cap. During 1893/94 to 1895/96 he did occasional return to play with his 1st love, East Stirlingshire in friendly matches.
On the last Saturday of the month King’s Park were the visitors to Merchiston Park to play Shire in the Scottish Cup Preliminary 2nd Round. There was a large attendance including 400 fans from Stirling. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. ES won the toss and elected to play with the virtual gale blowing down the pitch in their favour. Soon after kick-off heavy rain started to fall. Duffy Johnston missed an early penalty for the Shire, the 1st ever recorded penalty miss by an East Stirlingshire player. Due to the wind and rain ES hemmed King’s Park into virtually their goalmouth and Harry Simpson, Harry Reid and Duffy Johnston put the home club 3 nil up. However, as a result of particularly heavy rain the game was abandoned (by the request of the ES & KP captains) with only 90 seconds of the 1st half remaining.
On the same day ES Reserves won a friendly away day against Dunfermline Athletic Reserves 6-2.
During that week Duffy Johnston received another offer to sign for an English club.
The abandoned cup game against King’s Park was played again on 3rd October at Bainsford, the crowd was estimated to be nearly 2300 with a considerable number of away fans travelling through from Stirling by special train. The fans at the previous week’s game had been giving slips to get them into this game but only for the 2nd half. It had been the intention that the slips would cover the entry for the full game and because of this error the ES official involved had tended his resignation. To solve the problem the entrance fee for the game had been reduced to 3d, the gate receipts realised on the day were £24. The ES team that lined up for the game was the same as previous week. ES won the toss and elected to attack the ropework goal (the East goal) in the 1st half. The Shire took charge of the game from the whistle and were 1 goal ahead in 6 minutes from a scrimmage. ES then scored goal after goal; Duffy Johnston in 15 minutes, Harry Reid in 30 minutes, followed by a 10 minute Thomas Howden hattrick between the 30th and 40th minutes. King’s Park did have a great chance just before the break but a shot hit the bar instead of going in. ES held an overwhelming 6-0 lead going into the 2nd half. KP improved considerably as the new half started and after scoring an early goal they pressed East Stirlingshire. However, the home team weren’t put off their game and in 65 minutes Clarkson added a 7th goal for ES. KP did keep trying and were rewarded with a 2nd goal 15 minutes from the close. There was no further scoring after this and at full time ES progressed into the next round of the Scottish Cup by the large scoreline of 7-2.
Merchiston Juniors travelled to Linlithgow Bridge on that Saturday and won a friendly against the local team, Vale of Avon, 6-3.
It was reported that Allan Rae had once again taken up his place as ES secretary, a position he made his own since 1888.
On 10th October King’s Park were again Shire’s opponents for the 3rd Saturday running, this time in the Scottish Football Alliance League at Forthbank, Stirling. The crowd was the largest there had been for a League game that season at King’s Park (the stand was full). The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. ES lost the toss and played into the sun in the 1st period. ES had an early goal in 5 minutes disallowed but continued to press and were rewarded 10 minutes later with the 1st goal of the game from Harry Reid. After this both teams scored to leave ES 2-1 up at the break. In the 2nd half Harry Simpson added a 3rd ES goal from a header in 60 minutes. From then on the game was fairly even though at the close KP rushed through a 2nd goal. The full time result was 3-2 to the Shire.
That same Saturday ES Reserves were at home against 2nd Clyde in the 2nd Round of the Scottish 2nd XI Cup and recorded a great 3-2 win, the Reserves also had had 2nd goals disallowed. Merchiston Juniors also won a friendly against Stirling Athletic 7-3 that day, venue unknown.
It was reported during the week that Thomas Harley (Mick Harley’s brother), who had been playing for ES reserves in 1891/92 and had played for the ES 1st XI in the two previous seasons, was planning to leave for Trinidad.
The following Saturday East Stirlingshire played their Scottish Cup Preliminary 3rd Round tie against Mossend Swifts at Merchiston Park in front of a large attendance of 2000 (gate receipts were £20 which was a called a “good sum for a 3d gate”). The ES team was the same as the previous week. The Swifts were 1st to score but East Stirlingshire fought back with a Harry Reid penalty in 15 minutes and shortly after Thomas Howden scoring a 2nd. However, straight after the Swifts scored to tie the game 2-2. ES then took the game to the Lanarkshire team with 2 shots hitting the crossbar before Duffy Johnston put them back into the lead. This remained the scoreline until the break. At the start of the 2nd half it was all Mossend Swifts but gradually the home time got back into the game and scored through Duffy Johnston. The Swifts then replied with two goal of their own to bring the score to 4-4 with 25 minutes to play. With 80 minutes gone Thomas Howden scored what to proved to be the winner for ES. After this the Shire dominated the game but there was no further scoring.
On same day ES Reserves met Dunblane Reserves in a friendly (venue unknown) losing by the incredible score of 4-10 after leading 4-2 at the break. Merchiston Juniors friendly opponents that day at Merchiston Park were Glebe Rangers and an easy 7-1 win was secured.
During the week East Stirlingshire announced that they planned another northern tour over the New Year holidays following the success of the previously year’s tour. They planned to play Orion at Aberdeen on 1st January and Caledonian at Inverness the following day. The final match of the tour would be played 2 days later on the Monday against Inverness Thistle.
One week later St. Bernard’s were the visitors to Bainsford for a League match. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, R. Burns, Mick Harley, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Hastings, Duffy Johnstone, Harry Simpson, Clarkson, Thomas Howden, Harry Reid. The Shire faced the bright sun in the 1st half but it seemed to have no effect as they started the game strongly. In 10 minutes Harry Simpson put ES into the lead but the Edinburgh team equalised 1 minute later. Further into the half the home team went back into the lead from Clarkson but again St. Bernard’s immediately replied with a goal of their own. At half time the teams were level at 2-2. Into the 2nd half and St. Bernard’s took the lead for the 1st time in the game. This triggered a Shire onslaught and for a full quarter of a hour shots rained in on the St. Bernard’s goal but finally in the 75th minute Clarkson scored the equalising goal for ES. After this East Stirlingshire continued to press but there was no further scoring and the game ended in a draw, 3-3. The result meant that ES remained 3rd from the bottom of the league.
ES Reserves travelled to play Tillicoultry at their ground, Ochilview Park, on the same Saturday and drew the friendly 1-1.
At the SFA meeting on the evening of Tuesday 27th in Glasgow East Stirlingshire received a bye in the Scottish Cup 4th Preliminary Round. It was rumoured during the week that friendly matches may resume shortly between East Stirlingshire and Falkirk. The teams hadn’t met in friendly competition since March 1889 due a fall out between the clubs.
On the last Saturday of October ES travelled to Bonnybridge to play Grasshoppers in the Stirlingshire Cup 1st Round at Milnquarter. The crowd was only 300 and the gate did not amount to £3. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R, Burns, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steele, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnstone, Harry Simpson. East Stirlingshire dominated the game going ahead in 20 minutes through Harry Reid. Before the break ES added 3 further goals, 2 from scrimmages and the other by Clarkson. The Hoppers stated the game a brighter in the 2nd half but it wasn’t long before Harry Simpson added a 5th ES goal. The Shire added 4 more goals without reply before full time, 2 from Clarkson followed by 1 each from Duffy Johntone and Harry Simpson. The final score was a huge 9-0 win for ES.
Also on the 31st October ES Reserves played off their Scottish 2nd XI Cup 3d Round tie away to Dumbarton Rangers (the 2nd XI of Dumbarton) losing heavily 3-10. Merchiston Juniors met Stewartonians (Bo’ness) in friendly at Bainsford winning 10-0.
Michael (Mick, Mickey) Harley was born in Larbert on 8/5/1866. He starting playing football with Carron and then Comely Park before joining Falkirk in 1885/86. He stayed at Falkirk for 4 seasons where he won 2 Stirlingshire Cup runners up medals and also represented Stirlingshire twice and Falkirk District XI once. Whilst he was at Falkirk he guested for Carron Rangers, Carron Foundry Offices, Zingari and even 1 game for East Stirlingshire 2nd XI in September 1887. At the start of 1889/90 season he joined his brother Thomas at East Stirlingshire became a regular in the back division. He played with the Shire until 1892/93 during which time he won 2 Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield winners medals and a Falkirk & District Charity Cup runners up medal.
On Saturday 7th November Shire played a friendly against Falkirk at Merchiston Park. It had been a few years since the clubs had met in a friendly match due to the “fallout”. It was reported that Falkirk had been the instigators of the games having been stopped and because of this it was agreed that the game would take place at Bainsford with the gate being shared and ES keeping the stand drawings. Even thought the price of admission had been doubled the crowd was between 2500 to 3000 and the gate receipts were almost £40. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, Parker, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steele, Harry Reid (Captain), Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. The game got off to a sensational start with Falkirk taking the lead in the 1st minute only for Harry Simpson to equalise 1 minute later. Falkirk then added 2 further goals in the next 6 minutes. Despite both teams having a number of chances during the rest of the half there was no further scoring. In an even 2nd period both teams again missed good opportunities but neither team managed to add to their tally and the game ended in a 1-3 defeat for ES. The duration of the game was only 75 minutes; a 40 minutes 1st half and a 35 minutes 2nd half.
The following Saturday it was back to League action when the Shire travelled to Beechwood Park, Glasgow to play Thistle in front of a poor turnout at the start but which swelled into a large crowd by the end of the game. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, R. Burns, Mick Harley, Hastings, Ross (of ES 2nd XI), Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid (of ES 2nd XI), Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston. In a competitive encounter Thistle took the lead before J. Reid equalised for the Shire. After this ES pressed their opponents hard but as a result of a breakaway Thistle again took the lead and the score remained 1-2 at half time. ES started the 2nd half well and drew level through Harry Simpson. This woke up Thistle who then scored 2 goals of their own. Back came ES and after some pressure they scored a 3rd goal through a scrimmage. The Shire continued to take the game to Thistle and were rewarded with an equaliser 5 minutes from the end when Duffy Johnston scored. The game ended in a 4-4 draw. It was later reported that the referee had been subject to some rough treatment by the home fans.
East Stirlingshire were in Stirlingshire Cup 2nd Round action on 21st November at home against King’s Park in front of a large attendance which included a good number of away fans who had travelled through from Stirling by a special train. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R. Burns, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston. After both teams had early chances it was the ES captain, Harry Reid, who opened the scoring for the home club in 5th minute. 5 minutes later Thomas Howden added a 2nd goal for the Shire and he then went on to score again. KP got back into the game and got a goal back but ES replied immediately with a headed goal from Harry Reid. The Shire went in at half time comfortably 4-1 up. Although KP started the 2nd half brightly scoring a 2nd goal thereafter it was the home team who once again took control, scoring further goals through Harry Simpson, J. Reid and Harry Reid. The final result of 7-2 saw Shire progress to the next round of the Cup.
East Stirlingshire held their half-year general meeting on 23rd at their new headquarters in the Hall of the Thistle Tavern, Bainsford.
On 28th November Kilmarnock were the visitors to Merchiston Park in a Scottish Cup 1st Round tie. A large crowd 3000 turned up to watch the match. The ES team was: R. Goodwin, Mick Harley, R.Burns, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid (captain), Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. Although East Stirlingshire did have their chances in the 1st half it was Killie who dominated scoring 4 goals (2 of which were ES o.g.s) without reply. The 2nd period was much of the same with Kilmarnock scoring a 5th goal before ES got one back, bizarrely from yet another o.g. from Paterson the Kilmarnock half-back. Killie added another goal before the end. At full time ES had lost 1-6 and were out of the Cup.
On the 1st Saturday in December King’s Park were once again the visitors to Bainsford to play the Shire in the return league game. It was the 5th time the clubs had met since the end of September. The away team did not run a special train due to lack of interest and as a result few fans travelled from Stirling. The ES team was: Johnnie Mercer, Hastings, Mick Harley, Ross, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Harry Simpson, Clarkson, Duffy Johnston, J. Reid. The Shire team showed 3 changes from the previous week. R. Goodwin had been blamed for 3 of the goals ES had lost against Kilmarnock and was replaced by Johnnie Mercer, the 1890/91 ES goalkeeper. R. Burns also lost his place in the ES team and Thomas Howden did not play due to a burnt foot. For both Goodwin and Burns the Kilmarnock game had proved to be their last game for ES and two weeks later they were playing for the Bonnybridge club, Grasshoppers. ES had won the 4 games against KP in 1891/92 but this game to proved to be a far better one for the Stirling team. On a soft pitch, due to the heavy rain, the game started evenly for the 1st 20 minutes then KP scored 2 quick goals. ES replied almost immediately with 2 goals of their own, both from Duffy Johnston. ES then took charge of the play but the there was no further scoring in the 1st half. 20 minutes into the 2nd half and the Sons of the Rock went ahead through a penalty. From then on the Stirling team controlled the play and went further ahead with a 4th goal. ES weren’t able to mount a comeback and the game ended 2-4. This was King’s Park’s 1st win against the Shire since January 1884.
On the same Saturday East Stirlingshire Reserves game against 2nd Camelon was cancelled as ES couldn’t raise a team. However, Merchiston Juniors did meet Larbert Windsor at Merchiston Park in the Stirlingshire Junior Cup, drawing 2-2.
|SCOTTISH FOOTBALL ALLIANCE LEAGUE AS AT 12/12/1891 (after games)|
|Port Glasgow Athletic||9||1||4||4||19||28||6|
The Shire had not got off to a great start in their 1st ever league campaign and the defeat against King’s Park meant that they were now only avoiding the bottom rung of the table due to a better goal average. The team had been decimated by key players moving down south to play professionally and it had proved hard for the club to replace them with players of a similar quality.
On 12th December travelled to play Grangemouth at Caledonia Park in the Stirlingshire Cup 3rd Round (the Quarter-Final) in front of a fair attendance. The ES team was: Johnnie Mercer, Mick Harley, ?, ?, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, ?, ?, ? , ?, ?. Thomas Howden didn’t play for the Shire due to an injury. Although both teams had chances in the 1st half it was the Portonians who went in at the break 1 goal up after opening the scoring in 43 minutes. Despite a lot of ES pressure in the 2nd half it was the home team who added a further goal and won the game 0-2. This was a very unexpected defeat for East Stirlingshire.
On the same day East Stirlingshire Reserves played 3rd Lanark Reserves in a friendly at Merchiston Park winning 4-2. Merchiston Juniors met Larbert Windsor in the Stirlingshire Junior Cup replay at Larbert but lost 3-5.
During the week the final details of East Stirlingshire New Year northern tour was confirmed, the matches being 1st January – Orion (from Aberdeen), 2nd January – Caledonian (from Inverness) and 4th January – Ross County.
The next Saturday Shire were back in Scottish Football Alliance League when they played Linthouse at home. There was not a very large attendance but the fans that did turn up witnessed an incredible game. The ES team was: Johnnie Mercer, Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Andra Inches. Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. From early pressure ES were awarded a penalty but Harry Reid’s kick was saved. This didn’t put the home team off and Thomas Howden did put the Shire 1 goal up 10 minutes after the start of the game. It was then the Linties turn to attack and they equalised shortly afterwards. Back came ES with 2 goals of their own 5 minutes later, the 1st was from Duffy Johnston and the 2nd straight from the kick-off with the same player hitting the target. The Shire continued to press after this but it was the Govan team who were next to score in the 35 minutes. The score remained 3-2 at the break. Shortly into the 2nd period and one of the Linties forwards had to retire from the game due to an injury. Whilst the away team was shorthanded Duffy Johnston completed his hattrick to put the home team 4-2 up. The Linties came back again with a goal of their own 5 minutes later and their injury forward then returned to the game. After this ES were denied a certain penalty when J. Reid was charged from behind when only 2 yards from the Linties goal, the referee only giving a free-kick. Then it was the Govan team’s turn to attack and from this they scored to tie the game at 4-4. Not long after the away team went on to score a 5th goal. Undaunted ES again drew level through J. Reid 10 minutes from full time. At this point the Shire went down to 10 men due to an injury to Thomas Howden. 5 minutes later the Linties scored their 6th goal when Johnnie Mercer punched the ball into his own net. However, right from the restart ES ran up the pitch and J. Reid equalised. The game ended shortly afterwards, a 6-6 draw.
The same Saturday the ES reserves met Rumford Rovers in a friendly away at Wallacelea, Polmont and won 5-2. Only 5 of the regular ES reserves played with the rest of the team being made up of ES juniors.
During the week it was announced that after considerable pressure Bob Sharp had agreed to return to play in goals for ES. He had been the club’s goalkeeper during the club’s golden era of the late 1880s and had had retired at the end of season 1889/90. The current goalkeeper, Johnnie Mercer had only been helping out the club and was looking to retire from football himself.
Robert (Bob) Sharp. Was born in Falkirk on 19th June, 1860. He joined East Stirlingshire in the club’s early days and definitely was playing for the club in 1881/82. For the next 3 seasons he remained at the club playing at outside-right and left and also at half-back. At the end of 1883/84 he played at outside left in the Shire team who were runners up to Falkirk in the 1st Stirlingshire Club Final. The shirt he used in that Final is housed in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden and is the oldest surviving club shire in Scotland. In Season 1884/85 he moved to the Tamfourhill club, Tayavalla, where he became a goalkeeper of some renown. Whist at Tayavalla he won a Stirlingshire cap in goals against Lanarkshire.
Bob returned to East Stirlingshire in 1885/86 to become the club’s goalkeeper, a position he retained until he retired at the end of 1889/90 (although he did come out of retirement to assist the club in 1891/92). During his 2nd spell with the Shire Bob won 5 further Stirlingshire Caps, 4 Stirlingshire Cup gold winners’ medals, 4 Falkirk & District Charity Cup winners’ medals and a runners up medal and also a winners medal in the Falkirk Cottage Hospital Shield. Also of note is that Bob’s grandson, Russell Sharp, still attends the Shire games to this day.
On the final Saturday of the year East Stirlingshire met local team Gairdoch at home in a Friendly (at the time these games were called “Ordinary Fixtures”). The crowd was between 400 and 500. The ES team was; Bob Sharp, Mick Harley, Baird, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Ross, Harry Reid, Clarkson, J. Reid, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston After a bright opening for the Shorites it was the Shire who took charge and went into the lead in the 15th minute from a Duffy Johnston shot. Although ES pressed further the score remained 1-0 to ES at the break. For the full 2nd half ES controlled the game winning corner after corner. The Shire did add 3 goals to their tally in the 2nd period through Duffy Johnston, a Harry Reid penalty and, 1 minute after, Harry Simpson. The game ended 4-0 in the Shire’s favour. The returning Bob Sharp in goals helped ES to keep a clean sheet in a game for the 1st time since 19th August and only for the 2nd time that season.
That Saturday ES Reserves played 2nd Gairdoch in a friendly at Carronshore wining 6-2.
East Stirlingshire left for their northern tour at 10pm on Thursday 31st December from Grahamston Station on the over-night train to Aberdeen. There were 20 in the travelling party including the full 1st XI and 3 reserve players. Hugh McKinnon of King’s Park joined the group at Stirling. New Year was celebrated on the train not long after leaving Stirling and the train didn’t arrive in Aberdeen until 5am (2 hours late). As a result the “brake” which had been organised to take them to their hotel wasn’t there and they had to use the same cab a number of times to get everyone to the hotel. Some players got in a sleep before heading to the 1st friendly game in the tour that afternoon, which kicked off at 12pm against Orion at Central Park, Kittybrewster. A fair sized crowd turned up to watch the game. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Hugh McKinnon, Mick Harley, Andra Inches, Ross, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston. Although the pitch was a quagmire of mud in places ES completely dominated the 1st half and were 5-0 ahead at half time. Orion came back into the game in the 2nd half and took the game to the Shire. In the end the full time result was 6-3, unfortunately none of the ES scorers were recorded.
The next day the Shire travelled to Inverness to play Caledonian in a friendly in front of a big turnout at Caledonian Park, Telford Street. The ES team was; Bob Sharp, Hugh McKinnon, ?, Hastings, ?, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston. There was a very high wind which meant it was difficult to keep the ball on the field. In an even 1st half ES took the lead through Thomas Howden before Caledonian equalised before the break. In the 2nd period it was the home team who were in charge and they went 2-1 up. However, against the run of play Harry Simpson equalised after which there was no further scoring, the game ending in a 2-2 draw. Following the game Caledonian entertained East Stirlingshire to a dinner in the Glenalbyn Hotel, Inverness.
The final game on the north tour was at Ross County on 4th January. This was reported as the furthest north a South team had ever played. There was a good turnout for the friendly. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, ?, ?, Hastings, Andra Inches, Hugh McKinnon, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, J. Clarkson, Duffy Johnstone. There was a thick layer of snow on the pitch. The County team included 3 players from Inverness Caledonian and 2 from the Cameron Highlanders. The home took the lead in the game but it wasn’t long before Thomas Howden equalised for ES. Then home team went back in front, however, by the 9th minute ES had scored 2 more goals of their own to go into the lead, 3-2. The Shire then took control of the game and scored 2 further goals before half time. The game was a bit more even in the 2nd half but it was ES who were the team that added to their tally, scoring 3 more goals. The full time result was 8-2 to ES, Duffy Johnstone scored 5 goals of the remaining goals with the other 2 goalscorers being unrecorded.
The Shire were back in League action on Saturday 9th January when Port Glasgow Athletic were the visitors in front of a crowd of 600. It was a battle of two bottom teams in the League. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Andra Inches, Ross, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, J. Reid, Duffy Johnston, Harry Simpson. Peter Steel was absent from the team due to a sore foot. The ground was hard due to a slight frost and there was a light covering of snow on the pitch. ES took the lead in the game in 2 minutes from a shot from Hastings. The Undertakers then took the game to the home team for the next 10 minutes but after that ES dominated the game for the rest of the half. However, 5 minutes from half time the away team equalised from a counter attack. Straight afterwards the Shire had the ball in the net themselves, through J. Reid, but the goal was disallowed for offside. 10 minutes into the 2nd half and the Undertakers went into the lead. ES stepped up the pressure and were rewarded with an equaliser when Harry Simpson chested the ball through. The Shire continued to take the game to their opponents and in the 80th minute they scored what proved to be the winning goal, when Harry Reid’s shot was put in the net by a Port player (though an alternative report gave the goal to Harry Reid). The 3-2 win was an important one for the ES as it took them up to 8th in the 12 team league.
East Stirlingshire were due to play Partick Thistle away in the League on 16th January but heavy frost caused the game to be postponed.
On 23rd January the Shire travelled to Govan for their return League match against Linthouse. A “satisfactory” size of crowd turned up to watch the game at Langlands Park. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Mick Harley, Baird, Hastings, Ross, Peter Steel, J. Reid, Lawson, Harry Reid, Harry Simpson, Duffy Johnston. The Shire started the game brightly but the Linties were not long in taking control of play and scored 3 goals to take a commanding lead. ES fought back before the break but were unsuccessful in scoring from the many shots they had. ES didn’t give up in the 2nd half and continued to severely test the Linties defence but they were unable to register a goal. In fact it was the home team who were next to score before J. Reid got a goal back for ES. However, the Shire were unable to increase their tally and instead it the Linties who scored another before the close of play. The full time result was 1-5.
On the same day ES Reserves met Longriggend Wanderers (who were still in the Scottish Junior Cup) at Merchiston Park and lost 4-5. The ES team included half the Merchiston Juniors team.
East Stirlingshire had been due to play Laurieston on the last Saturday of January in the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield Semi-Final but the tie was postponed due to Falkirk playing their tie in that competition at Brockville Park on that day. So instead of a free weekend the Shire played Camelon in a friendly match at Merchiston Park in front of a fair turnout. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Ross, Peter Steel, Thomas Howden, T. Reid, Harry Reid, Duffy Johnstone, Harry Simpson. In the 1st half the Shire played with the strong wind in their favour and from the start it was all ES. After 12 minutes Harry Simpson put ES ahead and for the rest of the half the home team totally dominated. Further goals were scored by Harry Simpson, Reid and Duffy Johnston which gave the Shire a comfortable 4-0 lead at half time. Camelon did pull 1 goal back 10 minutes into the 2nd half and then a 2nd shortly afterwards. After this the game was fairly even although it was ES who scored 2 further goals (the name of the scorers were unrecorded). The full time result was a 6-2 win for ES.
That same Saturday ES Reserves met 2nd Camelon away in a friendly and won 5-2.
Henry (Harry) Reid was a native of Stenhousemuir and started his football career at Stenhousemuir Victoria in 1883/84. The following year he joined Stenhousemuir, note that this was a different club to the current Stenhousemuir. As far as can be ascertained he remained with the original Stenhousemuir until their demise in 1884/85 and then joined the newly formed Stenhousemuir (2) in 1886/87 or 1887/88. Like a lot of players at that time he also played with other clubs and whilst he was with Stenhousemuir (2) until 1889/90 he also played with Falkirk in 1887/88 & 1890/91 and with Camelon. In 1890/91 he joined East Stirlingshire, as a forward, having previously guested for them 2 seasons earlier. He was with East Stirlingshire for two seasons and was the club captain in 1891/92. He then returned to his 1st love Stenhousemuir (2) in 1892/93 where he played out his final 2 seasons. Whilst he was at Stenhousemuir (2) he also turned out for King’s Park and Rangers. Harry won local recognition when he was capped 4 times for Stirlingshire during his 2 spells at Stenhousemuir (2). He also won the Stirlingshire Cup, Falkirk & District Cup and Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield, all in 1890/91, when at East Stirlingshire.
On the 6th February Airdrieonians were the visitors to Merchiston Park for a League game. A fairly large crowd turned up to watch the match, The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, W. Clarkson, Duffy Johnstone, Harry Simpson. At the start of the game the play was end to end with both teams having good chances. It wasn’t long before ES went 1 goal up from the head of W. Clarkson. The same player added a 2nd for the home team before the interval. In the 2nd half Airdieonians came back into the game with a goal of their own in 60 minutes but ES then took control again, Harry Reid and W. Clarkson added further goals for ES. At full time ES had won, 4-1. The win took East Stirlingshire to equal 7th place in the 12 team league.
On the same Saturday 2nd East Stirlingshire played the reverse fixture away to Airdrieonians but lost the friendly encounter, 2-3. Two of the 2nd Airdieonians team were 1st XI players.
One week later ES travelled to play the bottom team Port Glasgow Athletic in a league match. A good attendance turned up to watch the encounter. The ES team was: Hunter (of Gairdoch FC), Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Reid, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Duffy Johnstone, Rae (of Gairdoch FC). Bob Sharp and Harry Simpson were unable to play for East Stirlingshire and Gairdoch players Hunter and Rae filled the gaps as Gairdoch’s game v Denny, the same day, had been cancelled. ES were 1 goal down at half time and things didn’t improve in the 2nd half when the home team continued to control the match. In the end ES lost 1-4 though they claimed that 1 of the goals they lost had not crossed the line. The ES scorer was not named. It was also mentioned that the narrowness of the pitch, only 50 yards, meant the ES forwards had not had the room to work in.
That Saturday ES 2nd XI met Queen’s Park (Hampden XI) at Bainsford in a friendly but lost 2-3. Merchiston Juniors were also in action although they went down heavily away to Carron Thistle in a friendly 2-7.
On Thursday 18th East Stirlingshire lost another of their 1st XI to the lure of money from England when Duffy Johnston joined Wolverhampton Wanderers (joining ex-ES player Tammy Dunn). He was the 5th ES from the previous season’s team to have moved down south.
James (“Duffy”, Jack, Jimmy) Johnston(e) was born in Edinburgh in 1869. He initial played with St. Bernard’s before moving to East Stirlingshire in 1890/91 where he became the club’s regular outside and inside left. In his 1st season with the Shire Duffy helped the club win the Stirlingshire Cup, Falkirk District Charity Cup and the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield. He also represented Stirlingshire v Forfarshire in 1890/91.During the start of 1891/92 he was continually linked with a move to England and this finally happened in February, 1892 when he signed for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Duffy remained with the Wolves until he returned to play for East Stirlingshire at the start of 1893/94. In his 2nd spelt with the club he also won a Midlands League title and the Stirlingshire Cup in 1893/94. In that same season he also won a runners up medal in the Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield. Duffy played with East Stirlingshire until 1895/96.
On the 20th February the East Stirlingshire were due to played Northern at Merchiston Park in a league game but the game was postponed due to the weather.
The final game in February took place on 27th when ES travelled to play Ayr in a league game. The ES team was: Hunter (of Gairdoch FC), Watson (of Gairdoch FC), Bell (of Slammanan Rovers), Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Mick Harley, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Rae (of Gairdoch FC), Wotherspoon (of Gairdoch FC) Ayr started the game brightly and went into an early lead but East Stirlingshire soon were back in the game and put the home team under severe pressure for a time. After this the game evened out, however, just before the interval Ayr doubled their lead. In the 2nd period again neither team was on top but in the last 15 minutes of the game it all changed. From then until the end of the match Ayr dominated play adding 5 goals to their tally, resulting in a heavy defeat for ES, 0-7. The margin of the defeat was in no small part due to East Stirlingshire only had five of their 1st XI playing, the rest of the team being made up of 4 Gairdoch players and 1 from Slamannan Rovers. This was the club’s heaviest competitive defeat since 4th October, 1884 when they had lost 2-10 to Renton in the Scottish Cup. It was also the 2nd largest loss in a competitive game until then in their history.
On the same day ES 2nd XI played 2nd Grangemouth at Merchiston Park in a friendly instead of the planned Stirlingshire 2nd XI Cup 1st Round tie against 2nd Alva (Alva had withdrawn from the competition). ES were in rampant form on the day winning 10-0.
On 5th March ES travelled to play Partick Thistle in the League (this was the postponed game of 15th January) in front of a fair attendance. The ES team was: Hunter, Baird, Burden (or Bo’ness FC), Hastings, Andra Inches, Allison, Harry Simpson, Scott, Rae, Beeston, Finlay. The East Stirlingshire team was again an under strength one, the time only 4 of the regular 1st XI played. It was therefore no surprise that the home team controlled the game and scored 3 goals without reply by half time. East Stirlingshire did improve in the 2nd half but poor shooting let them down. Partick added a 4th goal during that half and completed the scoring just before full time. The final result was a 0-5 defeat for ES.
The Stirlingshire v Fifeshire Inter-County match took place at Merchiston Park on the same day. East Stirlingshire’s Peter Steel and Thomas Howden played for the winning Stirlingshire team. Thomas Howden scored 2 goals in the 8-3 win. Also that day 2nd East Stirlingshire were at Kincardine for a friendly match against Tulliallan and won 3-1.
On 12th March East Stirlingshire played the return friendly against Falkirk at Brockville Park in front of a large attendance of 2000. The Falkirk Herald labelled match the Bainsford “laddies” v Falkirk “bairns” as at that time those from Bainsford were called “Laddies”. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Duncan, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Thomas Howden, Clarkson, Allison, Harry Simpson, J. Reid. The ES team was bolstered from players from 2nd ES. Although the 1st half was goalless both teams had a number of good chances. Within 5 minutes of the restart Falkirk took the lead but back came ES a few minutes later with a Thomas Howden breakaway goal. Falkirk then went back into the lead but ES pressed them hard for an equaliser. However, in the last 10 minutes the home team added 2 further goals resulting in the game ended in a 1-4 defeat for East Stirlingshire.
On the same Saturday Merchiston Juniors (called East Stirlingshire Juniors in the Falkirk Herald) played 3rd Falkirk in a friendly at Merchiston Park winning 5-0.
The next Saturday Thistle were the visitors at Bainsford for a League game. There was a large attendance despite East Stirlingshire being in last position in the league. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Burden or Burnett (In the FH teamlines he was listed as Burnett but in the notes he was given as Burden), Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, W. Clarkson, Harry Simpson, J. Reid. The game got off to a fast start when ES scored in 3 minutes, the Thistle goalkeeper being charged over the line after stopping a shot. 2 minutes later the Glasgow team equalised from an overhead kick. After this Thistle had a goal disallowed and then they took charge of the game for the nearly the rest of the half. The score, however, remained 1-1 at half-time. Straight from kick off at the start of the 2nd period J. Reid put East Stirlingshire into the lead. For the next 20 minutes the home team dominated the game and at the end of this period they went further ahead from an o.g. by Herd. Harry Simpson then added a 4th ES goal from a header. In the 80th minute Thistle did pull a goal back but further goals from Reid and a 2nd Harry Simpson header gave ES a win, 6-2. This result moved East Stirlingshire 2 places up in the league table.
The reserves teams of East Stirlingshire and Thistle met the same day in a friendly match at Beechwood Park, Glasgow with 2nd East Stirlingshire going down, 1-3.
On the last Saturday in March ES travelled to Kilmarnock for a League game at Rugby Park. The weather on the day was described as “a storm of sleet and rain“. The ES team was the same as the previous Saturday. In a 1st half totally dominated by the home team Kilmarnock raced to a 5 goals to nil lead at the interval. The Falkirk Herald explained; “The E.S. players were quite unable to follow the ball, as the wind, accompanied with the heavy snowfall, blew fiercely in their faces, at half-time one or two E.S. players stated they would play no longer, and the rest endorsed the sentiment, with the result that Kilmarnock took the field and claimed the match”. The game was then abandoned and the half-time result stood.
2nd East Stirlingshire travelled to Carronshore that Saturday to play 2nd Gairdoch in the 3rd Round of the 2nd XI Stirlingshire Cup and played out a 3-3 draw in a raging snowstorm (they had received a bye in the previous round).
During the week the Scottish FA committee voted that football in Scotland would not turn professional but remain amateur, though the vote of 71 to 54 was closer than expected.
On the evening of Friday 1st April East Stirlingshire held their annual assembly i.e. dance, in the “Odd Fellows’ Hall”. The hall had been decorated for the occasion. There were 50 couples present, and there were representatives from all the football clubs of the district and also from the East Stirlingshire Harriers and the East Stirlingshire Bicycle Club.
The next day East Stirlingshire were planning to play Slammanan Rovers in a friendly but they put the game off as several of the 1st XI wanted a holiday and also because 2nd East Stirlingshire played their 2nd XI Stirlingshire Cup 3rd Round Replay at Merchiston Park that day against 2nd Gairdoch. In front of a large crowd (the gate receipts were over £4) 2nd ES won easily 7-3 to progress to the Semi-Final.
On 9th April ES travelled to play Airdrieonians at Mavisbank Park in a League match. The ES team was: R. Ross (ex Falkirk FC), Burnett (of Bo’ness FC), Baird, Ross (of ES 2nd XI), Joe McQue (of Campsie FC), John Pray (or Prey) (of Falkirk FC), Pattison (of Campsie FC), Thomas Howden, Harry Reid, Smith (of Campsie FC, J. Reid. East Stirlingshire made whole scale changes to their line-up with a number of good quality players from other clubs turning out for them. ES played with the wind advantage in the 1st half and took control of the game from the start. They were soon 2 goals up through Smith and a charge on the Airdrieonians goalkeeper which took him through the goals whilst he was holding the ball. Despite further East Stirlingshire pressure the score remained at 2-0 at the break. The home team took the game to ES in the 2nd half but it was ES who went further ahead through either Smith or Thomas Howden. Undaunted Airdrieonians staged a great comeback scoring 3 goals of their own. The Full time result was 3-3.
The next Saturday the Shire played a home League game against Greenock Morton in front of a Large Attendance. The ES team was: Bob Sharp, Baird, Mick Harley, Hastings, Andra Inches, Peter Steel, Harry Reid, Thomas Howden, W. Clarkson, J. Reid, Harry Simpson. Greenock Morton arrived with only 9 men and the kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes. After this delay the referee ordered them to start with 9 men. It was 10 minutes into the game before they were up to the full 11 men when the missing 2 men turned up. ES started the game brightly and took the lead in 5 minutes from the head of Clarkson. 5 minutes later the away team drew level and then controlled play until the 40th minute when the home team when back on top with Clarkson adding a 2nd ES goal just before the break. At the start of the 2nd half Clarkson completed his hattrick and J. Reid added a 4th goal for ES in the 69th minute. 10 minutes before the end Harry Simpson scored a 5th for ES and just before full-time Morton scored a 2nd from a Mick Harley o.g. The 5-2 win was a critical one for the home team in their bid to avoid bottom place in the league.
On the same day 2nd East Stirlingshire travelled to play 2nd Grangemouth in a friendly and won 4-0.
Andrew (Andra) Inches or Inch was born in Falkirk on 13th May, 1864. There is some doubt to his actual surname as although on his birth certificate and various censuses he was named Inches, for virtually the whole of his football career he was called Inch. Andra made his debut for East Stirlingshire on 13th October, 1883 and for the next decade, until his retirement during 1892/93, he was the mainstay in the half-back position. He played more than 250 times for the club. During his long spell with the club he became the most decorated player in the club’s history winning 5 Stirlingshire Cup winners medals, 5 Falkirk and District Charity Cup winners’ medals and 2 Falkirk Cottage Hospitals Shield winners’ medals. He also won a runners up medal in the Shire cup and 2 in the Charity cup. His footballing prowess was recognised with 7 Stirlingshire caps including playing in the 1st ever Stirlingshire game. He also played for Falkirk District XI.