During season 2019/20 club historian, Drummond Calder, will be looking the eventful seasons of 1945/46 through to 1946/47 when the club found itself outside the top two Scottish Leagues and strived to regain its’ place at the Country’s top table. The articles will be published in our match programmes throughout the season and the various parts will be added here and on a separate 1946/47 page after each programme has been issued.
After 6 years the Second World War in Europe ended on 7th May 1945 and thoughts returned again to football at East Stirlingshire FC. Before the season started there was disappointment for the club when the Scottish League decided in June that it was too late to re-start the Scottish Leagues for season 1945/46 and that a 16 Team A Division and 14 Team B Division of the Southern Football League (the wartime League) would continue for a further season. Applications for inclusion into the League were declined from Brechin City, Forfar Athletic, Montrose and Stirling Albion. Immediately after this the rejected clubs looked at the possibly of forming a new League which would also include the ‘Shire, Leith Athletic, St. Bernard’s and Edinburgh City plus the Reserve teams of a number of Scottish League sides to make up a League of 16 clubs.
Meetings regarding the new League were held at the start of July in Glasgow and then in Perth. At a 2nd Perth meeting on 19th July, at the Station Hotel, a new League called the Eastern Scottish League (the week before it had been suggested the League should be called the Central League) was formed consisting of 8 teams; Dundee A, East Stirlingshire, Montrose, Forfar Athletic, Brechin City, Leith St. Bernard’s (they had joined forces), Edinburgh City and Stirling Albion. It have been expected that Bo’ness would be admitted to the League but as Bo’ness were the last club to apply their application was turned down due to an odd number of teams in the league.
The East Stirlingshire Football and Athletic Club AGM was held on 31st July at Milroy’s Hall, Bainsford where it was reported that the club made a profit of £172 6s 5d, mainly as result of donations. As a result the club were able to announce that it was clear of debt and had a little credit balance in hand. The club said that they would start the season with what players they could get, be it amateurs or juniors. The ‘Shire made mention that although the new League wouldn’t be as attractive as the Scottish League there would not be the same expense. Although the Match guarantee would only be £10 there would be a pool of 25% of all the League gates which would then be divided up by the League. Cup competitions would also be run. The price of admission was set at 1 shilling, which had been fixed by the League, and there would be no complimentary or members’ tickets. The club currently only had 5 players, though not all of them would be able to start the season, and had advertised for players with a view to getting them as cheaply as possible. The club decided to adopt the following motto for the season:-
After the club AGM a meeting of around 80 ‘Shire supporters took place to discuss how to help the club get everything ready for the start of the season. This included getting the ground and stand back in order as a great deal of damage had been done during the war years with a lot if items being taken, including the goalposts, chairs and baths. The railings around the ground required new wooden posts. Also the water heating stove had been dismantled, as had been the turnstiles which were now useless. The supporters agreed to the football Club Directors’ appeal for labour to get everything sorted with the Directors supervising the work.
On 2nd, 3rd and 4th August the following Advert appeared in the Daily Record. Football was about to commenced once again at East Stirlingshire.
Shire got the ball rolling with an Internal Trial match on 18th August to re-start the playing side of the club, the Black and Whites defeating the Greens 4-1. The only 3 ‘Shire players named were Thomas Scott, Peter Kelly and Jimmy Roughead. Roughead and Kelly were signed by the ‘Shire after the match, Left Back Peter Kelly being signed from Cowie Juveniles.
There were only a few ‘Shire players who would play for the club in season 1945/46 who had been with the club before the war. Along with Jimmy Roughead, returning players were Rabbie Kemp, McAinsh, Johnny Cook and Thomas Scott.
Like a number of ‘Shire players Johnny Cook had served in the forces during the War and he had been taken prisoner in 1940. In the Falkirk Herald 28th April, 1945 the following article announced that John Cook had been released from Stalag XXB where he had been held prisoner during the War.
4 days later a crowd of 3000 turned out (including many Polish soldiers) at Firs Park to watch a 2nd Trial game in which Shire lost 1-4 to a Polish Army Team. ‘Shire had been down 0-3 at the break with “Cameron” scoring the home club’s consolation goal in the 2nd half. The Shire players and Directors were treated to tea after the game by the Polish team.
This time the Shire team was recorded:
Dunbar, Peter Kelly, Stewart, Jimmy Roughead, Thomas Scott, Philips, Turnbull, Towner, “Cameron” (a trialist under an assumed name), Davie Cowan, Bob Mauchline.
East Stirlingshire had been due to start their Eastern League 1st Series campaign on 25th August against Leith-St. Bernard’s at Firs Park but the game had been cancelled due to the Edinburgh team withdrawing from the League. The Edinburgh combination, after having their own ground requisitioned, had planned to play their games at Edinburgh City but they were initially unable to afford the rental cost, however, an arrangement was reached on Wednesday 22nd. The next day Leith-Bernard’s found that they were not able to raise a team and the fixture v ’Shire was postponed and then they pulled out of the League. Instead of a blank that Saturday the ‘Shire travelled to open Alva Albion Rangers new ground (taking the place of Musselburgh Athletic who had been due to play but had cancelled) winning a close game, 3-2.
The Shire met the same Polish Unit again at Firs Park on the 28th with the home club losing 1-5 after being down 0-3 at half time. ‘Shire’s only goal came just before full time from a Turnbull penalty.
The ES team was:
Dunbar, Peter Kelly, Stewart, Stirling, Penn, Telfer, “Junior”, Jimmy Roughead, Anderson, Donaldson, Turnbull
So it was on the 5th September that ‘Shire finally got their League season started with a trip to Station Park to take on Forfar Athletic. There were a few changes to the ES team with a trialist “Buchanan” replacing Dunbar in goals; Smith and Junior replacing Stirling and Telfer at half back; J. Campbell, Corbett and Towner coming in for “Junior”, Anderson and Donaldson in the forward line. In front of a 1000 crowd ‘Shire got off to a poor start and were 0-3 down with 30 minutes to play. However, at that point the game swung in the ‘Shire’s favour with 3 goals from Roughead 60th minute, Corbett 66th minute and Roughead in 75 minutes to level to match and the game ended 3-3.
7 days later ES played their 1st competitive home match since 26th August, 1939 when a 1-1 draw had been achieved against Dundee United in Division Two. Montrose were the visitors to Firs Park for an Eastern League 1st Series match and again ‘Shire had a number of changes to the team as they continued to search for a winning lineup. Bob Mauchline, who had already turned out for the ‘Shire in 1945/46, had previously played for Falkirk, Heart of Midlothian, Accrington Stanley, King’s Park, Stenhousemuir, Raith Rovers, Blackpool and Barrow. Whilst at Centre Forward there was a 23 year old trialist called Ian Crawford who was making has ‘Shire debut. “Puff” would go on to become a ‘Shire legend.
The ES team was:
James Buckie, Peter Kelly, Stewart, Wilson, Smith, Struthers, Turnbull, Willie Brown, Ian (Puff) Crawford, Joe Burke, Bob Mauchline
On the day the Angus team were too good for the home side, leading by 1 goal at the interval and although Crawford equalised in 50 minutes they scored a further 3 times to send ‘Shire crashing to a 1-4 defeat.
‘Shire took to the field again on Monday, 10th September, at Ochilview to play Stenhousemuir in the 1st Round 1st Leg of the Stirlingshire Cup. In the days before floodlights the game had an early 6pm kick off and it was ‘Shire who went into a surprise 1 nil lead when Willie Brown scored from the penalty spot. It was to prove to be a false dawn as the Warriors raced to a 1-4 lead at the break. Worst was to follow in the 2nd half when ES were reduced to 10 men when Turnbull was taken to hospital with a leg injury. After this the home team scored 4 more goals resulting in a heavy 1-8 defeat for the ‘Shire. The ES team had been changed again for the match with 4 trialists being fielded and Meechan (who I believe may have been John Meechan who played for the club in the late 1930s) playing his only game for the club in 1945/46. There was 1 piece of good news, ‘Shire beat a number of other clubs for the signature of Crawford with Puff signing before the game. It had been reported that Heart of Midlothian, Greenock Morton and Aberdeen were all interested in signing him.
John (Ian, “Puff”) Campbell Crawford was the 1st East Stirlingshire star of the post 2nd World War era. Like many other players Puff’s Senior football career had been delayed due the War but after signing for the ‘Shire in September 1945 he went on to have a successful 13 year career in both Scotland and England. In his 3 spells at ES in the 1940s the centre forward scored 79 times including a huge total of 42 goals in season 1946/47. Puff also turned out for Greenock Morton in 2 different spells in 1947/48 and 1948/49. In 1949/50 he signed for Raith Rovers before moving to Ayr United for the following 2 seasons. 1952/53 took Puff south to play for Oldham Athletic where he helped them win the English Third Division North Championship. In 1954/55 he moved onto Halifax Town and then to Macclesfield Town in the following season before returning north to play for Montrose in 1956/57 and then finally Berwick Rangers in 1957/58. Puff always had the ‘Shire at heart and after his playing career he became a Director of the club and also was East Stirlingshire team manager from 1966/67 to 1969/70. He also managed Alloa Athletic in 1971/72.
It didn’t get any easier for the ‘Shire when they travelled to Dens Park on Saturday 15th September to play a strong Dundee A (or Reserves) team in the League. With Puff Crawford away on RAF duty ‘Shire brought in 2 trialists in the forward line and also Rabbie Kemp played his 1st game for the season at half-back. However, these changes did not help the team performance as they crashed to a very heavy 1-9 defeat. ‘Shire had been 0-4 down before Joe Burke had pulled 1 back 5 minutes before the break but it was only a consolation with a further 5 2nd half goals for the home team.
East Stirlingshire had a free Saturday on the 22nd September, due to receiving a bye in the 1st Round of the Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament, but were back in action on the last Saturday of the month with a visit to Edinburgh for their League game against bottom team, Edinburgh City, who had lost their 1st 4 League matches. If ‘Shire thought it was going to be an easy game against the Amateurs at East Pilton Park they were in for a rude surprise. Despite another overhaul of the ‘Shire team lineup, with 5 new players including 2 trialists, ES were overwhelmed. Losing 2 nil at the interval, City added 2 further goals before Wilson got one back for ES. However, City continued to press and by the close it was a disastrous 1-7 defeat for the ‘Shire.
|EASTERN LEAGUE – 1st SERIES AS AT 30/9/1945|
The ‘Shire Directors were well aware of the ‘Shire’s fallings and 4 players were signed to strengthen the team during that week. Goalkeeper Waugh was signed from Heart of Midlothian, right-half John McWilliams from Old Kilpatrick Churches League football, centre-half Thomas Bilsland who was previously with Dumbarton and Robert Costello who had been playing for Gillingham. Puff Crawford had been away with his RAF unit in Aldershot and Alex McLuckie, the ‘Shire secretary, was trying to get him back for next match.
That next match was against Stirling Albion at Firs Park on the 6th October in the 2nd Round of the Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament. Albion had tried to get the ‘Shire to give up home rights to the Tie with an offer of £100 but despite Falkirk playing Hibernian the same day in the town the Directors declined the offer. Albion then turned down ‘Shire’s offer to postpone the Tie for 1 week and also to delay the 6th October kick off to 5.15pm.
The ‘Shire teamline for the game included the four new signings and also a further signing, John (Jack) McCormack at Centre forward, Puff Crawford unfortunately failed to be released by the RAF for the game. Johnny Cook also played for the 1st time in 1945/46. The ES team was:
Waugh, Peter Kelly, Robert Costello, John McWilliams, Thomas Bilsland, Rabbie Kemp, Johnny Cook, Joe Burke, Jimmy Roughead, Jack McCormack, Bob Mauchline
The game proved to be a turning point in the club’s fortunes that season and although there was be future additions to the team as the season progressed (an incredible 75 different players, including trialists, were used by the ‘Shire in the 37 games played in season 1945/46) a winning team was finally beginning to take shape. Stirling Albion had only been formed that summer after the demise of King’s Park during the War but had hit the ground running and it was no surprise that the Tie was a close one. It will all square 1-1 at the break, with Roughead scoring for the ‘Shire. ES got 2 early goals at the start of the 2nd period, through Roughead and Burke. Jimmy Roughead then completed his hattrick to make the score 4-1 before the away team scored 2 goals of their own. Undaunted ’Shire then went further ahead when Roughead scored his 4th and the ‘Shire’s 5th game of the game. Albion did get 1 goal back just before the end but it wasn’t enough and ‘Shire won the Tie 5-4.
One week later the two teams met again at Firs Park, this time in the League. For the 1st time that season ‘Shire fielded an unchanged line up though Albion made several changes to their team. In a tight 1st half the teams went in level at 2-2, Jimmy Roughead and Johnny Cook scoring for ES. The 2nd half was just as close but eventual ‘Shire added a 3rd goal through Roughead and Joe Burke completed the scoring with a 4th, ‘Shire winning match 4-2. This 1st League win of the season moved ‘Shire moved off the bottom of the table.
The Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament 3rd Round Tie against Edinburgh City took place on 13th October at Firs Park. Due to an injury to Waugh ‘Shire were unable to put out the same 11 for the 3rd week running and he was replaced by John McCormack in goals. As it turned out McCormack thereafter became the number one choice in goals for the ‘Shire and Waugh never played for the club again. John McCormack had joined the club from Leith Athletic where he had played since 1937/38 (with 1 short loan spell at Dunfermline Athletic in 1939/40). The rest of the ‘Shire team remained the same. 15 year old Ronnie Simpson of Queen’s Park (who would later play in goals for Celtic when they won the European Cup in 1967) was in goals for Edinburgh City. The game was close in the 1st half with ES taking the lead through a Jimmy Roughead penalty in 15 minutes but it was City who went into the interval with a 1-2 lead. ‘Shire pressed in the 2nd half and were rewarded with 2 goals from Joe Burke and Roughead and then held on to record a 3-2 win.
It was back to League action the following Saturday with a trip to Annfield to take on Stirling Albion. They had originally been scheduled to play Forfar Athletic in the League but the Angus club had a Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament Tie that day in Inverness. ‘Shire were forced to make a number of changes to their team, Johnny Cook and Jimmy Roughead dropped out due to injuries and also Bob Mauchline was also unavailable. Their places were taken by 3 trialists and it was no surprise that the 4000 crowd witnessed the home team convert a 0-2 half-time lead into a 1-5 win at the final whistle. Jack McCormack got ‘Shire’s solitary goal.
At a meeting of East Stirlingshire FC supporters on 31st October at Bainsford Bowling Club it was agreed to form a new Supporters club for the purposes of helping the football Club’s Directors in every way they could. At the meeting it was agreed that an extra bus, along with the omnibus already arranged for the team and officials, would be provided to take the fans to the Cup Tie that Saturday in Wigtownshire. Departure time was set for 8 am.
Saturday 3rd November saw the ‘Shire make the long journey to Kirkcowan to meet Tarff Rovers in the Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament Semi Final at Ballygreen Park. Over 3000 fans from all over the local area turned out with watch the Tie including the local MP. The ‘Shire team was back to near full strength with the return of Puff Crawford, Bob Mauchline and Johnny Cook to the line up. The game turned out to be very one-sided in favour of the ‘Shire and the large 9-1 win meant that ES proceeded to the Final of the Tournament and more importantly qualified for the 1st Round of the Victory Cup proper. ‘Shire had lead 4-1 at half-time (even missing a penalty) and continued in the same scoring vain in the 2nd half. ES scorers on the day were Puff Crawford 3, Joe Burke 2, Bob Mauchline 2, Jack McCormack 1 and Johnny Cook 1.
‘Shire were at home 1 week later, this time playing the League leaders Dundee A who had yet to lose a match in 1945/46. The ‘Shire team remained unchanged from the previous week with Jimmy Roughead still out injured and Bob Mauchline making the game after having been expected to be playing that day for Accrington Stanley. The 1500 crowd saw the Reserves go into an early lead but despite continued ES pressure for the rest of the half it failed to produce any goals for the home team. However, ‘Shire finally converted their chances at the start of the 2nd half, racing into a 3-1 lead by the 53rd minute though 2 goals from Puff Crawford and 1 from Johnny Cook. There was no further scoring and the game ended with a great 3-1 win for the ‘Shire.
The ‘Shire supporters club held a meeting on the Wednesday and agreed that they would run 2 buses for fans to the forthcoming Final Tie in Inverness. A report from the football club secretary, Alex McLuckie, regarding the recent Eastern League meeting he had attended mentioned that a Cup competition was being organised for the clubs but ‘Shire would not be involved as they were 4 unplayed matches behind the other teams.
On the 17th November ‘Shire were due to play Montrose away in the League but instead, in a re-arranged fixture, they travelled on League business to Brechin City. There were a couple of changes to the ‘Shire team with a trialist replacing John McCormack in goals and Jimmy Roughead coming in for Puff Crawford at Centre Forward. A crowd of 800 turned out with watch ‘Shire dominate the game, despite City having 5 Dundee United Reserve players in their team. ES were 1 nil up at the break through Bob Mauchline and by full time increased the score to 4-1 with a goal from Joe Burke and two from Jimmy Roughead getting the 2nd half ‘Shire goals.
Joe Burke started his career with Montrose before joining Albion Rovers in 1937/38. The forward continue to play with the Coatbridge club throughout the War until 1945/46 when he joined the ‘Shire. Joe played for ‘Shire mainly at Inside Right during his time with the club during the 1945/46 and 1946/47 seasons.
So on 24th November lined up against Clachnacuddin in Inverness for the 1st Leg of the Victory Cup Qualifying Tournament Final in front of a record crowd of 5000. The ‘Shire team was:
John McCormack, Peter Kelly, Robert Costello, John McWilliams, Thomas Bilsland, Rabbie Kemp, Johnny Cook, Joe Burke, Jimmy Roughead, Jack McCormack, Newman (a trialist)
Clachnacuddin strengthened their team with 7 guest players including Bryon from Chelsea.
The game was very even with the scores level 2-2 at half time, Roughead and Newman scoring the ‘Shire goals. ‘Shire then went 3-2 ahead in the 48th minute from the head of Roughead but Clach equalised only 4 minutes later from a penalty. There was no further scoring and the Tie ended 3-3.
The Final 2nd Leg took place 7 days later at Firs Park in front of a reported record crowd for the ground though unfortunately the actual size was not recorded (all 6 turnstiles were open to cope with the crowd size). The ‘Shire made 1 change to their team with Bob Mauchline replacing Newman at Outside Left. The Falkirk and District Pipe Band was in attendance as were as several prominent members of the SFA. The game kicked off at 2.15pm and Clach started on top, going 1 up in 20 minutes. After this ‘Shire came into the Tie but it wasn’t until 3 minutes before the interval that they drew level from Bob Mauchline. ‘Shire were the better team in the 2nd half but weren’t able to extend their lead after Joe Burke had scored for them in the 50th minute. They were punished for this failure with only 1 minute to go when Clach scored and the game finished shortly afterwards, 2-2. The Final would have to be replayed with ES agreeable to play it at Dundee, Perth or Aberdeen but Clach wanted the game to take place in Inverness. The SFA ruled that the game had to take place at either Perth on 2nd January or Aberdeen on 3rd January with the clubs having to decide between them which venue it would be.
On the 8th December Saturday ‘Shire returned to League action with a trip to Montrose. The ES team was changed with a trialist coming in for Bob Mauchline at Outside Left as Bob was down south playing for Accrington Stanley. Also Puff Crawford came in for Jimmy Roughead at Centre Forward with Jimmy moving to Centre Half and Thomas Bilsland dropping out. Although it was the ‘Shire who started the game the brightest it was the home team who went in at half time 1 nil up after scoring in 15 minutes. ES had been reducing to 10 men towards the end of the 1st half when Cook went off injured. It was all ‘Shire in the 2nd period, including hitting the post twice, but then Jimmy Roughead was taken from the field unconscious and the injured Cook had to return to the play. With a breakaway goal in the 70th minute Montrose went onto win the game 0-2.
Centre Half, Thomas Bilsland, joined the ‘Shire at the start of October, 1945 and made his debut against Stirling Albion on 6th October in the Victory Qualifying Cup Tournament. Thomas had previously played for Dumbarton in 1938/39 and Third Lanark in 1942/43. In a season of never ending changing team line-ups his career with the ‘Shire was a short one, playing his 11th and last game for the club on 12th January, 1946.
During that week ‘Shire and Clachnuddin agreed that the Final Replay would take place at Perth on 2nd January.
That Saturday ‘Shire were again on their travel, this time to Brechin City for a League game. ‘Shire rested Rabbie Kemp and Thomas Bilsland and brought in 2 trialists, also a trialist again took the place of Bob Mauchline who was playing for Accrington Stanley. The viewing of the game was difficult for the 700 crowd due to heavy fog. After a goalless 1st half ES swept the Angus side away with 5 2nd half goals to win easily 5-0, ‘Shire’s goals coming from Robert Costello 47th minute penalty, a shot from Joe Burke, then 2 from Puff Crawford and the 5th from the trialist Outside Left just before the final whistle.
One week later the scheduled away League trip to Forfar Athletic was postponed due to Forfar playing in the Final 1st Leg of the Eastern League Cup. Instead ‘Shire met Edinburgh City in an Eastern League game at Firs Park. Puff Crawford wasn’t available for the game as he had returned to his RAF unit so Jimmy Roughead replaced him at Centre Forward. Rabbie Kemp returned to the team at Left Half and Smith came in for the injured Johnny Cook at Outside Right. ‘Shire got off to a good start in the game with goals from Jimmy Roughead in 14 minutes and from the Junior trialist Outside Left in 19 minutes. There was no further scoring in a hard fought encounter and the match ended 2-0 in favour of ES.
‘Shire had a free Saturday on 29th December as they were unable to play their final Eastern League match against Forfar Athletic due to their opponents playing their Eastern League Cup Final 2nd Leg that day. This game was never played and the final League table for the 1st Series was as follows:
|EASTERN LEAGUE – 1st SERIES FINAL TABLE|
On New Year’s Day ‘Shire made the short journey to take on Stirling Albion in the 1st game of the Eastern League 2nd Series. The pitch was frost bound and with the Cup Final Replay only 24 hours later ‘Shire players were trying to avoid injuries. ‘Shire made a few changes to their team since the last match on the 24th December with reserve player Smith coming in for Newman at Centre Half and recently signed John Whyte made his debut in replace of Rabbie Kemp at Left Half. Puff Crawford also took the place of Jimmy Roughead at Centre Forward and Bob Mauchline changed places with Junior at Outside Left. Although the teams were fairly well matched it was the defence which let ‘Shire down on the day. ‘Shire found themselves 0-3 down at the break and although Puff Crawford got a goal back right at the start of the 2nd half Albion got 2 more of their own. ES did get a further consolation goal from Jack McCormack but just before full time ‘Shire’s misery was complete when a 6th goal was conceded, resulting in a heavy 2-6 defeat.
For the 2nd January game ‘Shire team travelled by train to Perth, leaving at 10am, with the supporters travelling by 5 buses 90 minutes later and also other fans travelling by train. The large travelling ‘Shire support helped swell the Muirton Park crowd for the Final Replay to over 4000. The ES team for the game had 3 changes, the 1st was that due to Puff Crawford not being available and his place was taken at Centre Forward by Jimmy Roughead. Rabbie Kemp returned to Left Half with new signing John Whyte dropping out of the team. There was also a replacement at Centre Half with Duncan from Brechin City coming in for Smith in what would be his only ever game for the club. The full teamline was:
John McCormack, Peter Kelly, Robert Costello, John McWilliams, Duncan, Rabbie Kemp, Johnny Cook, Joe Burke, Jimmy Roughead, Jack McCormack, Bob Mauchline
So only 24 hours after their last game ‘Shire were back in action in what was their most important match of the season to date. Just like the previous two Final Ties with Clachnacuddin the game turned out to be another close encounter. In the 1st half it was end to end action with ‘Shire finally going ahead in the 35th minute through Joe Burke only for the Highland team to equalise 3 minutes later. The Final Replay continued in the same vain in the 2nd half with ‘Shire going ahead in the 47th minute from a John McWilliams shot, which went in off the crossbar, only for Clach to draw level again shortly afterwards. There was no further scoring in the 90 minutes and the match went in a 30 minutes period of extra time. ‘Shire made a positional switch as extra time started with Jimmy Roughead swapping places with Johnny Cook and this made all the difference with ‘Shire dominating extra time. 1 minute into extra time Jimmy Roughead put ‘Shire 3-2 up after Johnny Cook’s initial shot had been saved. Just before the change of ends Bob Mauchline put ES further ahead. Clach lost heart in the 2nd period of extra time and ’Shire were able to add a 5th goal through Joe Burke. Although Clach went down to 10 men after this due an injury the game was already won by ’Shire. Not long after this the final whistle went with ’Shire able to celebrate their 5-2 win. Despite winning the Cup there was sadly no Trophy presented to the players.
Jimmy Roughead started his senior career in 1932/33 with King’s Park. His next senior club was Stenhousemuir in 1935/36 before he joined the ‘Shire midway through 1937/38. Jimmy remained a signed ‘Shire played throughout the War and as the club was dormant during this period he had loan spells with Stenhousemuir in 1939/40 and Falkirk in 1941/42 and 1942/43. Jimmy returned to the ‘Shire at the start of 1945/46 where he played both in the Forward Line and also at Centre and Left Half. He left the club at the end of 1945/46 and returned to Stenhousemuir in 1947/48.
‘Shire returned to Firs Park on the Saturday for a League match against St. Johnstone A who had joined the League for the 2nd Series. There were 2 enforced changes to the ‘Shire team with Duncan returning to Brechin City and Bob Mauchline down south playing for Accrington Stanley, Thomas Bilsland and Newman replacing them respectively. Also John Whyte came in for Rabbie Kemp at Left Half. St. Johnstone didn’t have a 1st team game that day and had planned to play 5 1st team players in the Reserve team to face the ‘Shire. The 800 crowd had to wait until the 2nd half before seeing ’Shire go on to win the game easily. The match had been tied 1-1 at half time, the ’Shire’s goal coming from Joe Burke but in the 2nd half they scored 4 goals without reply to win 5-1. ’Shire’s 2nd half scorers were Johnny Cook (penalty), Jimmy Roughead 2 and the other from Jack McCormack.
On Monday 7th January East Stirlingshire and Stirling Albion received formal invitations to take part in the Scottish Southern League Cup to increase the numbers in the competition up to 32. Clachnuddin were disappointed that there were not invited as they have been the Victory Qualifying Cup Tournament Runners Up. It was mentioned that if ‘Shire and Albion accept the offer then there may be issues with them completing their Eastern League 2nd Series matches.
The following day ‘Shire declined the offer to join the League Cup saying that they were honour bound to complete their Eastern League commitments and that there was no guarantee that they would be included in the Scottish Second Division next season. It was also mentioned that if ‘Shire had accepted to play then they would be expelled from the Eastern League. This exact scenario happened to Stirling Albion who accepted the invitation and were expelled from the Eastern League. Clachnacuddin then applied to join the League Cup in place of the ’Shire but were rejected due to the travel distance to Inverness.
‘Shire made the trip to Montrose on the 12th January for a League match. Despite having two trialists in their forward line, replacing Jimmy Roughead and another trialist from the previous Saturday, ES won 6-3. ‘Shire lead 3-0 at the break through goals from the trialist Outside Left and 2 from Joe Burke, all the goals being scored in the 1st 15 minutes of the game. In the 2nd half the trialist Outside Left put ‘Shire further ahead before Montrose raced back into the game with 3 goals of their own. ES then steadied their nerves and added 2 further goals from Jack McCormack and the trialist Centre Forward to win the match.
It was reported that week that all the clubs, including East Stirlingshire, who took part in the Eastern League 1st Series were paid £46 10s 7d from the pool of income .
The follow Saturday met League leaders, Brechin City, at Firs Park. Brechin had won their opening 3 matches of the 2nd Series. ‘Shire lined up without Thomas Bilsland at Centre Half due to him having the flu, his place with taken by a Junior trialist. The trialist Centre Forward retained his place in the team and Bob Mauchline returned at Outside Left. Despite given as good as they got ‘Shire found themselves 1 nil down at the interval and worse was to follow when Brechin added a 2nd early in the 2nd half. However, undaunted ’Shire found back, scoring 1st through Jack McCormack in 55 minutes before Johnny Cook tied the game with 5 minutes to go. Although Cook then had to leave the leave the game due to an injury ’Shire held on for a 2-2 draw. The Falkirk Herald showed the League table after the match as follows, note although Stirling Albion had been expelled from the League the newspaper still have them in the table as no decision had yet been taken as to the results from the 2 matches that they had played.
|EASTERN LEAGUE – 2nd SERIES AFTER GAMES 19/1/1946|
|St. Johnstone “A”||3||2||0||1||10||7||4|
A meeting of the East Stirlingshire Supporters Club was held that Monday with the main topic of business being about raising funds for a new home for the ‘Shire at Bainsford, though a new ground had still to be identified.
‘Shire’s League game at Dens Park on 26th January against Dundee “A” was postponed due to the poor condition of the pitch and therefore the club’s next game took place on 2nd February at home to bottom team Edinburgh City in the League. As was usual for the ‘Shire team in 1945/46 there was a number of changes to the teamline up. William Waddell, a new signing who was formerly with Falkirk, came in at Centre Forward, two trialists were added at Left Back for Robert Costello and at Centre Half with Thomas Bilsland still out with illness. Also Thomas Scott replaced Joe Burke at Inside Left. It was to be a straight forward win for ES, after being 2-1 up at the break, from goals from Waddell and Johnny Cook, they ran away with the game in the 2nd half winning 6-2. ‘Shire’s goals in the 2nd period were scored by Cook, Scott, John Whyte and Jack McCormack. The only blot on the landscape was when ‘Shire went down to 10 men with the score 5-2 when new signing Waddell went off injured.
With William Waddell injured and Johnny Cook on holiday ‘Shire were forced in to yet more team changes for the League trip to Forfar Athletic 7 days later. Both players were replaced by trialists and also the trialist who had played at Left Half by McGowan another new signing, from Dundee United. Despite controlling the game ‘Shire ended up losing the match 1-2 mainly due to poor finishing. ‘Shire had taken the lead in 10 minutes from a shot by Jack McCormack but the home side equalised in the 25th minute. ES did go into the break 2-1 ahead after the Junior Outside Right trialist scored just before half time. However, in the final 10 minutes of the game Forfar scored twice to win the match. The result left ‘Shire in 3rd place in the League, due to the 1st January result against Stirling Albion still counting, 4 points off leaders Brechin City and 1 behind Forfar with all 3 teams having played the same number of games.
During the week signed another 2 players, both previous had played in Division One, Guy and Harrison went straight into the ‘Shire team (Left Back and Centre Half respectively) who met St. Johnstone A in a League game at Perth on 16th February. These were not the only changes to the team with John McWilliams moving from Right Half to Right Back to replace Peter Kelly and Rabbie Kemp slotting in at Right Half. Puff Crawford returned to the team at Outside Right with Jimmy Roughead coming in at Centre Forward, both after lengthy absences. After losing 2 early goals ‘Shire fought back with 2 of their own from Puff Crawford and Jimmy Roughead to tie the game 2-2 at half time. ‘Shire took the game to their opponents in the 2nd half but it was the home team who went ahead again. Before full time ES replied with a great shot from Jack McCormack and the game ended 3-3. The dropped point wasn’t too costly for ‘Shire as both Brechin City and Forfar Athletic had drawn in the League that day as well.
Saturday 23rd February saw ‘Shire on the road once more, this time in Edinburgh to play Edinburgh City in the League at East Pilton Park. With both Peter Kelly and Robert Costello out injured Corbett returned to the team for the 1st time since the start of September at Right Back with a trialist at Left Back. John McWilliams moved to Right Half and Johnny Cook replaced Puff Crawford at Outside Right. Note that a lot of Crawford’s absences from the team were due to him being stationed with his RAF unit in England. ‘Shire took a comfortable 3-0 lead into the interval against the Amateurs, the ‘Shire scorers were Jack McCormack, Jimmy Roughead and a penalty from Johnny Cook. ES then took the foot of the gas in the 2nd half and there was no further scoring. After the win for the 1st time in the Falkirk Herald there was talk that ‘Shire were after the League Title for the 2nd Series as finally the issue of Stirling Albion’s expulsion from the League had been resolved. The League table now showed that the 2 results from the 2 games that they had played have been expunged which meant that ‘Shire’s 2-6 defeat at their hands on the 1st January had been wiped. On the same day Brechin City lost 0-3 at home to St. Johnstone A and all of a sudden ‘Shire were only 2 points off the top of the table with a game in hand.
|EASTERN LEAGUE – 2nd SERIES AFTER GAMES 23/2/1946|
|St. Johnstone “A”||7||3||2||2||18||13||8|
The big news during the last week of February was that East Stirlingshire had sent a letter to the meeting of the representatives of the 30 Scottish League clubs in Glasgow on 1st March with regards to re-claiming their former Division Two place when the Scottish Leagues started again in 1946/47. Although there was little prospect of this happening it had been generally understood that after the War the ‘Shire would return to the place in the League that they held in 1939. ‘Shire also said they would be willing to take part in a Third Division if promotion was available. Alex McLuckie, the East Stirlingshire secretary, also confirmed that the club was actively looking to secure a new ground in the Bainsford area and the ground would have a large grandstand, up to date dressing rooms and offices. There would also be good social amenities.
On the field ‘Shire continued their winning ways with an emphatic 6-1 home win against Dundee Reserves in front of a 1000 crowd on the 2nd March. With Brechin City not playing that day ’Shire made the most of their outstanding match to take over top spot in the League on goal average. For once the team was virtually unchanged, with only Corbett moving to Left Back to allow a new trialist to come in at Right Back. A collection was held during the game for the Eric Liddell Memorial Fund. ES raced into a 5-0 lead at the interval, 2 goals from both Johnny Cook and Thomas Scott and one from Jimmy Roughead doing the damage. Both teams scored 1 goal in a quieter 2nd period, ‘Shire’s strike coming from Roughead, which resulted in the match ending in a 6-1 win for the home side.
3rd placed Forfar Athletic were the next visitors to Firs Park 7 days later for an expected close League match with only point separating the teams in the League table. There were 2 changes to the ‘Shire team with Peter Kelly replacing the injured John McWilliams at Right Half and a Junior trialist coming in for Jimmy Roughead at Centre Forward. ‘Shire got off to a great start in the game with an opening goal from Johnny Cook in 5 minutes. However, Forfar replied 3 minutes later. After this ‘Shire began to dominate, Jack McCormack and the trialist Centre Forward scored 2 goals to put the home side 3-1 ahead at half time. The Angus team were on the ascendancy at the start of the 2nd half and pulled a goal back and then went in search of an equaliser. However, ’Shire gradually got back into the game and in the 70th minute Bob Mauchline scored a 4th ‘Shire goal to ensure the win. Both teams had also missed a penalty during the game. The match ended 4-2 which kept ‘Shire at the top of the League on goal average from Brechin City.
John (Jack) McCormack joined for the ‘Shire in October 1945 from Airdrieonians on a free transfer. Jack had played for the Lanarkshire club in 1944/45 and 1945/46. The Inside Left never missed a game for the ES from his debut on 6th October, 1945. His performances were such that on 10th October, 1946 he was signed by West Ham United and played their until the end of that season. 1947/48 saw Jack return to Scotland to Stenhousemuir. His stay at Ochilview was only to last 1 season before he moved north to sign for Dundee United, playing for them in 1947/48 and 1948/49.
John (Jack) McCormack
Saturday 16th March saw ‘Shire at Glebe Park to play their nearest challengers for the title, Brechin City, who were on the same points tally. A good crowd of 1500 tuned out to watch the match. The ‘Shire teamline was once again tinkered with and was as follows: John McCormack, Corbett, Robert Costello, Rabbie Kemp, Harrison, John Whyte, Johnny Cook, Thomas Scott, Jimmy Roughead, Jack McCormack, Bob Mauchline
It was Brechin who started the game the brightest but after ‘Shire went ahead in 17th minute, through Thomas Scott, it was the away team who took control of the game. However, half time arrived without ‘Shire being able to add further to their tally. This proved costly as with only 5 minutes gone of the 2nd half Brechin broke away to equalise. Back came ES but poor shooting meant they were unable to find the net until the 85th minute when John Whyte made it 2-1. Despite the referee awarding the goal the home players protested so he then consulted with his linesman and as a result changed his mind and disallowed the goal for offside. The game controversially ended 1-1.
An initial meeting was held in Glasgow on the Monday regarding forming a Division C which would include the teams in the Eastern League plus one or two more “A” teams. The opinion was that the current set up should remain.
1 week later ‘Shire again travelled north, this time to Dens Park to play Dundee A in their penultimate League match of the 2nd Series. With John Whyte out due to an injury (which he had received during that week in an army match he had played) ‘Shire were forced into bringing in a trialist at Right Back, with Corbett moving to Right Half to allow Rabbie Kemp to move to Whyte’s position at Left Half. In the important match ‘Shire took the game to the Reserves and were rewarded with a 2-1 lead at the break, Jack McCormack and Johnny Cook scoring for the ‘Shire. The later had received a leg injury early in the 1st half and by the 2nd 45 minutes he was a virtually passenger in the team. The Reserves used this man advantage and the aid of a strong wind to turn the game around in their favour and scored 4 goals without reply. The 2-5 defeat was bad news for the ‘Shire as Brechin City had drawn 1-1 at home against Forfar Athletic that day which meant ‘Shire were now 1 point behind Brechin in the Table with 1 game to go.
Robert (Rabbie, Bobby) Kemp had a football career which spanned 20 years including 2 spells at the ‘Shire where he played over 300 times for the club. Rabbie begin his football career with Stenhousemuir in 1926/27 and stayed with them until moving to the ‘Shire in 1929/30. Rabbie would be the regular Outside Left for ES over the next 4 seasons, helping Shire to the Division Two Title in 1931/32. In 1933/34 he moved to the Left Half position in the ‘Shire XI and remained an integral part of the team for the next 5 seasons. During the 1937/38 season he moved to St. Bernard’s where he played until 1941/42. After the War in 1945/46, he signed for the ‘Shire for a 2nd time and remained with the club the following season when age finally caught up with him.
Robert (Rabbie, Bobby) Kemp
It was reported during that week that the Eastern League teams had declined to accept the offer of a Division C League for 1946/47 with 10 or 12 clubs and 1 promotion place to Division B. Instead, along with other displaced clubs (who were likely to lose their Division One status) they would pursue the promise made to the clubs that they would be in the same Division that they had been in when the Scottish Leagues were shut down at the commencement of War in September 1939.
‘Shire’s last League game took place at Firs Park on the 30th March against Montrose. 1 point behind Brechin City in the table all ‘Shire could do was win their game and hope that the result went in their favour with regards to Brechin’s match away at Dundee A. With John Whyte, Johnny Cook and Jimmy Roughead still out injured team changes were inevitable and the good news was that Puff Crawford was available and William Waddell was able to return from his long term injury. Also the team was strengthened with 2 new signings from Airdrieonians, Ritchie Collins and Stevens. Also making his season debut was McAinsh who have previously played a couple of games for the ‘Shire in 1937/38 and 1938/39.
The ‘Shire team was: John McCormack, Peter Kelly, Robert Costello, Stevens, Ritchie Collins, Rabbie Kemp, William Waddell, Thomas Scott, Puff Crawford, Jack McCormack, McAinsh
Before the game commenced a minute silence was held for Donald Cochrane, ‘Shire’s Centre from 1914/15 to 1916/17, who had died the previous week. ‘Shire got into their swing from the off and went 1 goal up in 9 minutes through McAinsh. Continuing to press Puff Crawford added a 2nd 10 minutes later. The Gable Endies finally got a foothold in the match with a goal of their own in 29 minutes but their joy was short lived when ‘Shire added a 3rd 1 minute later from Stevens and then Puff Crawford also had a goal disallowed for offside. However, Montrose refused to give in and made the score 3-2 before the break. ‘Shire continued to dominate play in the 2nd half but it took until the 75th minute before Thomas Scott increased their score. Further goals from Puff Crawford, William Waddell and a penalty from Stevens shortly afterwards completed the scoring with the game ending in a resounding 7-2 win for ‘Shire. When the news came through that Brechin City had lost 0-5 ‘Shire were able to celebrate their 1st Championship Title since 1931/32.
|EASTERN LEAGUE – 2nd SERIES FINAL TABLE|
|St. Johnstone “A”||12||4||3||5||27||34||11|
‘Shire were back in action 7 days later in the 1st Round 1st Leg of the Eastern League Cup away to Brechin City. With Puff Crawford not being available Stevens moved to Centre Forward and John McWilliams returned to the team at Right Half, the rest of the team remained the same. The 1000 crowd witnessed a close match and it wasn’t until the 88th minute than ‘Shire found a way through, William Waddell scoring the only goal of the Tie.
The 2nd Leg was scheduled to take place at Firs Park on 13th April but was postponed until Wednesday 17th at a request from Brechin City. Brechin had been unable to raise a team for the 13th as their players would be at Hampden Park for the Scotland v England International match. With one eye on their forthcoming Victory Cup match ‘Shire rested Rabbie Kemp and William Waddell from the team that faced Brechin with Stevens moving to Left Half. Johnny Cook returned at Outside Right with McAinsh moving to Inside Right and Bob Mauchline returning at Outside Left. On the night the old failings of poor finishing came back to haunt the ‘Shire, though it had to be said that Brechin also proved to be the stronger team, as the away team won 3 nil. ’Shire had stayed in the Tie until the 72nd minute at which point Brechin had scored their 1st goal. The 3 nil defeat on the night meant ‘Shire’s interest in the competition came to an end, losing the Tie 1-3 on aggregate.
Robert Costello signed for ‘Shire in October, 1945 from Gillingham. For the next two seasons Robert was the club’s number one choice for the Left Back position. In total he would play for the club 51 times, scoring 2 goals.
That Saturday ‘Shire played their 1st competitive match against a team from the top two tiers of Scottish football for 6 years when they travelled to Love Street to play St. Mirren in the 1st Leg of the Victory Cup 1st Round. Puff Crawford had travelled up from England to take his place in the ‘Shire team at Centre Forward, with Rabbie Kemp replacing Stevens at Left Half and Thomas Scott coming in for McAinsh at Inside Right. ‘Shire put on a much better showing than their last outing though still found themselves 3 nil down at the break. With the wind advantage in the 2nd half ’Shire took control of the game and after Jack McCormack had pulled a goal back in 47 minutes they took the game to their opponents but they were unable to score again and the match ended 1-3.
The Scottish League finally came to a decision on the 24th April, by 29 votes to 8, that there would be no return to the League formation of 1939/40. Instead there would be 3 Divisions for season 1946/47 which would consist of Divisions A and B which would have 16 teams each, and a Division C of 8 teams. Division C could be expanded to a maximum 12 teams with the inclusion of Division B reserves. There would be 1 promotion spot available from Division C in the team as long as the team winning the League was not a Reserve side. The match guarantee for away teams was set at £70 for Division C. When it was announced that East Stirlingshire would be playing in Division C the club made its’ feeling known that they were not happy with the decision and expressed doubts that Division C would actually start. ‘Shire believed that its’ rightful place was in Division B. The club also felt it would have been better it had there had been 3 strong Leagues of 12 clubs.
The 2nd Leg was played at Firs Park on 27th April and there were high hopes that ’Shire could win the Tie on aggregate and this anticipation drew out a large 4000 crowd to cheer the Zebras for what was their biggest match for a number of years. The Camelon Pipe Band came along to add their support to the atmosphere. The ‘Shire team which lined up to face St. Mirren saw only 1 change to the 11 that had played in the 1st Leg with new signing Jonsson, from Edinburgh City, replacing Bob Mauchline at Outside Left. It was a case of what might have been as ‘Shire put on a brave performance on the day to draw 2-2 but in the end lost the Tie on aggregate 3-5. The game didn’t start well for ES when St. Mirren went ahead in the 10th minute with a goal against the run of play and worse was to follow when the away team added a 2nd goal 4 minutes later. Even with these reverses ‘Shire continue to pushed forward seeking goals. However, the score remained 2 nil in favour of St. Mirren as half time was reached. ‘Shire increased their pace in the 2nd half and were rewarded with a goal in the 58th minute, John McWilliams scoring direct from a free-kick. Despite all ‘Shire’s pressure it took until the 80th minute before Puff Crawford scored a 2nd goal for the ‘Shire and in the last minute they missed a glorious chance to win the 2nd Leg when Johnny Cook failed to convert a penalty.
When Peter Kelly signed for the ‘Shire on 18th August, 1945 he became the 1st of two players (the other was the re-signing Jimmy Roughead) who signed for the club after the 2nd World War. Peter had played in the opening trial match that day and came from Cowie Juveniles. He became a near every present at Right Back during 1945/46 and was re-signed by ES for 1946/47. Initially he retaining his place in the team in that 2nd season but after mid October 1946 his appearance became less frequent.
In respect of the proposed ground move to Bainsford ‘Shire said that they would still be at Firs Park for a further year or two and therefore they were continuing with essential ground repairs and would make improvements to the current park in time for the 1946/47 season to ensure that it would be fit for any level of football they may play in. The club confirmed that they remained in a strong financial position.
On the 30th May the AGM of the Stirlingshire FA was held and it was agreed at the meeting that the 1945/46 Stirlingshire Cup competition be abandoned.
The AGM of the East Stirlingshire Football and Athletic Club Limited was held on the evening of the 17th June in the North End Hall, Mungalhead Road, Bainsford. At the meeting the club announced a profit of £113 13s 4d for the year, receipts from home matches had been £454 5s 6d but the main income the club had received had been from donations totaling £555 10s 10d. ‘Shire also made £35 from transfer fees. The long serving Director, David Mitchell, who had been with the club as a player and then Director since October 1905 tendered his resignation due to ill health though after requests from several members at the meeting he said he would think again about his decision.