Adam McLean
Adam McLean
see also: Adam McLean (manager) →
Adam McLean
● Adam McLean, 1933 (EBY)

born in Scotland

Adam McLean was born on Wednesday, 27th April, 1898, in Greenock, Renfrewshire.

The forward signed for Donald Turner's Thistle on Tuesday, 25th July, 1933, having most recently been with Aberdeen.

Aged 35, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 12th August, 1933, in a 7-3 win away to Hamilton Academical in the SFL First Division.

That day, Adam became a member of our scoring debutant's club, and even added a second for good measure.

He scored the last of his 3 goals on Saturday, 9th September, 1933, in a 3-3 draw away to Clyde in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Wednesday, 13th September, 1933, in a 2-1 defeat away to Airdrieonians in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 8 occasions.

His club-list included Anderston Thornbank, Celtic, Sunderland, Aberdeen and Partick Thistle.

Adam died on Friday, 29th June, 1973, in Glasgow, aged 75.

Bio Extra

Adam joined Thistle as a forward in July 1933, from Aberdeen. He was 35 years old when he joined the Jags, having spent most of his career at Celtic. He also had spells with Sunderland and Aberdeen, his club prior to Thistle. It was fitting that Thistle was Adam’s last known club as a player, as the diminutive outside left had a soft spot for the Jags as a youngster. Although lacking inches in height, Adam was powerfully built, and was a skilful dribbler who mesmerised his opponents with his mazy runs. In his first outing as a Jag Thistle beat Hamilton Academical 7-3 at Douglas Park on 12 August 1933, and around 5,000 saw Adam score the opener for the Jags, and add a 2nd later in the SFL 1st Division contest. He appeared in the opening League fixtures for August and September 1939, but a run of defeats meant changes were needed in the developing team, and Adam was one of the players dropped. Initially James Pinkerton for a short period; then Robert Regan and Peter Bain occupied the outside left berth for the rest of the season.

Adam also played for the 2nd XI when on 17 February 1934 the Thistle side beat Airdrie 3-2 in a Scottish Alliance League match at Firhill, with him also scoring one of the Jag’s goals. This is Adam’s only known reserve match, but he may have played in others, with some reserve team lists and scorers still to be established.

Adam started his senior career as a teenager with Willie Maley’s Celtic in 1917. They won the 1st Division that season. Patsy Gallagher and Jimmy McMememy (later of Thistle 1921 Scottish Cup winners fame – for Jags fans) helped develop the player with their wisdom and skill. Adam was in 3 League Championship winning sides, and was a player in 3 Scottish Cup winning sides during his time at Parkhead. He played with Celtic from season 1916-17 to the 1927-28 campaign. He left the club because of a dispute about cash, and moved to Sunderland where he had been offered better terms. Adam made around 70 appearances in first class competitions for Sunderland, with 16 goals. In 1930 he moved to Aberdeen. At Aberdeen some sources claim that Adam was the whistleblower when he refused to take part in a match fixing clique at the club in 1931. He was said to have told the manager that senior players were involved with betting on Aberdeen matches where the team were not in the lead at half time, but came back in the second half to win. The club dropped 5 senior players and they never played for Aberdeen again. The case against the 5 was never proven, so the matter ended when they left the club.

Adam was capped for Scotland on 4 occasions, with all of the fixtures being in the Home International Championship. His first cap was against Wales at Ninian Park on 31 October 1925. Adam was one of the scorers in a 3-0 Scottish victory. Thistle’s Jimmy McMullan was also in the Scottish side. Next up were Ireland at Ibrox on 27 February 1926, with Scotland winning 4-0. Newcastle United’s Hughie Gallacher got a hat trick in the match. Scotland won the Home International Championship that season. He played against Wales in the following season’s Home Internationals when Scotland won 3-0 at Ibrox on 30 October 1926. Thistle’s Jimmy Gibson, Neilly Gibson’s son, won his 2nd international cap in this game. His final cap was against the Auld Enemy at Hampden on 2 April 1927. This time Alan Morton returned in the outside left position, with Adam moving to outside right. Jimmy Gibson was also present, and Scotland lost 2-1, but shared the Championship with England. Adam was unlucky to have Alan Morton of Rangers and Alec Troup of Everton ahead of him in the international pecking order at that time. He also played for the Scottish League on 3 occasions.

In 1936 Adam was enticed to Norway to coach at Brann Bergen. He subsequently returned to Firhill as a trainer, and in August 1959 took up the managerial reins at Firhill after the tragic death of David Meiklejohn from a heart attack at Airdrie’s Broomfield Park ground. He acted as the interim manager until the appointment of Willie Thornton. There is a full biography of Adam’s managerial career in the managers’ section in The Archive. There is also an entry for Adam in Andy Mitchell’s book “The men who made Scotland”, on the lives and careers of Scotland internationalists from 1872 to 1939.


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