Alex McDonald
Alex McDonald
Alex McDonald
● Alex McDonald (EY)

born in Scotland

Alexander McDonald was born on Friday, 12th April, 1878, in Greenock, Renfrewshire.

The 5' 10 (11st 2lbs) forward signed for Thistle on Tuesday, 11th May, 1897, having most recently been with Linfield.

Aged 19, he made his only known appearance on Wednesday, 8th September, 1897, in a 1-0 friendly defeat at home to Celtic.

There were no goals for Alex in his only known appearance for Thistle.

His club-list included Britannia's, Linfield, Partick Thistle, Jarrow, Everton, Southampton, West Ham United, Portsmouth, Wellingborough, Luton Town and Croydon Common.

Alex died on Sunday, 23rd October, 1949, in Greenock, Renfrewshire, aged 71.

Bio Extra

This inside forward was the very definition of the journeyman, playing in Northern Ireland, England & Scotland for a large number of clubs. It seems that, despite being labelled as a "first-rate marksman" his "ambitious temperament" did not take kindly to being ousted from starting elevens! Season 1901-02 was quite remarkable, even by his standards, with 14 goals in 16 Southern League games for 3 different sides; Southampton, West Ham & Portsmouth! Alex was a member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary during World War I, and remained an active seaman into his early 70s. Alas, it proved to be the death of him when he drowned in a tragic accident in October, 1949 (see 'Scrapbook' tab). Alex was a “greaser” on board the Fleet Auxilliary vessel Beigol. The ship was lying off the Tail of the Bank in Greenock, when 2 men ashore saw someone struggling in the water. Alex was brought ashore, and artificial respiration was used in an attempt to keep him alive, but Alex died shortly after admission to hospital.

On account of his service during WWI, Alex is included in our feature piece, The Partick Thistle returned →.


Historian's note: We know this player as James from key retrospective sources such as OH and JL, and backed up by contemporary accounts. "Transfer of James Steel to Dumbarton" (DET, 26/6/1914) and a captioned image of the player (as depicted below) in the AN (25/12/1911). However, a curious piece was written in the DC (30/8/1913) which read: "John Steel, Partick Thistle, has signed on for Southport Central, one of the strongest teams in Lancashire, outside of the League circle, as forward. Steel is an all-round man, but his best position is at outside right, where he played many good games for the Thistle." PO (a Southport history site) also recognise John Steel as having transferred from Thistle to Southport. As our existing knowledge stands, we can only guess that John might have been a middle name for James.

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