Bert Kinnell
Bert Kinnell
Bert Kinnell
● Bert Kinnell, 1948 (HA)

born in Scotland

Robert Kinnell was born on Saturday, 21st April, 1923, in Lumphinnans, Fife.

The 5' 10 (11st 10lbs) defender signed for David Meiklejohn's Thistle on Thursday, 4th March, 1948, having most recently been with Dunfermline Athletic.

Aged 24, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 6th March, 1948, in a 2-1 friendly defeat away to Cowdenbeath.

Bert scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 3rd April, 1948, in a 6-2 win at home to Dundee in the SFL First Division.

He scored the last of his 17 goals on Monday, 23rd April, 1951, in a 1-1 win (on a coin-toss) at home to Queen's Park in the Glasgow Charity Cup.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 8th March, 1952, in a 4-2 defeat at home to Celtic in the SFL First Division, having clocked up 109 appearances as a Jag.

Bert's club-list included Keltyhill Athletic, Lochgelly Violet, Dunfermline Athletic, Heart of Midlothian, Everton, Partick Thistle and Cowdenbeath.

Bert died on Monday, 27th June, 1994, in Cowdenbeath, Fife, aged 71.

Bio Extra

Bert was a member of the Cowdenbeath Schools side which lost 2-1 to Dunfermline Schools in the Fife Cup final. He then played juvenile with Keltyhill Athletic and Broomhall from Charlestown before turning junior with Lochgelly Violet, where he banged in goals aged just 16. A hat-trick v Valleyfield saw him offered a trial with Dunfermline. He scored in a match versus Stenhousemuir and subsequently signed for Dunfermline Athletic in April 1940. Bert then lived in King Street, Cowdenbeath, and his father, a diehard Cowden fan, wasn’t too pleased to see his laddie join the Pars! Cowden had closed down due to the war by that time. Bert mainly played up front for the Pars but was equally effective at centre half. In season 1941/42, he scored 21 times in just 19 league appearances. During the War, Bert made guest appearances for Hearts and guested once for Everton.

Later in the war, Bert served in the the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) and drove a ‘duck’ across the Rhine in ‘Operation Turnscrew’ as the allies advanced into Germany. A ‘duck’ or more accurately a DUKW, was an amphibious truck used for transporting troops or material over land and water. Training on DUKW’s took place at Annick Water, near Stewarton, in Ayrshire and Bert ended up marrying a girl from Stewarton.

Post-war he served out in the desert in Palestine. On his demob, Bert returned to East End Park and also worked on the clerical staff for the National Coal Board (NCB) in Cowdenbeath. He scored 34 goals in 36 League games for Dunfermline between 1946 and 1948. In March 1948, Bert was signed by Partick Thistle for a £6,000 fee. As fate would have it, he made his Thistle debut in Cowdenbeath, as the Jags went down by two goals to one in a friendly at Central Park, most likely with mixed emotions for Bert. In a similar vein, he was back to his old East End Park stomping ground the following month for a friendly which was arranged as part of the transfer agreement. 2,000 witnessed the 4-1 win for Thistle, and Bert scored his first two goals for the club on the night. Before the year was out, he was also on the scoresheet in a 3-1 League win against Hearts at Tynecastle, once again haunting one of his old clubs.

Bert's involvement with Thistle spread into 5 seasons, as new manager David Meiklejohn began to mould a team to be reckoned with. Jags finished in an all-time high position of third in 1947-48, so Bert knew he had his work cut out to win a place in the team, but he held his own, and could consider his time at Thistle a great success, with the Jags finishing in the Top 7 in each of Bert's final three seasons. He started out as a centre-forward at Firhill, but an injury to Jags’ centre-half Forsyth gave Bert the chance to stake a claim for a regular role as Partick’s pivot, and he took to that position once more like a duck to water. Soon he was skippering the side. Number five was his most common jersey in his final 3 seasons at Thistle.

He would play in three local cup finals in successive years, which was no mean feat in a city where the big two would vie strongly for every Glasgow crown going. In the spring of 1949, Bert featured in both the 1-0 semi-final win over Rangers and the 2-1 final win over Celtic in front of 51,813 at Hampden Park. It was the club's third and final win in the Glasgow Charity Cup tournament. Bert also featured in the September 1950 Glasgow Cup final against Celtic which was played in front of 56,500 at Hampden. Jags won the replay by 3 goals to 2 some 6 months later (the Christmas day replay having been postponed due to the weather) but Bert didn't feature on the day. He was back at Hampden in May 1951 for the Glasgow Charity Cup final, but Rangers took their revenge for 1949, winning by two goals to nil.

After his successful time at Firhill, Bert, almost inevitably, returned home to play for Cowden in 1952, ending his career with three seasons at Central Park. Bert moved back east to live at Gilmerton in Edinburgh and was to become superannuation and pensions officer for the NCB.

Eventually, Bert moved back to live at 40 Johnston Park, Cowdenbeath and latterly worked as a meter reader. He then enjoyed watching his son, Alan, playing for Cowden between 1971 and 1976. Bert actually came from quite a big footballing family. His brother Jim played for Crossgates Primrose and then Cowden in season 1950/51. Another brother John was also with the Primrose. His nephew, Iain (Jim's son) also played for Cowden and for Hill of Beath Haws when they won the Scottish Junior Cup. He was a cousin of ex-Cowdenbeath club secretary Tom Ogilvie. Another of Bert’s cousins was the father of two well known Cowdenbeath footballers – Andy and George Kinnell. And, as previously mentioned, Bert's own son, Alan, was a mainstay of Cowdenbeath's side during the first half of the 70s.

Early in 2023, Alan Kinnell got in touch with the Archive regarding some bits n bobs about his Dad, and we were fascinated to hear his tales:


My father, now passed on, did return to Firhill in 1972, to watch myself playing for Cowdenbeath against Partick thistle in the League Cup. I remember Alan Rough being in goals and I think Alex Rae playing at that time. I really enjoyed playing at the ground my father had played at, he was probably in the stand shaking his head, haha! Playing against Kilmarnock, and directly against Gordon Smith, sticks in my mind as coming from Stewarton they were the local team. I remember going to school with my pal Jim Brown, who lived across the road from us, his dad was Jimmy Brown the Kilmarnock and Scotland goal keeper. Jimmy was friends with my Dad and there was banter between them as my Dad had scored for Partick against him when Jimmy had played for Hearts.

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


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