Billy Leitch
Billy Leitch
Billy Leitch
● Billy Leitch, 1921 (VIF)

born in Northern Ireland

William Leitch was born on Tuesday, 15th October, 1895, in Craigs, County Antrim.

The 5' 8 (11st 7lbs) forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Tuesday, 3rd August, 1915, having most recently been with Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 21st August, 1915, in a 3-2 win at home to Morton in the Scottish Football League.

Billy scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 28th August, 1915, in a 2-2 draw away to Motherwell in the Scottish Football League.

He scored the last of his 9 goals on Saturday, 15th April, 1916, in a 5-2 win at home to Rangers in the Scottish Football League.

He played his last game for the club on Wednesday, 5th May, 1920, in a 4-0 defeat away to Rangers in the Glasgow Charity Cup, having appeared as a Jag on 66 occasions.

His club-list included Greenock Overton, Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors, Partick Thistle, Distillery, Coventry City, Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic and Helensburgh.

Billy died on Tuesday, 27th August, 1963, in Greenock, Renfrewshire, aged 67.

Bio Extra

Son of John Leitch (sugarhouse labourer) and Elizabeth Leitch (née McMaster).

The Irishman landed in Scotland and started out with Greenock Overton, moving from there to Port Glasgow Athletic Juniors in 1914. He came to attention when Port reached the Junior Cup final of 1915, with 25,000 at Firhill to see Parkhead win the cup by two to nil. He signed for Thistle 3 months later, and was a regular in the specialised inside left role in his first two seasons. Thistle never lost when Billy scored, and the 5-2 League win over Rangers in April '16 was the undoubted highlight of that particular feat. The result stands today as Thistle's joint-record League win over the Ibrox side.

Billy didn't get a look-in for season 1917-18, and by season's end he was back over the Irish sea, with Distillery of Belfast. Whilst at Distillery, he remained on the open to transfer list at Thistle, and put himself in the shop window with several appearances towards the end of season 1919-20. This did the trick, and his next destination was Coventry, where he was a regular throughout 1920-21. Again, he fell out of the picture over his few seasons there, and he moved on to Bournemouth, where he registered more appearances than anywhere else in his career. It seems he did like to be beside the seaside, and he finished his meaningful playing career at Helensburgh, joining them in 1927.

Billy, like his father, worked as a sugarhouse labourer, and was retired by the time of his death. He passed away after several months of illness, leaving a widow, Isabella.


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