David Millar
David Millar
David Millar
● David Millar, c1960

born in Scotland

David Millar was born on Wednesday, 13th December, 1933, in Auchinleck, East Ayrshire.

The 5' 11 (11st 12lbs) forward signed for David Meiklejohn's Thistle on Friday, 3rd November, 1950, having most recently been with Auchinleck Talbot.

Aged 18, he made his debut appearance on Wednesday, 2nd January, 1952, in a 1-1 draw away to Motherwell in the SFL First Division.

That day, David became a member of our scoring debutant's club.

He played his second and last game for the club on Saturday, 8th March, 1952, in a 4-2 defeat at home to Celtic in the SFL First Division.

David's club-list included Auchinleck Talbot, Partick Thistle and Cumnock Juniors.

Bio Extra

It was Partick Thistle's good fortune that trainer Arthur Dixon was also the man in charge of the Scottish Schoolboy internationals, for he could spot the talent early at first hand and make recommendations to Thistle manager, David Meiklejohn. Such was the case with young outside right David Millar, who really came to attention when he impressed against the Welsh boys. For eighteen months Thistle monitored his progress and signed the 16-year-old him on an S-Form in late 1950, just as the competition for his signature was hotting up. Newcastle United were poised to write Auchinleck Talbot a cheque for £1,000, but Thistle's offer was clearly more appealing. For one, the number of youths coming through the ranks at Firhill was impressive, and Thistle had a great reserves team and set-up that could really bring the boys on.

Playing mainly with the reserves in 1950-51 the youngster developed his game amongst some stars of the day. It wouldn't be out of place for Jackie Husband, Jimmy McGowan or Davie Mathers to be lending a hand to the second eleven. Memorably, David bagged a hat-trick in the last reserves league game of the season; Partick Thistle 3 Kilmarnock 2 on 5th May, 1951. Wonder what his Ayrshire mates thought of that? The young Jags finished in 4th place that season, and were always challenging near the top in those days.

Early in 1952, David got his first chance at first team level, just a few weeks after having turned 18. In those days, clubs would often play 2 or 3 matches in a few days around New Year time, so he was a fresh pair of legs on the 2nd, one day after a 4-2 home win over Third Lanark. The league match at Motherwell was in doubt in the morning, but some 400 fans from both clubs cleared 6 inches of snow off the ice-bound pitch. 8,000 were at Fir Park to see it, and Thistle lined-up: Tommy Ledgerwood, Jimmy McGowan, Peter Collins, John Harvey, Jimmy Davidson, Davie Mathers, David Millar, Alex Stott, Willie Sharp, Alex Wright & Tom McNab. Play in the first half was timid and dull due to the conditions. However, the game burst into life in 55 minutes when Willie Sharp's drive hit the woodwork. Who was onto the rebound? Yep, you guessed it, debut boy DAVID MILLAR was quickest to react, and he put Thistle one goal to the good! Motherwell levelled (70) with a dubious pen, but Thistle (playing with three 18-year-olds John Harvey, David Millar and Tom McNab) “emerged with great credit.

David got another run-out in the first-team a couple of months later, when Celtic came to Firhill on league business. Once again, David was in place on the right wing as Thistle lined-up: Tommy Ledgerwood, Jimmy McGowan, Peter Collins, Willie Crawford, Bert Kinnell, Davie Mathers, David Miller, Torry Gillick, Alex Stott, Willie Sharp and Norrie McCredie. And what a start they made in front of the huge 30,000 crowd at Firhill. In the very first minute, David tore down the wing and crossed for Alex Stott to score, but 6 minutes later it was 1-1. Play swung from end to end with both keepers in the thick of the action. Shots from 30 and 25 yards (30 and 36) and a header (41) made it an impossible task although Stott hit the post. McCreadie scored from close in (87), but it was small consolation; Partick Thistle 2 Celtic 4. This was a very disappointing result as Thistle were actually favourites and would finish 6th, three places above Celtic in the league!

David did himself justice in his two first-team appearances, and must have been disappointed not to feature more often. This was a common story in an era of excellence, where Thistle had great strength in depth all across the positions. David had to be content with being a regular in the excellent reserve teams of the day, and scored in at least 3 reserve league games against Rangers, who were always the team to beat. In season 1951-52, Thistle finished 3rd and the following season were runners-up, only 2 points behind champions, Rangers. As strange as it sounds today, these leagues (Division "C") were actually the third tier of Scottish senior football, albeit the reserves of the First and Second Division clubs were ineligible for promotion.

David was freed from his contract at Firhill in April 1953, and from then on it would be Ayrshire junior football which would provide him with his footballing fix on Saturday afternoons. On the occasion of his 90th birthday, we were delighted to hear from David's son, Scott, who tells us that David went on to have a good life and career and couldn't think of what to get him for a present as he doesn't want for anything! Every weekend, David still wants to know the Thistle score - brilliant! Once a Jag, always a Jag!


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