Hugh McColl
Hugh McColl
A. Player

born in Scotland

Hugh McColl was born on Thursday, 22nd July, 1858, in Partick, Glasgow.

The forward may have joined Thistle in 1876 or 1877.

Aged 19, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 20th October, 1877, in a 4-0 friendly win at home to Huntingdon.

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

That proved to be his only known goal for Thistle.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 25th March, 1882, in a 4-1 friendly win away to Middlesbrough, having appeared as a Jag on 4 occasions.

His known club-list included only Partick Thistle.

Hugh died on Wednesday, 23rd August, 1922, in Partick, Glasgow, aged 64.

* If you can help us to improve any of these marked points on The Thistle Archive, then please do get in touch →

Bio Extra

The son of James McColl (shipyard storeman) and Elizabeth McColl (née McGregor). His parents were from Argyllshire originally. Hugh was the eldest of five brothers including Peter, John, Donald and James.

Hugh is a strong contender to be one of Partick Thistle's founder members. At a general meeting on the 3rd September 1877, the first ever committee of the club was elected, and Hugh, just turned 19, took his place as the secretary. He held an administrative role for five straight seasons. His 17-year-old pal, George Leckie, was listed as the treasurer. Despite these rather grand and grown-up sounding titles for such young men, we need to bear in mind the grass-roots public-park level of the endeavour at that time. A youthful enthusiasm drove the burgeoning game forwards in the 1870s, and it's perhaps understandable that the seasoned committee beardies didn't come in to play until later, when a bit of money and prestige was swirling about. I'd expect that our founders - were we able to find them - would all turn to be very young, with most, if not all, being teenagers. This would be in line with other clubs of the day, with the four Rangers founders being a good example; Moses McNeil (16), Peter McNeil (17), Peter Campbell (15) & William McBeath (15).

We'll never know how many games Hugh played for Thistle, but he was there for the 4-0 win over Huntingdon in October 1877, which was only the second time that any Thistle player was listed at all in any match. In the player's chronology, only John Inglis comes before Hugh in Thistle's story. Over at PT Early Years external-link.png, Niall Kennedy wrote of Hugh's involvement in the crucial close-season developments of 1880:
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During the summer there were startling changes taking place to the Partick Thistle club. Of these, two were most important. Any self-respecting and progressive club in the late 19th century had to have two things which Thistle didn’t in 1879-80 – membership of the Scottish Football Association, and their own, private, ground. Over the summer in 1880, President Barclay and Secretary McColl were busy arranging for the purchase of private grounds at Jordanvale Park in Whiteinch. This done, membership of the SFA was next on the agenda and this also was achieved during the summer break. Black and white evidence was at last available to show the followers of the club that Thistle were on the way up. In the SFA Annual of 1880 there was a new entry in the listings of Glasgow clubs:

“PARTICK THISTLE Formed in December 1875. Grounds private at Jordanvale Park, Whiteinch, one minute walk from the terminus. Dressing room near grounds. Colours navy blue jersey, white knickers, red hose. Last year played 18 matches, won 12, lost 1, drawn 5. Goals for 48, lost 12. Hon. Secretary H. McColl, Match Secretary A. Duff.

Jordanvale was an excellent move for Thistle in so many ways. For one, we were able to compete in the Scottish Cup and, amazingly, we went 26 months undefeated in our new home! Although we'll never have an inkling of Hugh's personal games total, he has a 100% record in the four known. He was there for an important 1-0 Scottish Cup win over Glasgow Thistle in November 1881, the 10-0 home win over King's Park in February 1882 and the 4-1 win away to Middlesbrough in March, 1882.

Away from the football, Hugh worked as an engine fitter and was latterly working as a distillery engineer. His death notice in the Glasgow Herald described him as the beloved husband of Annie McNab. Frustratingly, there was no mention of Thistle, nor were there any startling founder-member revelations. Where are the investigative journalists when you need them?

(WS)




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