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 18, he made his first known appearance on Monday, 14th May, 1877, in a 5-0 friendly win away to Smithfield.

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

He scored his fourth and final goal on Saturday, 25th March, 1882, in a 4-1 friendly win away to Middlesbrough, thereby (theoretically) joining our scoring finale club - a very neat double!

That proved to be his last-known game for the club, having appeared as a Jag on 5 occasions.

His known club-list included only Partick Thistle.

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

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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 contender to be one of Partick Thistle's founder members with good reasons. Firstly, with his appearance and goal in a 5-0 win away to Smithfield on 14th May 1877, the 18-year-old made history! Alongside two others - Jack Beattie and John Young - he jointly became the first to be quoted as a Partick Thistle player, not to mention being the joint-first to be quoted as a goalscorer (no sequence was clarified). At the end of 1875 when Thistle were (most likely) formed, Hugh was 17, the perfect age to be one of the likely lads who banded together for the unwittingly historic deed.

At a general meeting on the 3rd September 1877, the first ever committee of the club was elected, and Hugh, then 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 quoted on at least 5 occasions in the days when reported teamlines were almost non-existent. Over at PT Early Years external-link.png, Niall Kennedy wrote of Hugh's involvement in the crucial close-season developments of 1880:

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 five 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. Brilliantly, Hugh scored in both his first and last known games!

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?


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