Hugh Tinney
Hugh Tinney
Hugh Tinney
● Hugh Tinney, 1964 (EBY)

born in Scotland

Hugh Joseph Tinney was born on Sunday, 14th May, 1944, in Glasgow.

The defender signed for Willie Thornton's Thistle circa Saturday, 12th August, 1961, having most recently been with Bathgate St Mary's.

Aged 19, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 12th October, 1963, in a 1-0 win at home to Dundee United in the SFL First Division.

There were no goals for Hugh during his time with Thistle.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 4th March, 1967, in a 2-1 defeat at home to Kilmarnock in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 89 occasions.

Hugh's club-list included Partick Thistle, Bury, Fleetwood Town, Balgownie Rangers, Fernhill and Dapto.

Bio Extra

Hugh’s professional career can be traced to the day after he played for his school team in the Scottish Schools Cup Final… at Firhill! It was Monday 11th May 1959 when Bathgate St Mary’s defeated Govan High by two goals to one and 14-year-old Hugh, playing beyond his years already, picked up a well deserved winners medal.

In a “Football United vs Soccer City” podcast recorded in Australia, Hugh spends an hour talking about his life and career. The evening after Bathgate's School cup win, the Thistle scout for the Harthill area called at Hugh’s home. At that time he played as a forward, and as a forward he signed for the Jags, initially on an S-Form. He continued to play with Bathgate St Mary's and was gradually introduced into Adam McLean's reserves. He got his break at a reserve match at Easter Road. The defender Dougie Wright was injured in limbering up, and Hugh was told by reserve team manager Adam McLean that he was in the team - as a full back. By the close season of 1961, his terms were duly upgraded. £3 a week. Not bad for a 17 year-old. The contract was for a part-time player, so he was training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, along with matches. By that time, Hugh had left school and joined the Inland Revenue at Motherwell.

In September 1963, Sandy Brown went to Everton for £28,000. Wright and Muir played a couple of matches in the left back position in the interim period, but Hugh stepped up to cement his claim to the defender’s old position a month later. On 12 October 1963 the by then 19 year-old started his maiden 1st team match – as a defender – in a SFL 1st Division win against Dundee United at Firhill. (1-0 to the Jags.) Within a matter of weeks, the teenager was up against Spartak Brno in the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, a thrilling 3-2 win in front of 12,000 under the Firhill lights. The Scottish Football Book No 10 in 1964 said of Hugh “Hugh became an immediate hit, though there is nothing flamboyant about his play. He plays quietly, without fuss; he is a defender in the Campbell-Blair mould, relying on finesse rather than brawn.” Willie Thornton didn’t curtail the full back’s forward forays, and let him play his game. Hugh said that in an aged defence, he reduced the average age by a decade! He played for the Scotland under 23 side twice in the 1966-67 season, a 2-0 win against the England under 23’s at St James’ Park, and a 6-0 romp over Wales under 23s.

At the tail end of the same season, he was called into the boardroom after training. He was told that the club had agreed a fee with Bury for him. Bury were a full-time club, and he signed for them, receiving £2,500 as the player’s cut of the fee. Hugh also resigned from the Inland Revenue (by this time he worked in East Kilbride due to regionalisation in the Department). His first question in the boardroom, however, was “Where’s Bury?” Well seen this was before the days of Google! He made 89 appearances in a Thistle jersey during his time at Firhill. At that time Bury were a 2nd Division side, but their place in that Division was slipping away, as they were in relegation trouble. The club were buying players to try to keep their League position intact. It didn’t work, and they were duly demoted, but did bounce back the following season.

Hugh was selected for a Scottish XI 30 day tour of Israel, the Southern hemisphere countries and Canada. He played in two matches, but missed out on the opening Israel match as he had an adverse reaction to an inoculation shortly after taking off on the tour. The SFA belatedly upgraded the tour marches to full international caps. He became captain of the Bury side, but felt that the club were selling all of their good players, Terry McDermott and Colin Waldron being examples. At the end of the 72-73 season, he wasn’t offered an expected new contract. Hugh moved to Fleetwood Town. The former Bury captain played on more than 300 occasions for the club over his 7 years at Bury. He rejoined the Civil Service in the Land Registry office at Lytham St Annes (later moving to the Blackpool office of the Inland Revenue) and became a midfielder at Fleetwood.

With his wife Ann and their 3 young children in 1974, Hugh was enticed to move to Australia with Safeway, a New South Wales team. On arrival, their promised accommodation didn’t come up to expectations, and they were dumped in a hostel. An unhappy Hugh “had words” with the Safeway reps. The club were in trouble, and in a case of déjà vu, were buying players. They folded some time later. Balgownie Rangers did sign Hugh on the same contractual terms as he was going to sign with Safeway. (Bit of a misnomer there.) Being semi-professional, Hugh got a job with a mining company called BHP. He ended up working for BHP for 15 years. He also worked for the Australian Taxation Office for a while.

In 1978 Hugh became player coach with Fernhill SC. Anne had another child, so they had 2 daughters and 2 sons. He also worked at a steelworks. Hugh then joined Fairy Meadow SC as a coach. Fairy Meadow were a club with links in the local Italian community, but Hugh replaced some of the Italian heritage players with his own. He wanted to run the club his way. He won League and Grand Final titles with Fairy Meadow, but after 3 years successfully running the team, he somewhat surprisingly wasn’t offered a new contract. The club wanted to go back to their Italian roots.

In 1983 he joined Dapto SC as a player coach, on a 3 year contract. Dapto played in the 2nd tier of the Regional League. He played in 3 matches, but got injured and dealt with the coaching side. He was frustrated at not being able to be on the pitch, but still won a Grand Final for that Division during his time with the club. He then retired from the game. When asked about his favourite football memories apart from his International appearances, he replied that he enjoyed Thistle’s matches against Rangers and Celtic, when it went well, and enjoyed reading about it in the newspapers. Good man! Hugh and his wife retired, and live in the Illawara area of New South Wales.


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