Jock Wilkinson
Jock Wilkinson
Jock Wilkinson
● Jock Wilkinson, 1922 (PIC)

born in Scotland

John Wilkinson was born on Friday, 3rd January, 1890, in Mid Calder, West Lothian.

The 5' 11 (11st 7 lbs) goalkeeper signed for George Easton's Thistle on Wednesday, 14th June, 1922, having most recently been with Bathgate.

Aged 32, he made his debut appearance on Wednesday, 16th August, 1922, in a 1-1 friendly draw away to Bathgate.

Jock kept his first clean-sheet on Saturday, 26th August, 1922, in a 0-0 draw at home to Clyde in the SFL First Division.

He registered the last of his 7 clean-sheets on Saturday, 28th April, 1923, in a 1-0 win away to Albion Rovers in the SFL First Division.

That was actually the last of his 24 games for the club.

His club-list included Pumpherston Rangers, Leith Athletic, Bathgate, Partick Thistle, Arbroath and East Stirlingshire.

We don't know where or when Jock died. *

* 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 Robert Wilkinson (shale miner) and Annie Wilkinson (nÊe Gorrell) who were married in Glasgow in 1889 and relocated to West Lothian on account of work. Jock was the first born of what would be a large family. Two of his younger brothers were also notable footballers. James (b. 1901) played as a right back with Hibs for many years in the 1920s and 1930s, and William (b. 1902) kept goal for Armadale and Leith Athletic in the early 1930s.

Jock started out with his local junior team, Pumpherston Rangers, and got his first crack at the senior grade when he signed for Leith Athletic in the summer of 1914. He played in 25 of the 26 games in their Second Division campaign of 1914-15 and performed well as the club finished joint-top with St Bernard's and Cowdenbeath. Second place was confirmed after a special round-robin series between the three leading clubs, Cowdenbeath emerging as winners. Unfortunately, all of this initial excitement was soon laid to rest as the Second Division was put into abeyance for the duration of World War I. Leith, with Jock, initially soldiered on with friendlies and local cup ties, but closed down for the duration of the First World War in the middle of 1916. When the war was over, Jock emerged as the new #1 at Bathgate and 1919-20 turned out to be a special season for him, as the club went all the way in the Scottish Qualifying Cup, taking some notable scalps en route including Bo'ness, Arbroath and St Johnstone. Cowdenbeath were defeated by 2 goals to nil in the final at Ibrox on 27th December 1919. It was another clean-sheet for Jock and his winners medal was well earned.

Bathgate had a grand run to the last 16 of the Scottish Cup in 1921-22, but were drawn away to the holders, Partick Thistle, the tie to be played at Firhill on 25th February 1922. Over 20,000 were there to see it, and Thistle advanced to the Quarter Finals after the expected win by 3 goals to nil was registered. It wasn't as straight forward as the scoreline suggests however. The West Lothian outfit were stuffy, and Jock was man-of-the-match for many in attendance. Clearly he made a lasting impression that day. Manager George Easton had the replacement for the legendary Kenny Campbell in mind nice and early, and Jock was signed to terms at Firhill in June 1922. Papers were signed and handshakes exchanged at the Dreadnought Hotal in Bathgate. Perhaps a toast was made too!? As part of the deal, Thistle ventured eastwards to oblige Bathgate in the first game of the new season where Jock, somewhat ironically, made his Thistle debut; Bathgate 1 Partick Thistle 1. Jock let in a 90th minute equalizer to the delight of most of the 2,000 crowd at Mill Park on . It was a clean-sheet debut denied, but perhaps he wasn't too unhappy in the circumstances.

Thistle had signed two goalkeepers in time for the new season. Jock was regarded as the experienced #1, and Albert Ferguson the younger reserve. As part of his arrangement, he was allowed to continue to work and train in Bathgate where he lived, perhaps not a great sign. Halfway through the season, it was Albert who got the nod to take the main position, and seemed to finish the favoured choice. Appearances were 50-50 between the two in the final tally, but it was Jock who moved on at the end of the season, joining Arbroath in July 1923. He was a mainstay at Gayfield and was so well regarded that he often captained the team. Injury meant that he missed out in the final games of that season. Jock returned for another short spell at Bathgate, before finishing his playing career with East Stirlinghsire in his mid-30s.

(WS/JK/AFK)



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