John Neish
John Neish
John Neish
● John Neish, 1934 (DR)

born in Scotland

John Neish was born on Saturday, 14th January, 1911, in Elgin, Moray.

The 5' 9½ (10st 11lbs) forward signed for Donald Turner's Thistle on Wednesday, 2nd May, 1934 (after a trial game), having most recently been with Buckie Thistle.

Aged 23, he made his debut appearance on Tuesday, 1st May, 1934, in a 4-2 win at home to Queen's Park in the Glasgow Charity Cup.

John scored his first goal for Thistle on Wednesday, 5th September, 1934, in a 4-0 friendly win away to Buckie Thistle.

He scored the last of his 3 goals on Saturday, 10th November, 1934, in a 7-1 win at home to Dunfermline Athletic in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 20th April, 1935, in a 2-1 defeat away to St Mirren in the SFL First Division, having appeared as a Jag on 14 occasions.

His club-list included Elgin City, Buckie Thistle, Morton, Partick Thistle, Hull City and Caledonian.

John died on Saturday, 1st December, 1984, in Warwick, Warwickshire, aged 73.

Bio Extra

The son of James Neish and Jessie Neish (née Watt).

This versatile right-sided forward and half-back started out in the men's game with his hometown team, Elgin City, at the age of 17. Hankering after a big move he trained with Dundee United for a period in 1932, but nothing came of it and he signed with Buckie Thistle for the 1933-34 campaign. After just a few months, John headed south, joining up with Morton for an extended trial period which included 5 appearances in the top-flight. He actually turned out for Morton at Firhill in their 1-0 loss in the first round of the Scottish Cup on 20th January 1934. John couldn't agree terms at Cappielow and returned to Buckie, but the Thistle directors must have seen something they liked, for they invited him for a trial game a few months later before signing him to professional terms in May 1934.

On 5th September 1934, giving favour to Buckie Thistle as part of the transfer deal, Partick Thistle (and John) ventured northwards for the first-ever meeting of the two clubs; Buckie Thistle 0 Partick Thistle 4. John got an assist and scored one too. Awkward! The following month was a memorable one for Partick Thistle as a club, and for John as an individual. On 13th October, in front of 27,834 (a turnout affected by the heavy rain), Willie Miller scored the only goal of the game in the Glasgow Cup Final at the national stadium. Rangers, the current Scottish champions, must have thought they had done all the hard work by beating Celtic in the semi-final, but they found Donald Turner's Jags too tough a nut to crack. The crucial counter in a hard-fought contest came in the 58th minute, as the conditions worsened. Willie, who had forced Jerry Dawson into a splendid save just 60 seconds earlier, had another go from 22-yards out. This time, luck was on his side; his shot took a deflection off half-back Jimmy Simpson, and Dawson was unable to adjust his feet. Thus, history was made, and Thistle finally took custody of a much coveted trophy which had eluded them for nearly 50 years. John played all of his games for Thistle in the outside right position and another standout result came the following month when he got on the scoresheet in a 7-1 routing of Dunfermline Athletic in a Firhill League encounter. John turned out in a large number of games for the Thistle reserves throughout the season, and helped the side to an excellent third place finish in the Scottish Alliance.

John had a full and busy season with Thistle in 1934-35, but was granted a free transfer at the end of the campaign, returning once more to Buckie Thistle. It wasn't long before he was on his travels again, though. In August 1935, he joined the growing ranks of Scotsmen at Anlaby Road, home to Hull City. Manager Jack Hill quickly turned to Neish to start his first league game in September 1935, but this turned out to be John’s last league game too; by October 1935 he returned whence he came, Buckie Thistle! John spent two further seasons at Victoria Park before joining Inverness Caledonian in August 1937. He spent only one season with Caley before falling off the footballing radar. By 1939, he was boarding in Wainfleet St Marys, a small Lincolnshire village between Skegness and Boston, this being his base after having enlisted for the Royal Air Force. In his personal life he married Ethel Jean Murray and they had 3 children together. He saw out his final days living in Kenilworth in Warwickshire, and died in a Warwick hospice in December 1984. He was buried in Banffshire, presumably in his birth place of Elgin.

On account of his service during WWII, John is included in our feature piece, The Partick Thistle returned →.


© The Thistle Archive 2015-2024. All rights reserved. Third-party trademarks and content are the property of their respective owners, and subject to their own copyright terms and conditions. See the website links provided in each case.