John Torbet
John Torbet
John Torbet
● John Torbet, 1929 (LLF)

born in Scotland

John McDowell Torbet was born on Friday, 25th Septmeber 1903, in Benquhat, East Ayrshire.

The 5' 6¾ (10st 4lbs) forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Monday, 15th September, 1924, having most recently been with Cumnock Juniors.

Aged 21, he made his debut appearance on Monday, 29th September, 1924, in a 2-1 win away to Third Lanark in the SFL First Division.

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

He scored the last of his 118 goals on Saturday, 22nd April, 1933, in a 1-1 draw away to St Mirren in the SFL First Division.

He played his last game for the club on Saturday, 6th May, 1933, in a 2-0 defeat away to Rangers in the Glasgow Charity Cup, having clocked up an impressive 275 appearances as a Jag.

His club-list included Cumnock Juniors, Partick Thistle, Preston North End, Burton Town, Stockport County, Ayr United, Alloa Athletic and Leith Athletic.

John died on Saturday, 16th February, 1957, in Edinburgh, aged 53.

Bio Extra

Outside left John signed for Thistle from a Junior side in Ayrshire in the autumn of 1924, and scored on his debut at Cathkin Park, against the run of play. He had to compete against Willie Salisbury for his place in the side, and made the most of his opportunities, forming a fruitful partnership with Sandy Hair. John appears high in the Jags top goalscorers list, with more than one hundred goals for the club. His tally included two hat tricks, in league games against Motherwell in November 1929, and against Morton in January 1930.

John played in the 1930 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers. The first game ended in a goalless stalemate, but John did score the replay, with Thistle losing 2-1. He also played against the same opposition in the Glasgow Cup Final on 15 October 1932 The Glasgow Herald reported that Rangers won “by aid of a lucky goal”. The report goes on to say “They almost equalized in the closing minutes, however, when a shot from Torbet beat Hamilton and the ball was turned out by Simpson.

When Thistle beat Celtic 1-0 in the Glasgow cup Semi Final a report in the Scotsman on 27 September 1932 headlined “Partick Thistle’s plucky victory”. The article goes on to say “The only goal was scored by Torbet within thirty seconds of the restart. It came right from the kick-off, Watson sending out to the right. Geatons attempted to trap the ball but Ness challenged him for possession, secured the ball, and quickly transferred it across the field to Torbet. The winger cut in and with a low, hard drive sent it into the net off the far post, a sound satisfying goal, worthy to win the match, which Thistle, on account solely of their courage and optimism deserved to win.

In the book “Who Invented The Stepover?” by P. Simpson and U. Hesse, the authors discuss strange and weird cup tournaments around the world. Scotland gets a mention for the 1928 one-off Glasgow Dental Cup. The book goes on “this was staged once in 1928, to raise funds to build, as the name suggests, a new dental hospital in Scotland’s biggest city. Contested by five clubs – Celtic, Clyde, Partick Thistle, Queen’s Park, Third Lanark and Rangers (who mysteriously entered at the semi-final stage) – it raised £819 (£40,000 in today’s money). In the final, on 11 December 1928 in front of 5,000 spectators Partick (sic) beat Rangers 2-0 with a goal from Davie Ness and a penalty by John Torbet, who banged in 116 goals for the Jags”. (The Archive has John scoring more goals for the club.)

John left Thistle for Preston North End in 1933, and played for a number of other clubs including a spell with Ayr United, where he scored 22 goals, before retiring in 1938. He joined Hearts as a trainer in 1946, and stayed there until 1952.

John’s sudden death at his Edinburgh home in February 1957 was reported in the Evening Times of Monday February 18 1957 under the headline “Death of a former Partick Thistle star”.


© 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.