Peter Ewing
Peter Ewing
Peter Ewing
● Peter Ewing, 1883 (OH)

born in Scotland

Peter Keith (soon renamed Peter Ewing) was born on Sunday, 18th April 1858, in Partick, Glasgow.

The forward probably joined Thistle in 1881.

Aged 23, he made his first known appearance on Thursday, 13th October, 1881, in a 12-1 friendly win at home to Strathmore.

Peter scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 15th October, 1881, in a 7-1 win at home to Pilgrims in the Scottish Cup.

He scored the last of his 13 known goals on Saturday, 12th April, 1884, in a 4-1 friendly win at home to Morton.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 4th April, 1885, in a 1-0 friendly win at home to St Mirren, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 54 occasions.

His known club-list included only Partick Thistle.

Peter died on Friday, 13th October, 1939, in Wellington, aged 81.

Bio Extra

Peter was born on Merkland Street, as was the great Willie Paul! He was stated as the son of Archibald Keith (engine smith journeyman) and Grace Keith (née Ewing), but we think the register entry was just for a show of respectability. Grace registered the birth, signed by her X mark, but there is no marriage and she is showing as unmarried on the Census. As for Mr. Keith the absent father, we think the cad fathered another child with another girl the following year. Peter would carry his mothers name through life. By 1881, the 22-year-old Peter was employed as an engine fitter and living in Govan with his Grandma, Christina, his Mum, Grace, and his Aunt, Janet. In his well-lived life, he married Isabella and they had 7 children together; William, Chrissie, Isabella, George, Grace, James and Jessie. See 'Gallery' tab for the family photo!

Peter was a forward who spent 4 full playing seasons with Partick Thistle. He generally played supporting roles to the centre, and was comfortable from either flank. Technically, his first-known game was a Scottish Cup tie against Pilgrims - a 3-1 win at Jordanvale on 1st October 1881 - but the match was struck from the record books after a protest from the losers (on the grounds of poor crowd control) was upheld. This was only Thistle's second season of Scottish Cup action, but Peter would play 6 games in the competition in the space of 6 weeks, as a rather chaotic sequence of draws and protests unfolded! The reward of an exciting 4th Round away tie at Shawfield Park against Glasgow Thistle came around in November, and a large gathering of spectators were there to see it. It was by far the biggest test of the season against a more established club, although both had been formed in 1875. Partick Thistle did their followers proud with a fine performance to win 1-0 – Peter’s corner being converted by Jack Beattie, a minute before half-time.

Echoing the pioneering adventures of Partick, their burgh rivals, on Saturday the 26th November 1881, Partick Thistle played their first ever game against non-Scottish opposition – their first ever game on “foreign” soil. Peter was in place as he often was, on the left wing. Blackburn Olympic, who were to win the FA Cup in 1883, were the opponents. Kicking off at 3.10pm before 500 hardy but keen souls, the game was played in the howling wind and rain, and the home side were 4-0 up at half-time. Thistle, playing with the conditions, staged an amazing second half comeback and came away with a highly credible 4-4 draw. This exciting adventure raised the club's profile greatly, and the memorably romantic name of Partick Thistle became more widely known on a British scale.

The club was brought back down to earth the following week, however, when they made their last-ever visit to First Hampden where, for the first time, they would meet the mighty Queen's Park in competitive action. It was the 5th Round of the Scottish Cup, and the gulf in class was oh-so-apparent; Queen's Park 10, Partick Thistle 0. To their great credit, Thistle immediately bounced back with 11 consecutive victories! As holders of the Yoker Challenge Cup Thistle were invited back, and in the first round took on Brittania at home on 28th January 1882. After the ordeals and pressures of the Scottish Cup, this tie must have seemed easy. Indeed, Thistle were ahead 5-0 at half-time and 10-0 by the end. Goals were scored by Young (3), Peter (2), Inglis (2), Shankland, Sinclair and Andrew Duff, taking a break from playing in goals.

Baillie Storrie of Partick chaired the club’s 4th Annual soiree and concert in the Partick Burgh Halls at the beginning of February 1882, and congratulated the club on “its wonderful progress”, going on to recommend football to all young men of the burgh. A pleasant game and another 10-0 victory were recorded against Kings Park of Stirling before the return match against Partick at Inchview (Thistle had won 5-2 at Jordanvale). The scene was recalled by the press following the game: “From the start it was apparent that the partisans of both clubs had come prepared to assist their respective clubs to the utmost of their power, the result being that for an hour and a half the ground was perfect pandemonium.” John Boag (later to become involved with Partick Thistle) was involved in the move which gave Partick the lead before Thistle hit back and had taken the lead with a scrimmage and a Ramsay goal before half-time. Minutes into the second half John Young stretched Thistle’s lead and it remained 3-1 until the end of the game. Hendry, Peter, Young and Inglis were all in splendid form, and debate raged as to who was the top club of the burgh now – Partick or Partick Thistle.

Peter seemed to enjoy the games against Partick in particular - of his 13 known goals, 3 contributed to 3 wins over them. He had scored in the 5-2 home win in January 1882 and did so again in the 3-1 away win 11 months later. For the November 1882 game there was a large (and often noisy) crowd including a number of ladies, and they didn’t have to wait for long before Thistle took the lead through Peter, and then with a second goal from Suter. Despite much of the play in the second period, the Thistle forwards were erratic and should have scored more than the third and final goal of the game, scored by Paterson. Thistle again came to the attention of the press at that, when the Scottish Athletic Journal described them as “that rising junior club”. The same paper was moved to comment that “the Thistle is cock of the walk in Partick at present, having leathered the Partick by 3-1”. The Athletic News crowned Thistle “Champions of Partick”.

The game against Partick continued Thistle’s remarkable home form, undefeated at their Jordanvale ground since moving from the public park at Overnewton, a period of more than two years. However, the following week saw the visit of arguably the finest football side yet at Whiteinch. Vale of Leven – previous winners of the Scottish Cup – were the visitors. A lesson in how much still had to be done was received from the team from Dumbartonshire, along with a 6-2 defeat, and the fall of the proud home record. The dedicated sports newspaper the Scottish Athletic Journal had improved coverage of all levels of Scottish sport, and again they commented on Thistle’s progress, and again on the local rivalry: “At last the spell is broken; the Partick Thistle have actually been beaten on their own ground. No doubt the Partick will be jubilant. The Thistle have a capital team, their only weakpoint is their goalkeeper. They have tried two or three in the position, but none of the probationers have proved adept at the business. Hunt up that goalkeeper Mr Rose.

Thistle’s favourite local cup competition, the Yoker Challenge Cup began in March 1883, and the holders had a match against host club Yoker which Thistle won 2-1. However, the second Thistle goal was deflected by an arm which the referee did not see, and the game had to be replayed. The replay saw Thistle in determined mood, and Yoker were no match for the quick Thistle forwards and resolute defenders. The game finished 6-0 to Thistle. The final of the Yoker Challenge Cup quickly followed, with Thistle, as two-time winners of the trophy, the favourites against Sir John Maxwell, a team from Pollokshaws. Thistle’s team was: Duff, Brown, Hendry, Beattie, Leckie, Erskine, Peter, Young, Paterson, Suter, Beaton.

Peter made the move from Jordanvale to Muir Park with Thistle for season 1883-84. They did well in the Scottish Cup, heavily defeating Orchard (8-1) and East Stirlingshire (6-0) in the first competitive matches in their new home. Another crack at Queen's Park was the "reward". A home match against Partick preceded the cup tie and, as always, created great excitement. The pitch was slippery but this did not stop Thistle from creating and taking chances – the first a Paterson header after a John Young shot hit the bar. Thistle had several chances but did not extend the lead until Beaton scored just before half-time. Thistle dominated the second half with keeper Duff handling the ball just once. Peter, Paterson and Jerry Suter scored to end the game 5-0 for Thistle to extend the Thistle dominance in the burgh. Once again, challenging at the very top proved to be extremely difficult, however. A new club-record attendance of 4,000 were at Muir Park for the big cup tie, but it was anticlimactic; Partick Thistle 0, Queen's Park 4. Once again, Thistle exited to the would-be cup winners.

Peter disappeared from the first-team scene after season 1884-85, but we get the sense that he was a supporter of the club, as he re-surfaced in a different capacity some 5 years later. In May 1889, the Annual Meeting took place in Mr Boag’s Orange Hall in Rosevale Street, when several new members were elected onto the committee, including Peter.

Peter lived in England for a year or two, and was based in Gillingham in 1891, presumably on account of work. His second-born, Chrissie, emerged there that year! In April 1922, leaving from Southampton, the 63-year-old Peter emigrated to New Zealand, together with his 59-year-old wife and 19-year-old daughter, Jessie. He died on 13th October, 1939, in Wellington, aged 81, where he was buried at Karoro Cemetery.


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