Sandy McMahon
Sandy McMahon
Sandy McMahon
● Sandy McMahon (JCC)

born in Scotland

Alexander McMahon was born on Sunday, 16th October, 1870, in Kirkhope, Selkirkshire.

The forward signed for George Easton's Thistle on Wednesday, 7th October, 1903, having most recently been with Celtic.

Aged 33, he made his debut appearance on Saturday, 17th October, 1903, in a 1-1 draw away to Queen's Park in the SFL First Division.

Sandy scored his first goal for Thistle on Saturday, 24th October, 1903, in a 2-2 draw at home to Third Lanark in the SFL First Division.

He scored his second and final goal for the club on Tuesday, 5th April, 1904, in a 2-1 friendly defeat away to Shelbourne.

That turned out to be his last game for Thistle, having appeared as a Jag on 5 occasions.

His club-list included Leith Harp, Hibernian, St Bernard's, Darlington St Augustine's, Celtic and Partick Thistle.

Sandy died on Tuesday, 25th January, 1916, in Glasgow, aged 45.

Bio Extra

Born in Selkirk, McMahon started his career in the juveniles with Woodburn F.C. before joining Leith Harp when he was around 16. Being a nursery side for Hibs, any footballing talent there was destined to play at Easter Road and Hibs inevitably brought the 18-year-old into the fold in early 1889. The timing wasn't great however, the club floundering due to the mass recruitment of their players by the newly-formed Celtic in Glasgow. McMahon had a guest spell with St Bernard's in the springtime of 1890, but during the following season left Hibernian's sinking ship and reportedly played for Darlington St Augustine's in November 1890, where he played under an assumed name. In the previous season, they had been inaugural winners of the second oldest football league in the world - the Northern League - but didn't win a single game in 1890-91! Quickly turning his back on that idea, Sandy soon followed his former colleagues, such as Willie Groves, to Celtic, with whom he made his debut on New Years Day, 1891.

He played for the Glasgow team until 1903, making at least 217 competitive appearances and scoring 171 goals. Equally adept at centre forward or inside left, he won three Scottish Cup medals in 1892, 1899 and 1900, and four Scottish League medals in 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1898. His first moment of glory came in the 1892 Scottish Cup Final replay, when he scored two goals in the 5–1 victory over Queen's Park. He also scored in the 1899 cup final when Celtic beat Rangers 2–0, and in the 1900 final when they beat Queen's Park 4–3. In 1892, following his cup final display, McMahon was on the verge of playing professional football in England with Nottingham Forest but, after concerted efforts from the Celtic committee, returned to Glasgow without having played for the East Midlands side.

The advent of professionalism in Scotland the following year stemmed the southward drift and ensured players such as McMahon could earn sufficient remuneration for their talents by staying in their native country. He was also granted a testimonial match against Rangers in 1899. McMahon played six times for Scotland between 1892 and 1902 and scored four goals in the 11–0 rout of Ireland in 1901. He also represented the Scottish League XI on nine occasions.

McMahon eventually left Celtic in 1903, joining Partick Thistle where he played little due to injury and retired a year later. He earned several sobriquets during his playing days, such as the "prince of dribblers" and "The Duke". The latter was derived from the French President Patrice de Mac-Mahon, duc de Magenta (the descendant of an Irish soldier who had served under Napoleon). Writer John Cairney recounts that when the duc de Magenta died, Glasgow news-vendors cried "McMahon died! McMahon died!" to sell more papers, with many Glaswegians purchasing the paper under the assumption that the story referred to the popular Celtic player, rather than the far-removed foreign politician!


Historian's note: Often muddled up with Ross McMahon, a defender from the same period, who also played with Leith Harp. It was Ross McMahon who spent a season with Burnley.

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