Wattie Collier
Wattie Collier
A. Player

born in Scotland

Walter Collier was born on Wednesday, 22nd November, 1876, in Kinghorn, Fife.

The forward signed for Thistle in January, 1899, having most recently been with Leven Thistle.

Aged 22, he made his first known appearance on Saturday, 21st January, 1899, in a 4-3 win away to Clyde in the Glasgow League.

Wattie scored his first known goal for Thistle on Saturday, 18th February, 1899, in a 2-1 win away to Morton in the Scottish Cup.

He scored his second (and final known) goal for us on Saturday, 2nd September, 1899, in a 3-1 win at home to Port Glasgow Athletic in the SFL Second Division.

He played his last known game for the club on Saturday, 21st October, 1899, in a 2-1 defeat away to Ayr in the SFL Second Division, having appeared for the Thistle on at least 21 occasions.

His club-list included Methil Rovers, Leven Thistle, Partick Thistle, Airdrieonians and Kirkcaldy United.

Wattie died on Tuesday, 4th May, 1948, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, aged 71.

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Bio Extra

Wattie was a right winger whose time at Thistle spanned a calendar year, 1899. Upon his arrival from Leven Thistle in January, the Kirkcaldy-based player, was described in the Sport as “a capital player who has fine speed, possesses sound judgement and is a pot shot.” The League campaign was over when Wattie arrived, and Thistle would be voted down to the Second Division. An early highlight of his time as a Jag came in February 1899 at Cappielow, as Thistle sought to reach the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Cup. It was a replay which saw 600 Thistle fans pay one shilling to travel by train to Greenock, and they were welcomed by the sight of mounted police around the pitch perimeter. Cappielow had seen some crowd disorder in recent weeks. The Thistle supporters were rewarded with a 2-1 Thistle win. In line with recent form, it wasn’t an assured performance from Thistle, and Morton were the better team for most of the game. Apart from a penalty save, the Morton goalie didn’t have a shot to save until, with eight minutes to go, a Wattie Collier shot hit a defender and rolled in. In contrast Gourlay in the Thistle goal had his best game. James Paul, Willie’s brother, made his debut at centre forward and scored the opening goal. Alas, the joy was shortlived, Port Glasgow Athletic putting paid to the dream at Meadowside seven days later; Partick Thistle 3 Port Glasgow Athletic 7. Ouch.

The first matches in the Second Division were played on the same day, 19th August 1899, and that meant a trip to Motherwell for the Thistle players. At kick-off time the Thistle players were on the pitch ready to start but five home players were late arriving and the start was delayed. Wattie Collier and William Freebairn combined well on the right and Thistle lasted the game better, never behind after Geordie McNicoll opened the scoring. The final score was 3-1 to Thistle. “From the determined play of Partick Thistle they mean to win the league” commented the Sport. The first home league game brought a surprise to the home fans as Robert Currie, banished to East Stirlingshire after being suspended back in February, appeared in the Thistle team. Currie was now an amateur and heeded the call from Meadowside when Wattie Collier missed his train from Kirkcaldy to Partick. Thistle defeated Morton 2-1, but the crowd (and gate of £63) was disappointing, showing that the public needed more convincing that the poor play of the previous season was a thing of the past. The play wasn’t pretty but Thistle deserved the win. “Every man in the burgh is convinced that the championship flag will find its way to Meadowside” reported the Sport once again. As the campaign progressed, Collier was described in the Sport as an efficient right winger whose crosses were dangerous, although they reckoned he could be more effective if he aimed for the goal instead of hugging the touchline.

Thistle did win the league in the end, but the poor crowds had been a concern to the committee all season. Gate receipts weren’t sufficient to pay for the size of squad at Meadowside, and at the start of December they were forced to release Wattie Collier, Bob Duncan and James Paul, not for want of ability but for economic reasons. Perhaps the fact that Wattie had refused to move from Kirkcaldy (and missed trains on at least two occasions) may have influenced the decision. Away from the football, Wattie was a keen golfer and was the Kirkcaldy Burgh champion in 1921. Dysart Golf Club was his home turf, where he was a teacher and a greenkeeper. A popular local figure, the Fife Free Press carried an obituary when he passed away in 1948 (see 'Scrapbook' tab).

(WS/NK/JK)



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