From Killearn to the Scottish Cup Final

Robert Leckie, Queens Park FC, 1874.

Source of photograph: Robertson, FHC (Ed.). (1992). The men with the educated feet: A statistical and pictorial history of Queen Park FCQueens Park Football Club.

Talking to my father-in-law about his family history led to him mentioning a connection to a pioneer of Scottish and international footballing history, namely Robert Leckie of Queens Park FC and the Scotland national team.

Robert was the brother of Grace Leckie who is my father-in-law's great grandmother, making Robert his great grand uncle.  Born in Killearn, Stirlingshire on October 19th, 1846, Robert was the son of farmer John Leckie and his wife Margaret McGregor.  Robert is listed in the 1861 Census in the Parish of Killearn aged 14 years and as a scholar living with his mother Margaret, brothers Alexander and John, and sisters Janet and Grace at Spittal Farm, Killearn, where Robert's mother Margaret farmed 80 acres.  

Ten years later, we are now in Glasgow and, specifically according to the 1871 Census, the Parish of Glasgow Govan, where Robert aged 24 years will make a name for himself in the footballing world.  Robert is a lodger at 84 Cumberland St, Govan and working as a commercial clerk.  Outside of his office work, we see the first mention of Robert as a keen footballer, playing once for Queens Park FC in the 1871/72 season.  His career at Queens Park FC continued with him playing the following matches:

Season 1873/74
25th October 1873 - 7-0 win against Dumbreck
22nd November 1873 - 1-0 win against Eastern
13th December 1873 - 2-0 win in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Renton
21st March 1874 - 2-0 win in the first Scottish Cup final against Clydesdale.  Robert scored the second goal. A photograph of the Scottish Cup final team is below, including Robert (front, bottom far left).

Queens Park Football Club season 1873-74. 

Source of photograph: Robertson, FHC (Ed.). (1992). The men with the educated feet: A statistical and pictorial history of Queen Park FC. Queens Park Football Club.

Season 1874/75
3rd April 1875 - 1-0 win against Clydesdale

Season 1875-76
6th November 1875 - 5-0 win against Northern

Robert's most noteable claim to fame is that he played in the first international football match on 30th November 1872, when Scotland took on England at the West of Scotland Cricket Club, Hamilton Crescent, Partick.  A crowd of around 2,500 watched Scotland play out a 0-0 draw.  Robert playing in the position of forward, along with 5 other fowards. The team sheet is in the photograph below. The North British Daily Mail, 2nd December 1872, mentions that the teams dined together after the match in Carrrick's Royal Hotel.  

Scotland v England teams. 

Source of photograph: The North British Daily Mail, 2nd December 1872

My father-in-law's family do not have any footballing mementoes of Robert's short football career and sadly no cap from the 1872 match, as caps were awarded at a later date to those who played for Scotland.

Sadly, little is known of Robert after 1875 as his name does not appear in the 1881 Scottish Census. There is a possibilty that he emigrated to the Eastern Cape, South Africa, but there are no further traces on paper for Robert. 

I'm grateful to the Scottish Football Museum, Glasgow, for providing the details on Robert's playing career and photographs of his time with Queens Park FC, which were taken from the book, Robertson, FHC (Ed.). (1992). The men with the educated feet: A statistical and pictorial history of Queen Park FC. Queens Park Football Club.


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