Alec Smith

Like Nichol Smith Alec Smith was born in Darvel, would play for Rangers and become a Scottish International. In fact Darvel is the thread that runs through his life from birth to death. 

Although unrelated the two Smiths were born just two years apart, Alec in 1875, and as children lived not half a mile from each other. In fact it was none other than Nichol, a full-back, who had recommended Alec, an outside-left, to the then Ibrox Park club. There he would have a two decade presence, from 1894 to 1915, playing well over six hundred games in all, scoring over two hundred goals and being part of the treble-winning teams of 1896-97, 1899-1900 and 1910-11. He would also win twenty caps, between 1898 and 1911. 

And at the end of a remarkable on-field career he would retire back to to native village, become a partner in a successful, local lace-making concern, and in a full circle die in Darvel, aged eighty-four, and be buried in the village's New Cemetery.      

Alec Smith was the son of  a locally-born, seemingly twice-widowed cotton weaver, who had married his third wife, Helen Gilmour from Galston, in 1871. With her he would have two children, Alec being, the younger, before his own, early death in 1877. Thus the two weans were raised from very young by a widowed, washer-woman mother, who herself died in 1894, when Alex, on the cusp of moving to Glasgow, was just nineteen. He had been working as a carpet-weaver, whilst playing for Darvel, the village team's then new ground being then and now in the next street and coincidently its current chairman also a Gilmour. 

But Alec would return to the village not least to marry Isabella Speirs in 1903, she living at the other end of Main St. to where he had stayed until football took him away, albeit temporarily. Together they would have two children, both Darvel-born and, on his retirement from the game, live out the rest of their lives in a house perhaps three hundred and fifty yards from where he and half a mile from she had grown up. 

And that would be almost it, a simple story of community. Isabella would outlive Alec by a decade, dying in 1964. And she would be buried with him up the hill and over-looking home and village, to be joined by their daughter.    

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