Gil Rankin

Gilbert "Gil" Rankin was both remarkable and an enigma. At seventeen he was playing as an inside-right for Vale of Leven. By the time he was twenty he had won a first Scotland cap, and possibly scored an international hat-trick, certainly a brace, and by twenty-one a second. But at twenty-five as Leven Vale football crumbled around him and he had featured for both The Vale, which dropped out of the league in 1892, and Renton he had given up the game altogether, devoting himself to bowls still in his home-town before taking himself off to England and living out the rest of his life there. Born in Alexandria in 1870 he would die in Hornsey, London in 1927. 

Gil's father had been a local, Alexandria baker, as was his father before him. His mother was Jamestown-born. He himself was their second son and one of ultimately eleven children. At twenty he was, as well playing league football, a warehouseman. At thirty-one in 1901 he was still living with the family but his father would die in 1906, his mother in 1914 but in Helensburgh, and by the latter date Gil was already on his way. In 1913, aged forty-three, he married Jessie Gunstead but in Edmonton in London, settling finally in Rathcoole Gardens in Hornsey until his death at just fifty-seven, a short distance away in Hornsey Central Hospital, to be buried in St. Marylebone Cemetery.

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