Henry McNeil

As the eldest of the McNeil brothers, or at least the footballing ones, Henry "Harry" was the probably the first to come up from Gareloch to Glasgow. He was a Clerk. It meant that, although in early 1871 he was living with his elder sister, Elizabeth, and younger brothers, James, William and joint-founder in 1872 of Rangers, Peter, he was already involved with the game. Said to be a natural sportsman, an athlete, shinty-player and later a coach, he seems to have started with ad-hoc football on Glasgow Green, from where a club north of the river was the natural progression. In his case it was initially 3rd Lanark but by the time his brothers had the idea to form The Gers his loyalties had been transferred to Queen's Park. And there they would remain during his playing-career and beyond.  

Harry McNeil had been born in 1850 at the family home in Shandon by today's Faslane so was already twenty-two when the touch-paper of Scottish football was lit in 1872. He was therefore a deal older than many of his footballing contemporaries and a combination of natural ability and his maturity soon brought him to the fore. A forward with a reputation for his astute passing he was in the team that won the first Scottish Cup Final in 1874. And he was there again the following year and the one after that. Meantime still in 1874 he had won his cap, in Scotland's first international win and  he had married. His bride was Glasgow-girl, Mary Cribbes. They were to have two children, a boy and a girl. 

Harry would continue to turn out for Queen's Park until 1884, so almost thirty-four years of age. He had won a third Scottish Cup in 1880 and his last cap in 1881, when he would also have won a fifth cup but for injury. He had also go into business with his brother, Peter, in 1881 both officially recorded as Glovers and Hosiers with premisesn the the city centre but in reality perhaps the first Sports Outfitters.     

However, events took a turn in 1889 with the death of his wife in Rutherglen, upon which he rapidly remarried to Mary Walker, left the business, was recorded in 1891 as living with in-laws, still in Rutherglen, a travelling salesman, and then moved with her to Northern Ireland there to run a hotel in Bangor. The outfitters seems then to have gone rapidly downhill, disappearing by 1896. And by then for Henry personal tragedy has struck for a second time. His second wife passed away at their hotel in 1895 causing him to return to Scotland and Rutherglen once more. In fact he was to live out the last thirty years of his life there, living with family, working as a sometime florist, sometime wine salesman until his own death at the age of seventy-four to buried in Rutherglen Cemetery.  

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