James Watson

Two James Watsons would play for Scotland but a generation apart. This is a short biography of the first, who for four seasons from 1874, aged just nineteen, to 1878-9 was a Rangers stalwart, a forward, part of the team with Moses McNeil, Tom Vallance, Peter Campbell amongst others that lost the 1877 Scottish Cup Final to Vale of Leven, but only after a second replay. In fact the winning goal for The Vale was a Watson own-goal. 

James Andrew Kennedy Watson was born in 1855 in Bridgeton, Glasgow. His father was a Wishaw-born, drapery-warehouse-packer, perhaps explaining his son's Queen's Park connection. But James would go on to be a teacher and then head-teacher.  

And it was probably the teaching that caused him to drop out of regular football at just twenty-four, although there might have been the occasional turn-out until 1882 not just for Queen's Park but also for Third Lanark. However, he remained involved administratively with his first club, serving on committees, then becoming Vice-President in 1889-90 and elected President 1890-9. 

Meantime he worked at Calder St. Primary School in Govanhill and at Hillhead High School before becoming principal of Calder Street School and moving to East Kilbride. But, having been throughout a bachelor, before the move he married. It was in 1909 still in Glasgow. His wife was Alice Gray, who lived within a stone's throw of Hampden Park. And interestingly, whilst his age given as fifty-two, although he was actually fifty-five, she was just twenty-two. 

It seems the couple were to have two boys, in 1910 and 1914. But Watson was to die the following year, in 1915, in East Kilbride and aged just sixty. The cause of death is given as pneumonia, but it is said to have been as a result of scratch from a cat. He is buried in Cathcart Cemetery.

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