John McDougall, John Smith McDougall, will at the very least have a permanent place in World "soccer" history as the first player (probably) to score an international hat-trick. That he did it against England in a 7-2 victory makes it all the more satisfying from a national point-of-view but in wider Scottish terms his place in the pyramid of footballing importance could hardly be higher.
He played for Vale of Leven from 1874, was, as a forward, a member of its teams, which from 1877 would complete a treble of wins of the Scottish Cup. In 1878 and 1879 he was also club captain. In addition he won not just one but five caps and this all before the age of twenty-six when he was forced to retire from the game because of knee-injury.
McDougall was born in Alexandria in 1854, one of twelve children of Alexander, a coachman born in Luss, and Elizabeth, probably born locally. At seventeen John was an apprentice mechanic. At twenty-six he was an engineer, still living at home. But in 1882 he wed in Annie Forrest, a Renton girl, whose father was a Spirit Merchant.
The couple were to have four children, a daughter and three sons, the two oldest born in Alexandria, the younger two in Renton. It suggests the family moved to the latter in the late 1880s, settling on Main St.in Renton. a few doors down from where she had lived prior to marriage.
In fact what had happened was that John's father-in-law had died in 1887 and John would not only move to take over the Forrest's business but remain in the Wine and Spirits trade until his death. That would be in 1925 at the age of seventy-one, still in Renton, by then living in a house quaintly called Forrestville, presumably after Annie or her family, but by then a widower.
John would be buried in Vale of Leven Cemetery, where he would join his wife, she having passed away seven year earlier, and be joined in turn by other members of their family.
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