John "Kitey" and David "Davie" (and Jimmy) McPherson

The McPherson brothers were born six years apart, James, "Jimmy", the eldest, John, known as "Kitey" the middle one. They were the three surviving sons of a blacksmith from Strathaven and a mother from Fenwick. And all three grew up to be notable footballers, Jimmy at Cowlairs, Kitey mostly at Rangers but via Killy and Cowlairs and Davie at mainly Kilmarnock, the younger two also going all the way to international level. 

In fact James was born in Fenwick, whilst for the other two it was Kilmarnock and early life could not have been easy. It looks as if in the mid-1870s the family had moved to Newmilns and it was there their father died in an industrial accident 1876, aged just twenty-nine. Certainly by 1881 their mother was a widow, back in Kilmarnock and working as a washerwoman with James working as a Hydrant Fitter but her two younger boys still at school. 

And it may well have been the family's economic situation that caused it, probably by mid-decade, while very much maintaining Killy connections, to leave Ayrshire for Glasgow, specifically for Springburn. Certainly by 1888 Jimmy and Kitey were both playing for the local club, Cowlairs, the former a left-half until about 1894 and the latter for two seasons, a left-sided forward. Indeed in 1890 James would even guest twice for Celtic. 

Kitey McPherson had begun his football career at junior club Britannia before at the age of eighteen joining Kilmarnock. There he was an almost instant success, leading, whilst still there and still nineteen, to him being awarded his first cap. And two more, both against England, and another against Ireland would follow, once the move to Cowlairs had been made. 

There, as at Killy, he would remain for two seasons, that is until Rangers came in, he then staying at the Ibrox club for a dozen campaigns until retirement in 1902. And in those years he would win four League titles, three Scottish Cups and six more caps, four goals, in both cases the last in 1897. 

By then Kitey had been married for six years. In 1891 he had returned to Kilmarnock to wed Margaret Brown, he registered to trade as an Engine Fitter. They were to settle in Govan and have two sons, still there in 1901, the year in which his mother was to die still at the Springburn address and by which time Davie was lodging in Beith, whilst playing for the town club.

Davie McPherson would during his career show considerable versatility, playimg as a left wing, an inside right and at left-half. He, in 1891 at nineteen, would join Kilmarnock directly but within a season had had a trial at Rangers, Kitey already there, joining the Glasgow club in 1892. But he would not be retained, after just a season returning to Killy a division down, and for the best part of an additional decade. However, it would be nine years that saw the club first win the Qualifying Cup, twice top the second tier, being promoted finally in 1898, and that same year reach the Scottish Cup Final. In that match he was at left-half. His elder brother was at inside-right, so under the Scots marking system in direct opposition. And he must have done a job. Whilst Killy lost 2-0 the opening goal came down the Rangers left and the other down the centre.

And by 1898 Davie too had been married and also to a Brown, in fact Margaret's younger sister by eight years, he recorded as an Iron Turner. His bride in 1893 had been Agnes. They were to settle in Kilmarnock and have six children, four boys and two girls. 

However, from 1916 the McPherson as a whole were to suffer a number losses. That year, William, second son of Davie would be killed in action on the Westrn Front. He was just eighteen. In 1920 his aunt, Kitey's wife, Margaret, would pass away at their Govan home, aged fifty-one. In March of 1916 Jimmie, who it seemed had never married, would pass on in Springburn, at the age of sixty-two to be followed in July by Kitey himself. He would collapse at Clyde's Shawfield Stadium, dying a month after his fifty-eight birthday. He is buried with Margaret and a grand-daughter, also Margaret, who died as a child, in Craigton Cemetery in Glasgow. Only Davie and Agnes would survive into older age. He would died in 1942 at their home a month before his seventieth birthday, outlived by her, still in Killy, for a year short of a decade. 

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