Sammy Baird

In the case of Sammy Baird, Samuel sometime Debble, Deeble or Deble, Baird there needs initially to be some full disclosure. He is one of the few exceptions to the rule of confining our attentions to players, who flourished before the Second World War. He was born in Denny in 1930, played as a junior for Rutherglen Glencairn, then had ninety games at inside-left or left-half for Clyde between 1949 and 1954, fifteen in a season at Preston, one hundred and twenty-two for Rangers, scoring an impressive thirty-nine times, from 1955 and 1960 before moving on to Hibernian and finally Third Lanark and Stirling Albion. And whilst at Ibrox he won three league titles, a Scottish Cup and seven Scotland caps. He was, in losing to France in Sweden in 1958, also the fourth Scot and remains the only Rangers player to score in the World Cup. Scotland was sadly goal-less in 1954  and the SFA had refused to partake in 1950. 

On finishing playing Baird also went on to manage still at Stirling Albion, gaining promotion to the top flight in his first season. But the club would then struggle. It finished fifteenth of eighteen in 1966, when it became the first British and professional team to tour Japan, beating its national team (how times have changed), sixteenth in 1967 and was relegated in 1968. But by then he had been sacked, never turning to management again. He had also been running Baird's Bar in Bo'ness and did so until retirement, at which point he left Scotland altogether, which is where Ireland comes in. He settled in Bangor in Co. Down. Why is unclear but it may have been familial. Bairds are not uncommon in the province. And he appears to have married possibly twice, once in Denny in 1960 and a second time in 1982 to Robertha Gibson cum Wilson in Linlithgow, so Bo'ness, possibly via Northern Ireland. Certainly it is her name that appears on his gravestone in Clandeboye Cemetery, Co. Down following his death just short of his eightieth birthday in 2010. He was survived by child or children, the birth of William Binnie Baird is recorded in Falkirk so Denny in 1961, grand-children and even great-grandchildren.

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