Alexander "Sandy" Higgins Snr.

Sandy Higgins Snr was born in 1863 in Kilmarnock, the son of Kilmarnock parents, his father a carter. Two of his sons would also be professional footballers, one, Sandy Jnr. playing, like his father, for Scotland and the other, like his brother, for Newcastle but never in the first team. Sandy Snr himself would also play north and south of the border over a fifteen year career, beginning at sixteen in 1880 at his home-town club and finishing it there too in 1895. 

His first period at Rugby Park would be for eight years, throughout which he was working as a coal miner, during which three consecutive Ayrshire Cups were won, he at centre-forward, and at twenty-three he was made club captain and which would include four international goals, all scored in just one appearance in 1885. He had also married in 1885 to local-girl, Mary Garven and they would have four children, two born in Scotland and two south of the border. That was because, whilst he had several offers, it was only in 1888 that he accepted one from Derby County as the Football League kicked off, before after two seasons moving for four more, seemingly dropping to Nottingham Forest, but then leading them to an FA Cup semi-final, the winning of the Football Alliance and election to the Football League all by 1892.  

However, in 1893 at the age of thirty he badly dislocated a shoulder and the following season decided to return to Scotland, where he played out a last season back at Killy and then combined running a pub with a return to hewing coal as his son progressed to a round-ball career that would outstrip even his in both length and quality. Meanwhile, Sandy Snr. would be seriously injured in a pit accident in 1911 and who knows how much that shortened his life. His passing would be at just fifty-six in 1920 of "cerebral apoplexy", survived by Mary for a decade, she passing aged sixty-five in 1930.

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