Tom Sinclair

Robert Smith was with James not only one of the first eleven to represent Scotland in the first ever official, football international in November 1872 at Hamilton Crescent in Glasgow but the first brothers to play the international game. He was the younger of the two, being born in 1848, the son child of the Deesiders, Robert Smith Snr, born in Banchory, gardener to the Earl of Fife first at Braemar and then at Innes House by Urquhart in Moray, and Barbara Abercrombie from Crathie. Like his brother he was born in Aberdeen and attended the academy at Fordyce by Banff. 

However, on leaving school in 1864 he moved from the North-East to Glasgow, working firstly for a publisher and then as a cashier for a shipping insurance broker. This letter was to go out of business in 1869 but in the meantime Smith had, at the age of nineteen become a founder member Queen's Park football club. Indeed he was the club's first Treasurer and Captain, and then its second Secretary. 

However, on losing work in Glasgow he moved south, to London, where he joined, presumably on its foundation in October 1871, South Norwood F.C. but must in the meantime have made an impression elsewhere on the football field, perhaps at nearby Crystal Palace and also in the committee room. Of the five unofficial international played in London between March 1870 and February 1872 he played in three, the second in November 1870, the third and the fourth a year later and was listed for the fifth, although in the end he did not take part. He also became the liaison between London and Queen's Park and as such should be credited in the effort that turned unofficial games official. 

In the three unofficial games Smith played as a forward and it was as such that he began and ended that first, official international in 1872, although for a period he did swap with captain, Robert Gardiner, in goal. Then aged twenty-four he was described, in contrast to his brother, as a steady, hard-working player, a "grafter" and that seems to have been an strong element in the rest of his life, as England also failed to hold him for long. After also appearing for Scotland in the second, official international in March 1873 in the Autumn of that same year he left Britain essentially for good, emigrating to the "Wild West", to Wyoming in the United States, there to join another of the Fordyce scholars and Queen's Park founders, William Klingner.     

Tom Sinclair (footballer)

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Tom Sinclair

Personal information

Full name

Thomas Smith Sinclair

Date of birth


Place of birth

Dunkeld, Scotland[1]

Date of death

1968 (aged 87–88)

Place of death

Bonhill, Scotland



Senior career*






Rutherglen Glencairn








Celtic (loan)




Newcastle United




Dumbarton Harp


Dunfermline Athletic




Stevenston United


Kilmarnock (loan)



*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Thomas Smith Sinclair (1880 – 1968) was a Scottish footballer who played as a goalkeeper at the start of the 20th century.


Sinclair began his career with Rutherglen Glencairn, winning the Scottish Junior Cup and Glasgow Junior League in 1902 alongside future Scotland internationals Jimmy McMenemy and Alec Bennett.[2][3] He then joined Morton.

He joined Rangers in 1904 and played there for nearly three seasons. He spent much of his time at Ibrox as a reserve, but eventually made 73 first-team appearances.[4] He played in the 1905 Scottish Cup Final and in the Scottish Football League championship play-off match of the same year, but finished on the losing side in both.

He also spent several weeks on loan at Celtic in 1906. At the start of the 1906–07 season, the Celtic goalkeeper Davey Adams cut his hand during a benefit match at Ibrox[5] – the injury was caused by a nail which had been inserted through a goal-post for a five-a-side tournament – and as a gesture of goodwill, Rangers loaned Sinclair (who had lost his starting place to Alex Newbigging) to Celtic whilst Adams recovered from injury, and this is the first known transfer between the two Old Firm clubs. Sinclair played six league fixtures and three Glasgow Cup ties for Celtic, keeping clean sheets in every match bar his final game, where Celtic won 3–2 in the Glasgow Cup final.[6][7][8]

He joined Newcastle United in 1907. Again, he was used mainly as a reserve and made only eight first-team appearances in five years on Tyneside. In these games he kept three clean sheets, conceded three goals and lost only one match.[9] During Sinclair's spell at Newcastle the club won the English First Division twice and the FA Cup once (as well as reaching two further finals), but he was unable to displace fellow Glaswegian Jimmy Lawrence (the Magpies' all-time record appearance record holder) for long enough to claim any medals.

He later returned to Scotland and played for clubs including Dunfermline Athletic and Kilmarnock, but again was never the first choice in his position.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Sinclair served in the British Army during the First World War.[1]


Rutherglen Glencairn



Birth Locator:                    Aberdeen

Residence Locator(s):     Fordyce Academy

                                            Green River and Sweetwater, Wyoming, USA

Grave Locator:                  Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Other Sources:


Sweetwater County

And there is always Andy Mitchell's inestimable: 

Scottish Sports History

and see also

The Sweetwater County and Rock Springs Historical Museums


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