Last weekend we were contacted by fellow Rangers supporter Jim Reid who informed us that his friend was in possession of a trophy which bore an inscription reading ‘1st Prize, Won By Rangers Team, Capt J Watt. 1st May 1880’ and could we help find some information about it. As far as the provenance for this fantastic piece of Rangers memorabilia Jim went on to tell us “It was purchased in a jumble sale in Newton on Ayr, Ayrshire in mid 60’s by a work mate of my friend’s dad for 5 shillings. The work mate then gave it to my friend’s dad who in turn gave it to him. So he’s had it from 1965/66 or so”. The trophy was won at the Alexandra Athletic Sports that held at Kennyhill grounds at Cumbernauld Road which we believe is now on the south side of the Alexandra Park in Dennistoun Glasgow. There was a healthy presence of Rangers players competing. As well as James Watt and the Tug o war team Rangers had a four a side team in the football, Jimmy Gossland running in the half mile and the great Tom Vallance is listed competing in the high jump and hurdle race.
Alexandra Athletic Club Alexandra Athletic Club actually supplied a few player to Rangers in the 1880s the most prominent being James ‘Tuck’ McIntyre. ‘Tuck’ as he was known left Alexandra to join Rangers in 1880. He became the first team captain and then to be a keen committee man. After football Tuck opened pubs around Glasgow. The most famous being the now Angel pub on Paisley Road West.
James Watt James Watt was a good club man. Goalkeeper in the 1877 Scottish Cup Final side (pictured below), he was a fine last line of defence. He lost his position to the hugely talented George Gillespie when Gillespie decided playing outfield was too rough! In the 1879/80 SFA Annual James was described as “a goalkeeper of considerable promise”. A year later he was in the list of those “now retired”! On at least two occasions he had played outfield. President in 1876 – 1877, he also served the Club as Honorary Treasurer in 1878 – 1879 and 1879 – 1880. It was in this capacity he joined club captain Tom Vallance in leading Rangers’ protest to the SFA after the 1879 Scottish Cup Final. (In the drawn match with Vale of Leven, a Willie Struthers goal was disallowed by the referee. Rangers argued it should have stood.) James was a machinery merchant, a partner in Dimmack and Watt, iron and steel merchants. Sadly, like three of his colleagues, Peter Campbell, Sandy Marshall and William Dunlop, he did not live to be present at the 1877 Cup Final anniversary dinner of 1898. James had died a few weeks earlier on 22 March. He had suffered from heart disease.