• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

David Kinnear

Footballer: Born February 22, 1917; Died February 3, 2008. Davie Kinnear, who has died aged 90, was widely believed to be the oldest living Ranger and his death marks one more break from the great Ibrox side of the 1930s.

Footballer: Born February 22, 1917; Died February 3, 2008.

Davie Kinnear, who has died aged 90, was widely believed to be the oldest living Ranger and his death marks one more break from the great Ibrox side of the 1930s.

Loading article content

His service to the Ibrox club spanned more than four decades, firstly as a skilful winger of some pace, then latterly as trainer and physiotherapist under successive managers Scot Symon, David White and Willie Waddell.

Kinnear was born in Kirkcaldy during the dark days of the First World War and was educated at Viewforth Secondary School. His football career commenced at Burntisland United and he signed for Raith Rovers in 1933. He joined Rangers one year later at the age of just 17, his first-team debut coming at Dens Park in a 2-3 league defeat on August 25, 1934. Two days later he scored his first goal in light blue as Celtic were overwhelmed 4-0 at Parkhead in Jimmy McGrory's benefit match.

A clever, direct winger with an impressive turn of speed who preferred the ball played ahead of him, Kinnear was following in the footsteps of the legendary Alan Morton. He would go on to play 143 games for Rangers, scoring 39 goals and winning two league championships, one Glasgow cup and one charity cup winners' medals before his career, like so many others, was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1939.

He was a player respected by opponents. Bobby Hogg of Celtic described him as the most difficult winger he had ever encountered. On January 2, 1939, he scored Rangers' opening goal as Celtic were defeated 2-1 at Ibrox before a British league record attendance of 118,730 that stands to this day. In three consecutive championship campaigns, he netted 29 goals in 89 games - an impressive ratio for a winger.

International recognition came at Hampden on December 8, 1937, when Kinnear netted the final goal as Scotland overwhelmed Czechoslovakia 5-0 before 41,000 spectators. That call-up would prove to be his only full international appearance as the storm clouds gathered across Europe.

Kinnear served with the Army Physical Training Corps during the war and was stationed in France and England. He played for the British Army alongside the likes of Matt Busby and Bill Nicholson. Such postings meant of course that he was seldom available to play for Rangers during this period - he played just 11 games for them throughout the entire course of the war, but guested for Aldershot, Middlesbrough, Crewe Alexandra, Fulham, Northampton Town and Stockport County.

At the end of the war, Kinnear moved from Rangers to Third Lanark in May 1946. His final appearance for Rangers was on April 10, 1944, in a 3-3 home league draw with Partick Thistle. Unusually he lined up at inside-left, with Charlie Johnston on the wing.

His stay at Cathkin Park was a short one and he returned to Fife to sign for Dunfermline Athletic after just five months. Brief spells followed at Queen of the South and Millwall Athletic before injury brought a premature end to his football career.

Kinnear was appointed remedial gymnast at Gleneagles Rehabilitation Unit before moving on to a similar position at Bridge of Earn Hospital. Rangers manager Scot Symon invited Kinnear back to Ibrox in 1956, where he would serve the club for 14 years as trainer and physiotherapist.

His stint at Bridge of Earn paid dividends for the club when he recommended to Symon that he sign the East Fife wing-half Harold Davis, who had been wounded in action in Korea but had regained his fitness under Kinnear's instruction. Davis would go on to be an outstanding servant for Rangers.

A final parting with the club in 1970 led Kinnear to take up the post of occupational therapist at Leverndale Hospital in Glasgow, where he helped set up a sports-related occupational therapy unit in the NHS.

The Kinnear family lived in the shadow of Ibrox throughout much of Kinnear's career, only moving to Newton Mearns in recent years after his wife, Dorothy, suffered a stroke, being cared for by her husband until she died some five years ago.

Kinnear died in Mearnskirk Hospital and is survived by his son, Jim, daughter, Eleanor, and five grandchildren.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

PARCH1.874684