IAN HARNETT, who died recently, was one of the members of the fine Queen's Park football team which defied modern trends to win promotion to the First Division and hold their own there for a brief period. His early family links were with Broughty Ferry and he was educated at St Joseph's College, Dumfries, where he became not only a fine footballer but an attractive forcing batsman.

He would be 15 years at Hampden as a player, and thereafter he was a meticulous servant of the club in committee. He would eventually achieve the greatest honour open to a Queen's Parker: the presidency of the club.

He started as a player in the first official season after the war, that of 1946-47, and his position then was left-half, one that had not been adequately filled since the departure to the Forces of the great Alec Cross. In this position he showed great creative powers, but a very bad leg break at Aberdeen ended his season prematurely and threatened his entire football career.

By this time Ian Harnett had enrolled at Glasgow University in the Faculty of Engineering and for the next three years his name was missing from the Hampden team sheets. He played occasionally for fun while cricket kept him fit in the summer. This game, too, he played at the highest level, turning out for Forfarshire in the Counties Championship and for Kilmarnock in the Western Union.

This was a time of great upheaval at Hampden with an accelerated turning to professionalism because such movement had not been possible during the war. But if Farquhar, Whigham, Mitchell, McGill, Brown, Galbraith, Harris, and Curran all left there was the necessary residuum of those who would stay and give stability.

When Ian Harnett came back he took over the right-back position which had been a problem ever since Jimmy McColl turned professional. Although he always looked as if wing-half was his natural position he became a very fine full-back. He did not dive into the tackle and was adept in shepherding the winger in the direction he wanted him to go.

In the 1950s and 1960s the game was about the direct opposition of backs and wingers. Ian faced a daunting array of opponents - Johnny Aitkenhead, Willie Ormond, Johnny Hubbard, Neil Mochan, and Charlie Tully to name but a few. In a scholarly way he drew them and removed the menace. Of those just named perhaps only Johnny Hubbard got the better of him over a long period of time.

In the autumn of 1956 Queen's Park were back in the First Division and the opening campaign was a glorious adventure. In two league games against Rangers they scored seven goals - only one point though - conceded seven goals twice to the other Queen's, from Dumfries, while Hibernian and Celtic fell before an amateur side where the defence picked itself and every South Side boy could recite it like a mantra - Crampsey, Harnett, Hastie, Cromar, Valentine, Glen. It was almost comical to see the bafflement of the professional clubs as they reluctantly recognised that these bankers, civil servants, and teachers could play a bit.

''Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.'' Inevitable commercial forces exerted pressure and the second season up was a disaster. There were some who stayed, Junior Omand, Bert Cromar, Willie Hastie prominent among them, and, of course, Ian Harnett.

But for his severe injury at Aberdeen he must have been a red-hot tip for the Olympic games of 1948 in London, and when Helsinki came around in 1952 it was at the end of his period of abstinence from first-class football. He was an automatic choice for the Scotland amateur side whenever available.

The camaraderie of the amateur game meant much to him, never more so than when on tour with Middlesex Wanderers, virtually an all-British amateur select. They went to exotic places such as Kenya and Trinidad. They had at one and the same time the best touring itinerary and the feeblest club song of any touring side.

Ian Harnett could look back on a career when he was competing with the very best in the Scottish game. It is my belief that but for his early accident he would have been an outstanding international wing-half. As it was, he was a graceful player and a gracious man.