Andy Aitken, who died some weeks ago, was an extremely gifted and occasionally turbulent inside-forward with Queen's Park in the 10 years following the outbreak of the Second World War.

He had, in fact, played in Queen's Park's very last peacetime game as a youngster who had just broken into the team. He recalled vividly the match, which was a 0-0 draw in Edinburgh against the now-defunct St Bernhard's, and how, on the road back to Glasgow, the lights were being switched off as blackout regulations came into place.

He was perhaps the last of the strict-construction amateurs who refused any kind of remuneration, and certainly in his early days he bought his own boots and was reputed to have bought his own strip. He was an interesting player, not particularly tall but very strongly built and deep-chested. He was quick once he got into his stride, though he did not possess lightening acceleration. He did possess a powerful shot and for several of the wartime seasons he was the club's leading scorer.

As he occupied a very senior position with Colville's of Motherwell at a remarkably early age, he was not called up for military service, remained at Hampden for most of the war, and brought in some young and promising players such as Arthur Dixon, Johnny Aitkenhead, and Ian McColl.

He was never the easiest of colleagues on the field and sometimes impatient with those who had momentarily slipped from his own high standards. When Davie Letham came back after the war he remembers getting the odd slating from Andrew for having ventured too far upfield. Occasionally his wrath would be turned against the committee and he would refuse to re-sign. Consequently, he had a season with Third Lanark and later another with Hamilton Academicals where, in accordance with his principles, he refused a wartime gift of eggs

since he was a committed amateur; invariably he returned to Hampden. During one of his self-imposed exiles, Paddy Travers, then manager of Clyde, tried to sign him but players could not then be paid more than #2 per week and had it been #20,000 Andy would not have been tempted.

He did courteously inquire what Paddy wanted and the latter, having looked around Mr Aitken's opulent house, merely muttered quietly ''nothing, Andrew''.

He enjoyed his stay at Hampden largely because players stayed with Queen's then since there was no

possibility of them turning professional in wartime.

With the return of peacetime conditions he came close to winning an Olympic medal at Wembley in 1948. Along with fellow Queen's Parkers Ronnie Simpson, Gus Carmichael, and Alan Boyd he was in the Great Britain side which lost 5-3 to Denmark in the play-off for the bronze medal. He had instead the certificate for fourth place to which, charac-

teristically, he had attached a note saying that if the attack scored

three goals then that should have been enough to guarantee a trip to the podium.

A further difference of opinion with the committee led to a final parting of the ways in 1949 and very unfortunately deprived him of a certain amateur cap against England in the Amateur International Series which was just about to restart after the war. When he gave up playing he may well have had another five years football in him.

Those who went to Hampden in that post-war period will remember him, collar turned up, jersey outside shorts in approved Hampden fashion, the black hair immaculately brushed, the defenders shouldered aside as he drove directly for goal. He could have had #5000 to join Aberdeen as a professional but there was small chance of that. He took the club's motto - ''the game for the game's sake'' - quite literally.