THERE USED to be a popular history series in the USA, which bore the challenging title From Log Cabin To White House. It seemed to be very apposite in any description of the career of Junior Omand.

An early photograph shows him as a tea boy aged about 10 and within a matter of two years he had risen to the rank of chief ballboy. There followed a distinguished playing career of some 10 years and in the fullness of time he became president of Queen's Park Football Club.

Junior was, in the biblical phrase, "numbered among the elect" and he belonged to that handful of men who in the late twentieth century could compete with the best that Scottish professional football could provide and Scottish professional football was possibly at its best at that time.

In the way the Plains Indians of the USA faced with calm dignity the remorseless advance of the settlers, the Hampden amateurs resolved either to defeat the professional onslaught or perish in the attempt.

By tireless scouting and a bit of luck, Queen's found a team which picked itself. The defence was: Crampsey, Harnett, Hastie, Cromar, Valentine, Glen and in attack: Rein, McCann, Church, Devine, Dash and Omand.

This was the side which, allowing for the occasional alternation in personnel, would beat Hibernian, would score 13 goals in two matches against Queen of the South, and in one of them Junior got the hat-trick.

Seven goals were taken off Rangers in two matches.

In order to achieve this success it would not do for Queen's to create the odd upset. Consistency would be required and many people thought that men who had to train by night could not hope to compete with fulltime professionals.

Junior had been distinguished early on. In style he was something of a reversion to the traditional Scottish inside forward, hunched over the ball and driving towards the opposition goal.

A quick look and you had him categorised as a maker of goals rather than as a finisher. But look a little longer and you saw that throughout his career he had the respectable average of one goal every four games.

He had come to Hampden from the great nursery of Queen's Park School. He became a probing inside forward but he started life on the left wing. He was a judicious passer of a ball with a fine shot.

He rarely seemed to run f lat out.

Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say of his erstwhile colleague at Hampden: "There is never any point in looking back and regretting decisions but I soon knew that leaving Queen's Park was a big mistake and an even bigger mistake was failing to confide in Willie Omand. I could feel that my lack of trust had been a terrible disappointment to him."

It is pleasant to record that very recently SirAlex and Junior Omand met up again and had the most cordial of meetings.

In Junior's time, games were decided by individual duels on the park. Inside forwards vied for the upper hand with skilful wing-halfs. Junior was setting himself up for comparison with such great players as Ian McMillan of Airdrie, David Mackay of Hearts, Bertie Peacock of Celtic, Ian McColl of Rangers, Tommy Gallacher of Dundee and Charlie Aitken of Motherwell. It was against the last of these clubs that he scored perhaps his most memorable goal. The occasion was important, a Scottish Cup tie at Fir Park postponed from the Saturday to the following midweek.

From the beginning Queen's were under the cosh. Their defence was excellent and Alec Glen got them a goal against the run of play, after which normal conditions prevailed and the Hampden defence was put through the mangle. With three minutes to go, the ball broke to Junior just in his own half and some five yards or so onside. He set off grimly for the Motherwell goal with Charlie Aitken and Willie Kilmarnock backtracking furiously while Weir in the Motherwell goal could hardly repress a smile having worked out relative speeds. But Junior kept going, did a textbook rounding of the keeper and placed the ball in the net.

As the clubs' fortunes plummeted and promotion to the First Division became a dream there must have been the occasional temptation for Junior to consider options. Such considerations would not last very long for here you had the epitome of the one-club man.

He enjoyed the travel which was then part of the life of the talented amateur. He made several foreign trips with Middlesex Wanderers and won many international caps at amateur level. He was just a little chagrined to have been just too late for the Olympic Games.

Many Queen's Park players can recite the club motto Ludere Causa Ludendi - The Game for the Game's Sake. Many players could recite this but Junior lived it. He resisted all offers to turn professional. Scottish football has been the indirect beneficiary of this stand since had he turned professional it is highly unlikely that he could have made the legislative contributions to the various league committees that he did. He was a courteous man and would always give the impression that one was the person above all for whom he had been waiting at Hampden that afternoon or evening.

It is customary to say on such occasions he will be missed.

Certainly Juniorwill be so. How could it be otherwise with half a century of service to Hampden, to say nothing of his two golf courses - Whitecraigs and the dramatic backdrop to Blackwaterfoot. In his life he exemplified the view of Hilaire Belloc:

"From quiet starts and first beginning and out to undiscovered ends there's nothing worth the wear of winning but laughter and the love of friends."