Footballer. An appreciation

Born: August 3, 1936;

Died: October 2, 2016

THE footballer Jimmy McIntosh, who has died aged 80, was a member of the famous Falkirk side that won the Scottish Cup Final in 1957. He was a great servant to Falkirk and was a one-club man.

As a boy, he had seen Falkirk play in his hometown Forres and jumped at the chance to join them. Bob Shankly, himself a rugged defender, admired the tenacity and determination of the young Highlander and gave him a first team debut against Celtic at Brockville on September 10th 1955.

It was a fiery affair and Jimmy had an outstanding game at left-half. The reporter at the game for the Glasgow Herald said “McIntosh, though he was near to exhaustion at the end, was another outstanding player.” That could have been said of most of his 200 odd appearances for the club.

He served an apprenticeship as a plumber with a Grangemouth firm, but he soon established himself as a regular in the Bairns side. He was a versatile, equally adept at full-back, inside forward or half-back, and his consistency soon attracted the attention of the Scotland selectors.

He played three times for the national Under 23 side, usually alongside his great friend Alex Parker and the pair were also selected by the British Army side during their period of national service. Jimmy served with the Scots Greys and quickly became a fixture in regimental teams.

Few opponents got the better of him and he faced some illustrious wingers in his day. He recalled a game against the legendary Stanley Matthews in a friendly match at Brockville. “Ian Rae and I manoeuvred him into the corner, and I went in for the ball. He was a fair age by then, but he just dropped his shoulder, darted off and he left the pair of us flat on our backsides.”

As Scotland prepared for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Jimmy was very much in the frame for a place in the squad, and he played in a World Cup Trial Match at Easter Road on February 3rd, 1958. Tragedy befell him however when he suffered a serious knee injury which saw him hospitalised for over a month and he missed out on the opportunity of a life-time.

There was a real possibility of a big money move to Nottingham Forest before the injury but he stayed loyal to Falkirk, even after the Reggie Smith era had gone and the club's fortunes declined.

When his career was coming to an end, he still turned out regularly, often travelling down from Forres where he had started a successful business venture at The Eagle public house.

His final appearance in a navy blue jersey was at Fir Park on March 16th 1963 when Falkirk lost 4-1. He then became player-manager of Forres Mechanics and he was a popular figure in the town. Jimmy led the Can-Cans to Scottish Qualifying Cup success, for the first time in their history.

When he finished playing, he became a successful businessman managing The Eagle in Forres, before returning to the Falkirk area. Here he showed great business acumen with the purchase and development of various popular pubs.

He loved talking about the Good Old Days, especially with his former team mate and life-long friend Alex Duchart. and what days they were.

He is survived by his wife Annette, his sons David, Gregor and Scott, and his sister Margaret.