Born: March 15, 1937;

Died July 25, 2021.

KEN Ross, who has died aged 84, is assured of his place in the history of Edinburgh’s Boroughmuir Rugby Club as their first Scottish internationalist.

He made his debut in 1961 at Murrayfield against South Africa and although the Springboks won 12-5, the Glasgow Herald’s correspondent made mention of “a splendid first international for Kenny Ross, the new wing-forward.”

A further 10 caps followed, his final one coming against England at Twickenham in 1963, a game memorable for a wonderful try by England’s Richard Sharp, whose weaving run began more than 40 yards from the Scottish line.

Ross did, however, figure in several notable Scotland successes, including a win against Ireland in 1961, when he scored two tries and had a third disallowed; the victory over the Welsh in 1962, Scotland’s first in Cardiff since 1927; and the defeat of the French in Paris in 1963, their first loss at home in five years.

He also played in the “infamous” Welsh match of 111 lineouts at Murrayfield in 1962.

He regularly represented Edinburgh District, contributing to several District Championship titles, and played with distinction for Boroughmuir over a decade.

Although the club has been at the forefront of Scottish rugby for many years, it was not so in the early 1950s and Kenny and others are due credit for laying the foundations for future success at Meggetland.

Kenneth Innes Ross was born in Folkestone, Kent, where his father was stationed with the Seaforth Highlanders. Later the family returned to Scotland, living in Nairn before moving to Edinburgh, where Ross started playing rugby at Boroughmuir High School.

He soon demonstrated aptitude and was in the 1st XV for three seasons, captaining the team in his final two years. In 1954 the side won three schools’ Sevens tournaments, at Paisley, Meggetland and Murrayfield, in the latter defeating the more-fancied Heriot’s Seven in the final.

Later that year Ross and team-mate Arthur Leitch became the first Boroughmuir schoolboys to be selected for Edinburgh Schools.

After leaving school in 1955, Ross joined the FPs, where he went straight into the 1st XV aged 18. A virtual ever-present until 1965, he captained the side in his final season.

In only his second season of senior rugby his excellent form was rewarded with selection for Edinburgh District and in December 1957 he was chosen for Combined Cities (Edinburgh/Glasgow) against the touring Australians at Old Anniesland. Although the Wallabies prevailed 9-3, one report stated: “Ross was often prominent in attacks with the ball either in hand or on the ground”.

He also played in his first international trials that season and edged closer to international status as reserve for the French match in January 1958.

Appearances for Boroughmuir were curtailed as he undertook two years’ national service down south with the Royal Marines, where he distinguished himself on the pitch and off it, too, winning the coveted Sword of Honour as the outstanding Marine entrant at Dartmouth Naval College. A framed photo of it used to hang outside Boroughmuir’s headmaster’s study.

Despite playing at a high level for the Royal Navy, various services teams and Hampshire, he did not attract Scottish selectors’ attention until his return in 1960, when he again featured in trials and played for Combined Cities against Paris and the touring South Africans.

After representing Edinburgh against the South, the Glasgow Herald correspondent wrote: “Personally, I have no doubt Ross is the most generally accomplished footballer playing at wing forward in Scotland today”. A week later came Ross’s Scotland debut.

He shone at the seven-a-side version of the game, collecting winners’ medals at venues including Kilmarnock, Musselburgh and Howe of Fife, but Boroughmuir’s biggest win was at Melrose Sevens in 1963, when they pulled off a huge surprise, beating a star-studded Hawick team in the final with Ross and team-mates playing out of their skins in dreadful conditions. Nor was success diminished by having to wear the jerseys of their earlier opponents, Watsonians, in the final to avoid a colour clash. A complete player, Ross was particularly noted for his energy, handling skills, support play, and ability to read a game.

He was also highly regarded by teammates, on and off the park. John Douglas, who played for Scotland alongside him in the back row, remembered “a very good player who was also great fun, and on one occasion surprised me by going out dancing the night before an international”.

Boroughmuir colleagues Norrie Patterson and Bill Noble recalled “a very popular, amusing guy, a clever player who read the game wonderfully and was an inspiring figure on the field, a predatory wing-forward who liked to play open-style rugby.”

He retained lifelong links with Boroughmuir, where he was a Life Member and a welcome figure at club functions. He supported the club by, for example, donating a small whisky-still model for their Clubman of the Year award.

He left Edinburgh in 1965 to work for Invergordon Distillers and later joined Stanley P Morrison as a whisky broker, a job that took him to 72 countries worldwide.

In 1963 in Edinburgh he married Joan with whom he enjoyed many happy years during which they had Tiffy, Gavin and Trish. They survive him, as do five grandchildren.