Looks like this was the case, he was playing left half for United, certainly on the day he suffered his broken leg at least. This was a bizarre match at Tannadice in December 1933, with the biggest attendance of the season (7,300) turning up for a derby against promotion-chasing Arbroath. United at one stage had only 9 men following McBain's accident and an injury to debutant Bobby Gardiner, although he later returned to the field. The visitors led 4-1 early in the second half, but United fought back to 4-3. That was how it stood after 78 minutes when the referee, who evidently had failed to master the tricky art of telling the time, signalled the match was finished and headed off the pitch!scottish wrote:There was certainly a McBain playing for St Johnstone during the seasons mentioned and it wasn't Neil as he remained in English football as a player until 1931 and as a manager from 1929 onwards. But if it was Laurie McBain then he must have changed positions as from towards the end of the 1929-30 season he appears as a half-back not a forward.
Cue uproar on the terraces, and a linesman having to pursue the whistler and gently persuade him to return and play the traditional number of minutes. Once sanity was restored Gardiner went on to equalise for a 4-4 result.
Refereeing standards were so much higher in the olden days, weren't they?