Most players

Scottish Football Answers to Questions
Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:31 am

Unique entries on John Litster’s 1893-1946 disk

Remember, these include seasons when some clubs didn’t play league or cup football. Nor does a player having signed for a club necessarily mean he played for them. Additionally, this does not include early Scottish Cup appearances. Nevertheless it is a useful guide to the number of players used. While it knocks my early OF assumptions on the head (they have more settled sides than the rest) the largest number of unique entries are for those sides which were original or early members of the Scottish League. The top twelve had all joined the league by 1900 at the latest.

820 Hearts

745 Third Lanark
724 St Mirren
707 Clyde

668 Queen's Park
667 Dundee
648 Partick Thistle
637 Morton
634 Dumbarton
632 St Bernard's
629 Airdrieonians

581 Hibernian
571 Raith Rovers
564 Hamilton Accies
560 Falkirk
556 Motherwell
553 Kilmarnock
550 Rangers
530 Celtic
526 Albion Rovers
515 Leith Athletic
512 East Stirlingshire

475 Ayr United
442 Cowdenbeath
439 Dunfermline Athletic
421 Aberdeen

391 Dundee Hibs/United
357 Alloa Athletic
336 Abercorn
333 St Johnstone
329 Vale of Leven
301 Arthurlie
300 Queen of the South

285 King's Park
268 Stenhousemuir
263 East Fife
244 Arbroath
244 Clydebank (1914-31)
236 Armadale
221 Montrose
213 Forfar Athletic
212 Edinburgh City
212 Johnstone
206 Brechin City
205 Bo'ness

180 Port Glasgow Athletic
175 Ayr FC
173 Bathgate
136 Lochgelly United
133 Ayr Parkhouse
119 Broxburn United

98 Dykehead
97 Royal Albert
76 Beith
74 Mid-Annandale
73 Nithsdale Wanderers
69 Galston
69 Renton
68 Solway Star
64 Linthouse
63 Clackmannan
57 Helensburgh
50 Dumbarton Harp

49 Peebles Rovers
37 Cowlairs
30 Dundee Wanderers
25 Cambuslang
23 Northern
20 Thistle

Bristol Rovers
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 8:04 am
Location: Turi, Kenya

Post by Bristol Rovers » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:46 am

scottish wrote:
Sat31March1928 wrote:I've had a quick look at the Albion Rovers list and there may be duplicates as there are lots of players listed by

I Sssssssss


or just Surname
I suspect the same will be true of other clubs as well but the ones with the most players will, presumably, have the most duplicates. Also, while the pre-war disk is of all registered players and the post-war disk for those who made at least one senior appearance, that appearance is a career one, not a club one. Hence there are players there who will have made appearances for some clubs but only signed for others and made no appearances with them.

The first alphabetical example I can find for Albion Rovers is Jason Alexander who signed for Rovers from Hibs (but isn't listed as a Hibs player), made no appearances for the Coatbridge club, then went on to Montrose where he made a couple of sub appearances before having his contract cancelled.

There will be others like that.

It was no great surprise that Alexander was freed at Links Park as he was pushing fifty and overweight. But he had been part of a great back four throughout the 1990s.

Do you have a date of birth for Jason Alexander and the date of his last Scottish League appearance, please? Thank you for your help.

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:01 am

According to Litster 22/8/88. His Montrose appearances were in 2006-07, both against Queen's Park, as an 87th minute substitute at Hampden on September 16th 2006 in a 1-1- draw and a 74th minute sub at Links Park in a 3-0 defeat on November 11th.

Soccerbase gives the spelling of his first name as Jayson.

Posts: 1061
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 12:48 pm

Post by BMCCOLL » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:58 am

scottish wrote:
It was no great surprise that Alexander was freed at Links Park as he was pushing fifty and overweight. But he had been part of a great back four throughout the 1990s.

And a bit neurotic to say the least! A brilliant back four indeed... I'm currently watching the entire box collection (up to season 7 now) of probably the greatest comedy series ever written!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:04 pm

BMCCOLL wrote:I'm currently watching the entire box collection (up to season 7 now) of probably the greatest comedy series ever written!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

I'd have agreed with that.....until Larry David went solo with 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' which I think is the 'Quadrophenia' to Seinfeld's 'Tommy.'

For the uninitiated who have no idea what this is about, check out Season Four, Episode Eleven, 'The Contest' and if after watching that you're not instantly hooked then feel free to remain Master of your Seinfeld-less Domain. To the rest, happy Festivus when it comes around.

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:52 pm

I've had a look at Aberdeen's pre-war entries in conjunction with Kevin Stirling's centenary history and from that the number of pre-war players in League and Cup is reduced by a third, from 421 down to 279.

There's no reason to think that Aberdeen are unrepresentative so if a similar pattern is applied across the board that would strengthen Albion Rovers' claim as the pre-war numerical advantage of the longer established clubs would shrink by comparison.

Hypothetical example: Club A has 600 entries. Club B has 300. Club A has 300 more 'players' than Club B. Take one-third off both clubs and Club A now has 400 and Club B 200. The advantage is now down to 200.

If I get the chance I'll have a look at some other clubs (unfortunately there is no way of checking Albion Rovers as AFAIK there is no record of line-ups) and see if the pattern holds. But it is time-consuming as the unique entries have to be compared one at a time with print records so it might be a while.

There is at least one website with 'instant' information and that's Bobby's superb Hibs site. That shows 449 league players 1893-1946 (the period covered by Litster) compared to 581 unique entries on the Litster disk. That's a drop of 23%, substantially less than Aberdeen but a hefty figure all the same. Between one in four and one in five of the registered players never made a first team appearance in a national competition.

John Meffen

Post by John Meffen » Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:00 am

I wasn't even thinking, I have assigned every Falkirk player a league number [including trialists], based on debuts in the league [sorry I didn't do so for the cup as I don't have the full line-ups], so this should be quite simple for Falkirk anyway.

William 'Golden' Miller (390)

b 19th January 1910, Camelon, Stirlingshire
d 20th February 1978, Falkirk, Stirlingshire

Debut – Saturday February 11th 1939 v Queen of the South (H) Scottish League Division 1
Positions – Inside-Left
Club Honours – Stirlingshire Cup W 1938/39, Falkirk Infirmary Shield W 1938/39
Scottish League Division 1 Matches/Goals [10/-]
Scottish Cup Matches/Goals [1/1]
Minor Cup Matches/Goals [4/1]
Known Career – Alva Albion Rovers, Partick Thistle [1928/29-1934/35], Everton [1935/36-1936/37], Burnley [1936/37-1938/39], Tranmere Rovers [1938/39], Falkirk [1938/39-1941/42], Airdrieonians [1942/43], Celtic [1942/43-1945/46], Dumbarton [1946/47]

William Miller was the last player to make his debut for Falkirk before WWII

tonight I'll manually count the players who played in the Scottish Cup pre-league, and viola, add it to the non 2-3-5 recent rubish!!

still living a dream of big boots, bigger shorts & cotton shirts with no adverts

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:24 pm

There are around 130 players on the Litster disk that never played for Killie up to 1939. Of course many of these were players registered during 1939-40 & 45-46 who did play but not in official matches.

In addition I found around twenty players who don't feature on the disk. These are chiefly players on loan for one or two matches during WW1 who don't appear to have been picked up by the SFL registration process which I imagine was a bit more flexible during wartime.

On top of that there are at least another 100 who played in Scottish Cup ties in the pre-league days so the 'extra' players more or less balance out the non-playing ones and I expect the final tally to 1939 to be around 550.
Last edited by Scottish on Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:31 pm

I make it 551 Kilmarnock players (at least) in League and Cup 1873-1939. There were 1932 entries on the Lister disk, reduced to 553 unique entries, reduced by a further 140 who never played a game, bringing the figure down to 413. There are at least 96 players who took part in the Scottish Cup but not the league, taking the figure back up to 509, nine different league players who took part under pseudonyms and 33 players who played league games but who don't appear on the Lister disk, making 551.

That should be regarded as a minimum figure as there are a number of Scottish Cup ties for which line-ups are unavailable.

However, that's another instance in which 25% of the unique entries never played a first class match.

Posts: 288
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:08 pm
Location: Madrid

Post by Gorgiewave » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:59 pm

scottish wrote:I'd hazard a guess at it being one of three. Based on the fact that only St Mirren and Hearts have taken part in every league season as well as the OF but the Glaswegian clubs have played far more cup ties and hence will have called on the services of more players. Going further, Rangers have a fifteen years head start over Celtic in the Scottish Cup so it's most likely them.

Set against that the OF usually have more consistency of selection. For instance Clyde have 150 entries more than Celtic in John Litster's pre-war disk and Hearts have 2,823 entries compared to Rangers' 2,320.

However many of these are duplicates and each entry is per season. So twenty players with one season appear as often as one player with twenty seasons. Also, unlike his post-war disk, the pre-war one contains many players who made no first team appearances whatsoever. Even so that's a significant difference over nearly fifty years (ten entries a season on average) so Hearts must be considered.

At a stretch you might include those clubs who joined the league in its early years. But not one that joined after, say, 1895 at the latest and not one which missed any seasons (Dumbarton, Dundee) after that.

That leaves the original four of the OF, Hearts & St Mirren plus Hibs, Clyde, Killie, Partick Thistle, Motherwell & Morton. But I doubt if you need to go past the first three.
Why did dumbarton miss one or more seasons and when?
"He took about half an hour to do it, but he did it!"

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:12 pm

They weren't re-elected in 1897 despite reaching the Scottish Cup Final. They finished bottom of Division Two and were replaced by Ayr FC. Dumbarton appear to have gone out of existence entirely (according to the official history of the club) between 1901-05. They restarted in 1905-06, winning the Scottish Combination and were elected back into the SFL for 1906-07.

They also spent a season in the C Division in 1954-55 which, while technically not out of the SFL, was a season in which all their opponents bar Stranraer were reserve sides.

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Thu Sep 23, 2010 2:13 pm

Bearing in mind all the usual caveats - missing line-ups, unidentifiable players etc - I reckon Kilmarnock have just crossed over the 1100 mark this season. In other words about the same as Albion Rovers have used post-war. Sat31 gave their figure as 1078 post-war but that was up to the end of 2007-08. A few more will have gone through the revolving Coatbridge door since then.

I now make it 554 for Killie up to the end of 1938-39, a further 49 in wartime (quite high considering Kilmarnock were active for only two of the seven wartime seasons) and, with the substitute appearance of Rui Miguel v Celtic last Sunday, exactly 500 since the beginning of 1946-47.

That doesn't mean a post-war total of 500 players as 25 of the pre-war & wartime players also appeared post-war.

It took twenty years, from 1873-1893 to reach 100 players. Not surprising as only Scottish Cup ties are included in this period and a number of line-ups are not known. It was a further 12 years before 200 was reached and then a short seven years to number 300. The 400 was brought up nine years after that, in 1921 but the 500 mark wasn't reached until 1932.

Not surprisingly, WW2 meant 600 wasn't recorded until 1946 with goalkeeper Mitchell Downie but 700 came not that long after, in 1953 with another keeper, Jimmy Brown. There were two debutants that day but Brown takes the 'prize' by virtue of alphabetical order.

There was then an amazing 24 years before number 800 appeared in the shape of Gordon Smith. During that time there was one season - 1962-63 - when Killie fielded no new players at all. Indeed between Andy King's debut on March 31st 1962 and Jim McFadzean's first outing on August 17th 1963 there were no debutants. The team finished runners-up in the league and reached the League Cup Final. In the three domestic competitions between the appearances of King and McFadzean the record was P51 W31 D12 L8 F129 A55. Of 24 home matches, just one was lost. Predictably it was to Glaswegian opposition - the Jags! A pointer to the success of a stable line-up?

It took less than half the time between Brown & Smith - 11 years to be exact - before Ray Montgomerie became the 900th, in 1988. The honour of being the 1000th can be fought over between Freddy Dindeleux, Garry Hay and Michael Jeffrey - okay, between Dindeleux and Hay then - when they made their debuts in 1999, another eleven years on.

Now, in a remarkable piece of symmetry, yet another eleven years later, Aleksei Eremenko became player number 1100.

So Eremenko is 1100 in total, Miguel is number 500 post-war, leaving Harry Forrester in the unmemorable positions of 1099 & 499 respectively.

Site Admin
Posts: 7665
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm

Post by Scottish » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:15 pm

Those figures are for all competitions. For official league seasons only the total was 939 up to the end of 2009-10. There were 444 pre-war players and 503 post-war players. I know that adds up to 947 but eight of the post-war players also played league football pre-war. There were 495 post-war league debutants to the end of 2009-10, hence Eremenko (the fifth league debutant this season) becoming number 500.

A breakdown of players to managers is as follows:

Hugh Spence (1919-37) introduced 167 new players (in all competitions), an average of just over nine per season. Five of these went on to play for Scotland and one for Northern Ireland. Jimmy McGrory (1937-40) brought in 25 but 13 of those were in the wartime season of 1939-40. Tom Smith (1945-47) added 41 in two seasons but 36 of these were in the exceptional season of 1945-46 and only five in the official league season of 1946-47.

Tom Mather introduced 11 new players in his solitary season in charge (1947-48) and Alex Hastings used an incredible 46 new players over just two seasons (1948-50).

Malky MacDonald was in charge for seven full seasons (1950-57) for his first spell as Killie boss and he played just 59 debutants, including one Scotland cap, during that time, just over eight per season compared to the 23 of his immediate predecessor.

Willie Waddell was at the helm for eight full seasons and brought in just 36 players - an average of 4.5 per season. His record is pretty amazing. Six of those players were capped for Scotland, 17 of them played over 100 times for Killie, seven more than 200, four more than 300 and one (Jackie McGrory) 476 times. Three of them scored more than 100 goals and two more are in the club's top 25 all-time scorers.

That was a hard act to follow and in Malky MacDonald's second spell he also sought continuity, bringing in just 13 new players in nearly three years. For a 'selling' club like Kilmarnock, surprisingly the cheque book was used to bring in five of these players.

Walter McCrae then had over five years in charge. He introduced just 32 players in that time (two of which were enforced one-offs thanks to a car crash), including two Scottish international goalkeepers.

He was followed by Willie Fernie. During his four years in charge there was again little turnover of players with just 25 new boys. One of those was also enforced due to a (this time, fatal) car crash. He gave a debut to one future international but also to two less good brothers of other internationalists. Three of his players reached the 450 appearance mark with two of them going on to play over 500 times for Killie.

Ex-player Davie Sneddon took the reins for just over three years and the 23 players who made their bow under Sneddon was also a steady number.

Jim Clunie had three years and eight months in charge and he brought in just 21 players during that time.

Another ex-player, Eddie Morrison, was the next manager and in four years at the helm there were 29 new players, including Scotland's first league player of Asian descent, Rashid Sarwar. And after a protracted dispute with Dumbarton, Morrison eventually signed future cup-winning skipper Ray Montgomerie.

When Jim Fleeting arrived as manager he brought a revolving door with him. Fifty players were introduced by Fleeting and over 30 had gone by the time he departed in April 1992. OTOH he brought in players of a quality that had been missing for some time. Tommy Burns was his stand-out signing but others like Bobby Geddes, Billy Stark, Bobby Williamson & Craig Paterson were far superior to what had been available in the previous decade. And not all Fleeting's signings were short-lived. Ally Mitchell & Gus MacPherson both made over 400 appearances and Mark Reilly over 300.

In his two seasons in charge Tommy Burns brought in just 12 new faces though most of them were familiar to the manager. Some of his old pals could still do a turn, like George McCluskey, while others - think of a player who is very, very good friends with legendary German footballers - were past their sell-by date. Burns also did that rare thing in the modern game - picking a player from the junior ranks - Tom Brown - and pitching him straight into the first team. He was rewarded with a goal from the player and a win.

Alex Totten was appointed manager even later in the close season than Mixu Paatelainen - twelve days before kick-of and with the team already on tour in Ireland. Totten introduced five new players inside a month but by the time he left the total number of debutants was just 15 in over two full seasons. One of those was an international keeper but this time for Yugoslavia - Dragoje Lekovic.

Bobby Williamson was manager for over five years and used 44 newbies, more than most previous post-war bosses but still under nine a season. He was the first manager since McCrae to bring through future Scotland caps in Kris Boyd and Andy McLaren. Thirteen of his players reached the 100 mark, three over 200 and two over 300. This pair, Garry Hay & James Fowler, are still playing today.

Jim Jefferies selected 62 debutants in his eight years in charge, an average of eight per season, more than some of his predecessors, less than others but certainly not evidence that he was forced to trim his squad any more or any less than other managers, despite what has been written about his tenure.

JJ also produced Scotland caps in Steven Naismith and Kevin Kyle. Only one of his players has - so far - reached over 200 games for Kilmarnock (Danny Invincibile) and the only other Jefferies signing anywhere near doing so is Fraser Wright. It wasn't quite as much in-out as with Jim Fleeting but only twelve of his debutants are still at Rugby Park just a few months after the manager's departure.

Jimmy Calderwood brought in five players in his short spell in charge. Three of them were on loan and two were one-offs.

Mixu Paatelainen has introduced seven new players in a month though four are loan signings.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests