1890–91 Dumbarton F.C. season

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1890–91 season
Stadium Boghead Park, Dumbarton
Scottish Football League Champions
Scottish Cup Runners Up
Top goalscorer League: John Bell (20)
All: John Taylor (28)

Season 1890–91 was the 18th Scottish football season in which Dumbarton competed at a national level, entering the inaugural Scottish Football League and the Scottish Cup for the 18th time. in addition Dumbarton played in the Dumbartonshire Cup, the League Charity Cup and the Greenock and District Charity Cup.

Story of the Season[edit]


Amongst those leaving the club from the first XI were, Ralph Aitken to Newcastle West End, Duncan Stewart to Port Glasgow Athletic and Joe Lindsay to Renton.

Those joining the first XI included John Taylor and Daniel Watson from the Second XI, and James McNaught from Methlan Park


The season began with an invitation to play in the Rangers FC Sports eleven-a-side tournament. On 2 August Dumbarton beat St Mirren 2-0 in the semi final, but lost out a week later to the hosts, Rangers, 3-1 in the final.

On 16 August the opening games in the inaugural Scottish League championship were played, and despite most of the play, Dumbarton could only manage a 1-1 home draw against Cowlairs.

As part of the International Exhibition in Edinburgh, a series of football matches were played, and one of these was played on 20 August with Dumbarton beating Leith Athletic 3-1.

The following Saturday, league business resumed and Dumbarton went to Cathkin Park, coming away with a 3-1 win over Third Lanark, then on 30 August the first ever home league win was obtained, with a 3-1 victory over Hearts.

At the end of the month, Dumbarton sat in second place in the league, a point behind Rangers.


September began with first round ties being played in the Scottish Cup, and Dumbarton eased through with an 8-2 win over Smithston Hibs.

On 13 September, the top two in the league played off at Boghead, with Dumbarton crushing their rivals for the title Rangers 5-1, winger Bell scoring a hat-trick in the process.

After a free week, it was back to Scottish Cup business, with Hibernian being swamped 9-1 at Easter Road.


October began with a 3-1 home league victory over near neighbours Vale of Leven.

A week later it was Abercorn who were on the wrong end of a 5-1 thrashing.

On 18 October Clydebank were visitors to Boghead for a third round Scottish Cup tie, and were soundly defeated 6-0, with winger Taylor getting 4 of the goals.

The return league fixture at Cowlairs on 25 October was not the close encounter that was seen at Boghead a few weeks earlier – a 6-1 win being recorded.

So at the end of the month Dumbarton led the league, 4 points ahead of Rangers with a game more played.


Following a free week it was back to Scottish Cup business on 8 November, with a fourth round 7-3 success over Mossend Swifts.

The following week, eight Dumbarton players - McLeod; Watson; McMillan; Boyle; Taylor; Galbraith; Mair and McNaught – played in the county side against Renfrewshire. A 3-1 win was recorded with Taylor scoring two and Mair the other.

On 22 November, Dumbarton turned their attention to the County Cup and brushed aside Duntocher Harp 10-2.

The 29 November was to have seen the fifth round tie in the Scottish Cup against 5th KRV, but with the referee ruling the pitch unplayable, the teams went ahead and played a friendly, Dumbarton winning 2-0.


December began with the re-run of the postponed Scottish Cup tie against 5th KRV a week earlier – and Dumbarton ran away with it by 8-0 – Taylor notching a hat-trick.

The following week involved a trip to neighbours Clydebank in the Dumbartonshire Cup semi-final – Dumbarton winning 4-1.

On 20 December, the biggest match of the season so far saw 10,000 spectators crammed into Boghead to witness Dumbarton defeat Celtic 3-0 in the Scottish Cup quarter final.

The final match of the year involved the return fixture against Abercorn, with a 2-1 win being registered.

So at the end of the year, Dumbarton remained unbeaten – leading the league and still going strong in both the national and county cups.


The ongoing controversy between professionalism and amateurism in Scottish football was perhaps one of the reasons for Dumbarton to stay at home during the New Year holidays. Nevertheless a string of impressive results were achieved, including a 1-1 draw with Celtic in front of 15,000 supporters at Celtic Park followed by wins over Arbroath (6-0 away) and Kings Park (8-3 home).

A blank week was followed on 17 January by a 3-1 semi final win over Abercorn in the Scottish Cup at Boghead.

The 24 January saw a return to league duty with Cambuslang being duly dismissed 5-0.


The Scottish Cup final on 7 February pitted the odds on favourites Dumbarton (unbeaten in all competitions to date) against the surprise package in the Scottish Cup so far – Hearts. However it was to be the under dogs who would prevail 1-0 in front of 10,000 spectators at Cathkin Park.

The following week saw Dumbarton playing in another cup final – this time for the county championship – but it was back to business as usual with a 4-1 win over Vale of Leven – lifting the cup for the third time in a row.

On 21 February Celtic would visit Boghead on league duty with a 2-2 draw being fought out. And the following week Vale of Leven would return this time for a league match but the ultimate result would be no different – 4-0 to Dumbarton.

So at the end of the month Dumbarton would still lead the league – now by 4 points – ahead of Rangers having played one game more.


The beginning of March saw the selection of the teams to play for Scotland in the upcoming Home International Championships. Disputes between the SFA and the Scottish League as to priority of players’ commitments ensured that few league players would be capped. Indeed only McMillan was selected from Dumbarton to play against Ireland and in the end he decided instead to play for Dumbarton in a league match.

On 7 March, St Mirren were beaten 5-1 at Boghead, with Bell scoring 4 of the goals.

A free week was followed on 21 March by a trip to Cambuslang for a league match. To return with just a 2-2 draw was disappointing. However Third Lanark were to experience what Dumbarton were capable of when they were defeated 5-1 on the 28th.

So at the end of the month the league race had tightened up – Dumbarton and Rangers were on the same number of points, but Dumbarton had played a game fewer.


At the beginning of the month, Dumbarton had 4 games remaining to play in the league – all of them away from home and among the opponents were both Celtic, and their nearest challengers, Rangers

The first game in April resulted in a win for Dumbarton in the semi final of the Greenock Charity Cup – 2-0 over Partick Thistle.

The following week, on the 11th Dumbarton lost not only their first league match 0-1 to Celtic, but also their game in hand over Rangers.

The following week, Dumbarton made up in some way for the earlier defeat in the Scottish Cup final by beating Hearts 4-0 at Tynecastle, to move 2 points clear of Rangers with 2 games left but a game more played.

The meeting with Rangers on the 25th took on massive importance as a win for Dumbarton would almost guarantee the title, however it was not to be and a 4-2 defeat meant that the two teams were level pegging once again, though Rangers would have a game in hand.


Dumbarton played their final league game on 2 May and beat St Mirren 4-2 at Paisley. At the same time Celtic beat Rangers, meaning that Rangers would require to win their game in hand to equal Dumbarton’s points total.

It should be noted that it wasn’t only the first XI that were playing well, with Dumbarton Rangers (Dumbarton’s second XI) beating Clydebank’s 2nd XI 4-0 to win the Dumbartonshire Second XI Cup.

On 9 May while Dumbarton had a rest week, Rangers won their outstanding league fixture to tie with Dumbarton at the top, and in the absence of rules to decide on a winner a play off was arranged.

The following week, strange as it may seem, Dumbarton played Rangers in the semi final of the new League Charity Cup, winning 1-0.

The league decider was played at Cathkin Park on 21 May in front of 10,000 spectators, resulting in a 2-2 draw. It was subsequently decided that rather than have a further playoff that the Championship be shared.

Over the following two days Dumbarton played two friendlies in a north of Scotland tour (2-2 against Arbroath and 6-2 against Aberdeen).

The month ended with a friendly against Kings Park at Stirling which was won 4-2.


June began with Dumbarton still involved in two finals.

The first took place on 3 June beating Morton 5-1 at Cappielow in the final of the Greenock Charity Cup.

Then on 10 June it was Celtic in the final of the League Charity Cup at Cathkin Park with Dumbarton winning 3-0 in front of a crowd of 12,000.



All results are written with Dumbarton's score first.

Scottish League[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
16 August 1890 Cowlairs H 1-1 Taylor 3,000
23 August 1890 3rd LRV A 3-1 Bell;Taylor;McMillan 4,000
30 August 1890 Hearts H 3-1 Taylor;Bell;Mair 3,000
13 September 1890 Rangers H 5-1 Mair;Bell(3);Taylor 4,000
4 October 1890 Vale of Leven A 3-1 OG;Mair;unknown
11 October 1890 Abercorn H 5-1 Taylor(3);Galbraith(2)
25 October 1890 Cowlairs A 6-1 OG(3);Bell(2);Taylor
27 December 1890 Abercorn A 2-1 Taylor(2) 6,000
24 January 1891 Cambuslang H 5-0 McNaught;Bell(2);Kerr;Thomson
21 February 1891 Celtic H 2-2 Galbraith;Boyle 6,000
28 February 1891 Vale of Leven H 4-0 Keir;Taylor;OG;Boyle
7 March 1891 St Mirren H 5-1 Bell(4);McNaught
21 March 1891 Cambuslang A 2-2 Taylor;Bell 3,000
28 March 1891 3rd LRV H 5-1 Bell;McLeod;Hutcheson;Taylor;OG
11 April 1891 Celtic A 0-1 10,000
20 April 1891 Hearts A 4-0 Bell(2);Taylor;Galbraith 5,500
25 April 1891 Rangers A 2-4 Bell(2) 12,000
2 May 1891 St Mirren A 4-2 Galbraith(2);Bell;Miller,J 3,000

Scottish League Play Off[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
21 May 1891 Rangers A 2-2 Taylor;Miller,J 10,000

Scottish Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
6 September 1890 R1 Smithston Hibernian H 8-2 McNaught;Taylor(2);Galbraith;OG;unknown(3)
27 September 1890 R2 Hibernian A 9-1 Taylor(3);Galbraith(2);Boyle;Mair;McNaught;Bell 3,000
18 October 1890 R3 Clydebank H 6-0 Taylor(4);McMillan;Bell
8 November 1890 R4 Mossend Swifts H 7-3 McNaught(2);McMillan;Mair;Taylor;Miller,A;Galbraith
6 December 1890 R5 5th KRV H 8-0 Taylor(3);Bell;McNaught(2);Boyle;Galbraith
20 December 1890 R6 Celtic H 3-0 Mair(2);Bell 10,000
17 January 1891 SF Abercorn H 3-1 Galbraith;McNaught;Bell 10,000
7 February 1891 F Hearts A 0-1 10,836

Dumbartonshire Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
R1 Dumbarton Albion WO
22 November 1890 R2 Duntocher Harp A 10-2 Bell;Galbraith;Taylor;unknown(7)
13 December 1890 SF Clydebank A 4-1 Boyle;Mair;Taylor;OG
14 February 1891 F Vale of Leven H 4-1 Mair(2);Taylor;Bell

League Charity Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
16 May 1891 SF Rangers A 1-0 Taylor 7,000
10 June 1891 F Celtic A 3-0 Bell;Taylor(2) 8,000

Greenock & District Charity Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
4 April 1891 SF Partick Thistle A 2-0 Bell(2)
6 June 1891 F Morton A 5-1 Taylor(2);Galbraith;Bell;unknown 4,000

Other Matches[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
2 August 1890 St Mirren A 2-0[1] Henderson;Bell
9 August 1890 Rangers A 1-3[2] unknown
20 August 1890 Leith Athletic A 3-1[3] Wilson(2);Mair 5,500
29 November 1890 5th KRV H 2-0[4] Taylor;unknown
1 January 1891 Celtic A 1-1 Taylor 15,000
2 January 1891 Arbroath A 6-0 unknown
3 January 1891 King's Park H 8-3 unknown
22 May 1891 Arbroath A 2-2 Miller,J;Bell
23 May 1891 Aberdeen A 6-2 Galbraith;Boyle Miller,J(2);OG;unknown 5,000
30 May 1891 King's Park A 4-2 Bell;unknown(3)

Player statistics[edit]


No. Pos Nat Player Total Scottish League[6] Scottish Cup
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK Scotland John McLeod 27 1 19 1 8 0
DF Scotland John Hannah 9 0 6 0 3 0
DF Scotland Alex McDonald 3 0 2 0 1 0
DF Scotland Alex Miller 24 1 16 0 8 1
DF Scotland Daniel Watson 26 0 18 0 8 0
MF Scotland Dickie Boyle 26 4 18 2 8 2
MF Scotland Jones 1 0 1 0 0 0
MF Scotland Leitch Keir 21 1 16 1 5 0
MF Scotland Alex Lang 5 0 5 0 0 0
MF Scotland Tom McMillan 20 3 13 1 7 2
FW Scotland John Bell 27 25 19 20 8 5
FW Scotland James Galbraith 26 12 18 6 8 6
FW Scotland William Henderson 1 0 1 0 0 0
FW Scotland Alex Hutcheson 6 1 6 1 0 0
FW Scotland Neil Kerr 1 1 1 1 0 0
FW Scotland Hugh Mair 16 7 8 3 8 4
FW Scotland James McNaught 25 9 17 2 8 7
FW Scotland John Miller 2 2 2 2 0 0
FW Scotland John Taylor 24 28 16 15 8 13
FW Scotland William Thomson 2 1 2 1 0 0
FW Scotland Wilson 5 0 5 0 0 0

Reserve Team[edit]

Scottish Second XI Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result
13 September 1890 R1 Kirkintilloch Athletic A 4-0
4 October 1890 R2 Queen's Park A 0-9

Dumbartonshire Second XI Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result
8 November 1890 R1 Dalmuir Thistle A 6-2
8 April 1891 SF Vale of Leven H 4-3
5 May 1891 F Clydebank A 4-0


* John Bell became the first ever League topscorer with 20 goals
* Dumbarton remained unbeaten at home during the season in all matches played - a run stretching back to September 1889.
* Dumbarton scored 171 goals in all games - beating the previous record set in season 1887-88. This was the fourth season in a row and the sixth time in the club's history that the 'century' had been broken.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Semi final of Rangers F.C. Sports Tournament.
  2. ^ Final tie of Rangers F.C. Sports Tournament.
  3. ^ Played as part of a display of football at the Edinburgh International Exhibition.
  4. ^ This match was to be a fifth round Scottish Cup tie but was postponed due to a frozen pitch. The teams however decided to play a friendly.
  5. ^ McAllister, Jim (2002). The Sons of the Rock - The Official History of Dumbarton Football Club. Dumbarton: J&J Robertson Printers.
  6. ^ includes league play off

External links[edit]