1892–93 Dumbarton F.C. season

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1892–93 season
StadiumBoghead Park, Dumbarton
Scottish Football League7th
Scottish CupSecond Round
Top goalscorerLeague: Lawrence Bell (9)
All: Lawrence Bell (11)

Season 1892–93 was the 20th Scottish football season in which Dumbarton competed at a national level, entering the Scottish Football League for the third time, and the Scottish Cup for the 20th time. In addition Dumbarton played in the Dumbartonshire Cup and the Glasgow Charity Cup.

Story of the Season[edit]


As Dumbarton entered season 1892-93, the defending league champions for the second year running, while professionalism in England was widespread, clubs in Scotland could do little to detract their players from the offers being made by English agents.

Dumbarton were no exception and by the start of the season had already lost the services of John Miller to Liverpool, Dickie Boyle to Everton and James Galbraith to Middlesbrough.

So the first XI started out as: Goal – McLeod : Backs – McMillan and Smith,A : Half backs – McDonald and Miller,A : Forwards – Keir; Taylor; Thomson, W; Hartley; McNaught and Bell.

However during the season Dumbarton were further weakened by the loss of Abe Harley to Everton (January), James McNaught to Newton Heath (March), John Bell to Everton (April) and William Thomson to Aston Villa (April), not forgetting John Gillan, who had become a first team regular in November, also to Aston Villa (April). Nevertheless the second XI continued to provide new local talent, and among those stepping up to the senior team were Lawrence Bell, Daniel Thomson, William Nash and Albert Saunderson.


A close season tournament was played for the benefit of Port Glasgow AFC and on 27 June Dumbarton defeated the hosts 7-2, whilst in the other tie, Rangers got the better of Clyde by 4-0.

On 9 July the final of the Port Glasgow benefit tournament was played at Ibrox, but with the loss of Taylor early in the game who was ordered off for kicking the Rangers goalkeeper, Rangers were rarely troubled and ran out winners by 4-1.


The 1892-93 season opened on 13 August with a friendly fixture in Dumfries against 5th KRV, and whilst the team was composed mostly of 2nd XI players, Dumbarton still managed a win by 3-2.

The league season opened a week later with a home tie against St Mirren, the loss of the backbone of the team – added to the three who had travelled south were Taylor who was suspended and McMillan who had yet to decide on his future, meant that the unbeaten league record at ‘fatal’ Boghead would be sorely tested and so it proved with the visitors leaving as the winners by 2-1.

On the 27th, Dumbarton travelled to Ayr to play a friendly, and in a foul strewn game came away with a 1-1 draw.


On 3 September Dumbarton had the unenviable task of a visit on league business to Ibrox, and while most pundits expected an easy Rangers win, with the return of McMillan to the fold, Dumbarton put up a strong performance, and although leading twice eventually succumbed by 3-2.

The following week saw the visit of Leith Athletic to Boghead, and whilst the game was not great, a 2-1 win ensured that Dumbarton gained their first league points of the season.

It was meant to be a league visit to neighbours Renton on 20 September, but as the referee failed to appear, a friendly was played, which Dumbarton won 2-0.

A week later, despite having most of the play, Dumbarton allowed Third Lanark to leave Boghead with both points in the league encounter, the latter winning 2-1.

So at the end of the month, Hearts topped the league table with 11 points from 6 games, 2 ahead of Rangers who had a game in hand. Dumbarton trailed in 8th with 2 points from 4 games played.


On 1 October, Dumbarton played their return league fixture at Paisley against St Mirren, the match was an even one, and Dumbarton went in at half time 2-1 ahead. However Smith was lost to injury early in the second half and despite scoring a third goal which was disallowed, it was St Mirren that made their 1 man advantagetell by winning 3-2.

The following week Dumbarton travelled to play Hearts at Tynecastle. Hearts had been going well in the league, but the introduction of David Thomson and Lawrence Bell to the team, and the return from suspension of Taylor, made a huge difference to the Dumbarton performance, who were well worthy of their 3-1 win.

Following on from the previous week’s success, Dumbarton looked forward to a home tie against Celtic with an unchanged team. However the Celts completely dominated the game and left Boghead with a 3-0 win.

On 24 October, Abercorn were the visitors to Boghead and were soundly thrashed 5-1 – Dumbarton’s biggest win of the season so far. Interestingly, McLeod left his usual position of goalkeeper to play centre forward in the first half of the game, with Hartley taking his place between the sticks.

A week later brought a visit to Boghead by neighbours Renton for a friendly fixture and ended in a 2-1 win for Dumbarton.

So at the end of the month Rangers still led the league with 14 points from 8 games, ahead of Hearts a point behind with a game more played. Dumbarton remained in 8th place with 6 points from 8 games.


The return fixture against Third Lanark was played at Cathkin Park on 5 November. Dumbarton were missing Keir and J. Bell due to injury and this showed as a 3-0 defeat was suffered.

The following week there was a rest for the club, but not for all the players. John McLeod, Tom McMillan, William Thomson, John Taylor, Abe Hartley and James McNaught were all selected to play in the Dumbartonshire representative team against a Renfrewshire XI at Abercorn’s ground, the match was drawn 2-2 with Taylor scoring one of the goals.

A return to a full strength squad did not have the desired effect on 19 November as Dumbarton lost away to Leith Athletic by 3-0. Notwithstanding the score, Dumbarton had most of the play but were met by a ‘superlative’ display by the Leith goalkeeper.

The 26 November saw Dumbarton visit Clyde for their first game in the Scottish Cup. Unfortunately the weather had turned Barrowfield Park into a ‘series of small lakes’, nevertheless a friendly was played which Clyde won 4-1.

So at the end of November the league was still led by Rangers with 15 points from 9 games, with Celtic and Hearts 2 points behind. Dumbarton still held on to 8th place with 6 points from 10 games.


The first two Saturdays in December were written off due to wintry weather, but at the fourth time of asking the outstanding Scottish Cup tie against Clyde was eventually played off on 17 December. However with Dumbarton leading 6-1 twenty minutes into the second half, the home crowd invaded the pitch assaulting the referee and some of the Dumbarton players. The referee was unable to continue and the game suspended, however at a subsequent SFA meeting the tie was awarded to Dumbarton.

It was supposed to be a return to league duty a week later with Rangers visiting Boghead, but again the weather intervened.

And so the final game of 1892 would be the first of Dumbarton’s holiday matches with a fine 5-1 away win against Kirkcaldy.


The holiday success at Kirkcaldy was followed by friendly wins over Dunfermline (5-0) and Hearts (2-0) on 2 and 3 January respectively.

The following Saturday was supposed to see Rangers visit Dumbarton for a Scottish Cup tie but once again a postponement was necessary due to an unplayable pitch, the same was the case a week later.

The long awaited match took place on 21 January and not for the first time this season it was a case of an inspired goalkeeper who kept the Dumbarton forwards at bay and Rangers left with a 1-0 win. A protest from Dumbarton that the referee ended the match 3 minutes early was subsequently withdrawn. On the same day however it was better news for the second XI as the Dumbarton Rangers defeated the Union reserves to secure the county cup.

On 28 January, neighbours Vale of Leven came to Boghead on county cup business, and despite having most of the play Dumbarton had to settle for a 1-1 draw.


Dumbarton answered the doubters in the replay of the semi final of the Dumbartonshire Cup on 4 February at Alexandria by recording a fine 6-2 win.

A week later, and being free of league and cup duties, Dumbarton travelled over the Irish Channel to play Linfield Athletic, the 4-2 defeat suffered may have had something to do with the rough journey over to Ireland as most of the Dumbarton team were seasick and had barely recovered when play commenced.

It was back to league business on 18 February where Dumbarton travelled to Barrowfield and came away with a 2-1 victory.

The chance to bring silverware back to Boghead was not missed as on 25 February Dumbarton easily defeated Levendale 7-1 to lift the county cup for the fifth year in succession.


International trial matches were held on 4 March to consider selection of teams to represent Scotland in the upcoming Home International Championship - John McLeod and John Taylor took part, despite this, the league match against Renton went ahead on the same day. The result of a 1-1 draw was a fair one – bearing in mind that Renton were also short of men for the international trials. Although the absence of McNaught who had travelled south, in addition to the ‘trialists’ and the sending off of Lawrence Bell in the second half did not help Dumbarton’s cause.

With the final of the Scottish Cup being played at Hampden, Dumbarton journeyed to London on 11 March to play the Royal Arsenal. Unfortunately while a 3-1 defeat was suffered, the game had other consequences in that the club’s president Denny resigned due to his pro-amateurism stance.

On 18 March, McLeod, Thomson and John Bell played for Scotland against Wales in an 8-0 victory for the Scots. It was unsurprising then that these men were sorely missed in the league match played against Celtic at Parkhead on the same day – a heavy 5-1 beating being handed out.

The following week Dumbarton made the trip to Edinburgh to play Hibs in a friendly and in an evenly contested match it was the home team who took the spoils 3-2.

So the league at the end of March looked like this; Rangers played 13 with 22 points; St Mirren played 16 with 20 points; Celtic played 12 with 19 points. Dumbarton were stuck in 8th with 9 points from 13 games.


On the first day of April Dumbarton welcomed Hearts to Boghead and achieved a convincing 5-1 win, this would mark John Bell’s last game for Dumbarton and his goal scoring skills would be sadly missed.

So a week later, while the club had a rest weekend, John Bell and John Taylor earned their second 'League' caps in the Scottish League XI vs. the English League match at Parkhead - the game finishing in a 4-3 win for the English, with Taylor scoring one of the goals.

On 15 April, Clyde visited Boghead in the league and left having been defeated 3-1 – the first time Dumbarton had strung two successive victories together all season.

A week later it was Rangers turn to come to Dumbarton – league leaders with an unbeaten record to date but never having won at Boghead – and it was Dumbarton who would triumph in a stunning 3-0 victory.

However the successful run came to an abrupt end on 29 April, when a visit to Abercorn in the penultimate league game ended in a dismal 4-0 defeat.

So at the end of the month Rangers still topped the league with 26 points, with one game left to play, but Celtic were only 3 points behind with 3 games in hand. Dumbarton maintained 8th place with 15 points.


Tuesday 2 May was an important date for Scottish football as it was on this date that the SFA officially accepted professionalism within the sport - Dumbarton was one of the few dissenting voices.

Following a free week, Dumbarton travelled to Cathkin Park to meet Celtic in the semi final of the Glasgow Charity Cup, and a close encounter finished in a 0-0 draw. Four days later at the same venue however it was Celtic that prevailed by 3-1.

And so on 20 May, the last league game of the season took place at Tontine Park, where Dumbarton defeated Renton handsomely by 4-0.

The result meant that Dumbarton leap-frogged Renton into 7th place in the league, and thereby avoided the dreaded reselection process – and it was Celtic who claimed their first ever championship, pipping Rangers by a single point.


At the club’s AGM a motion to adopt professionalism for the following season was passed.



All results are written with Dumbarton's score first.

Scottish League[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
20 August 1892 St Mirren H 1-2 Gillan
3 September 1892 Rangers A 2-3 Hartley;Thomson,W 6,000
10 September 1892 Leith Athletic H 2-1 Bell,J(2) 1,500
24 September 1892 Third Lanark H 1-2 Hartley 1,500
1 October 1892 St Mirren A 2-3 Bell,J;Taylor
8 October 1892 Hearts A 3-1 Hartley(2);Bell,L 3,500
15 October 1892 Celtic H 0-3 3,000
22 October 1892 Abercorn H 5-1 Bell,J(2);Bell,L;McNaught;Hartley
5 November 1892 Third Lanark A 0-3 1,500
19 November 1892 Leith Athletic A 0-3 4,000
18 February 1893 Clyde A 2-1 Bell,L(2) 2,000
4 March 1893 Renton H 1-1 Bell,L
18 March 1893 Celtic A 1-5 Johnstone 8,000
1 April 1893 Hearts H 5-1 OG;Bell,J(2);Bell,L(2) 1,500
15 April 1893 Clyde H 3-1 Bell,L;Keir;Taylor 1,500
22 April 1893 Rangers H 3-0 Johnstone;Bell,L;Taylor
29 April 1893 Abercorn A 0-4
20 May 1893 Renton A 4-0 Campbell;Johnstone(2);Mair

Scottish Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
17 December 1892 R1 Clyde A 6-1 McNaught(2);Bell, J(2);Bell,L(2) 1,500
21 January 1893 R2 Rangers H 0-1 4,000

Dumbartonshire Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
28 January 1893 SF Vale of Leven H 1-1 Taylor
4 February 1893 SFr Vale of Leven A 6-2 Taylor(3);Bell,J;Bell,L;unknown 1,500
25 February 1893 F Levendale A 7-1 Bell,L(2);McNaught;Taylor;unknown(3) 2,000

Glasgow Charity Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
13 May 1893 SF Celtic A 0-0 5,000
17 May 1893 SFr Celtic A 1-3 unknown 6,000

Other Matches[edit]

Date Opponent Venue Result Scorers Attendance
27 June 1892 Port Glasgow Athletic A 7-2 Taylor;unknown(6)
9 July 1892 Rangers A 1-4 unknown
13 August 1892 5th KRV A 3-2 unknown
27 August 1892 Ayr A 1-1 unknown
17 September 1892 Renton A 2-0 Miller;Smith 3,000
29 October 1892 Renton H 2-1 Hartley;Thomson
26 November 1892 Clyde A 1-4 Taylor
31 December 1892 Kirkcaldy A 5-1 Bell(2);Campbell;Ferrier;unknown
2 January 1893 Dunfermline A 5-0 unknown
3 January 1893 Hearts A 2-0 OG(2) 7,000
11 February 1893 Linfield A 2-4 Saunders;Gillan 3,500
11 March 1893 EnglandArsenal A 1-3 Saunders 6,000
25 March 1893 Hibernian A 2-3 Bell;Campbell 3,000
29 May 1893 Renton H 1-0 Campbell

Player statistics[edit]


No. Pos Nat Player Total Scottish League Scottish Cup
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK Scotland John Barr 2 0 2 0 0 0
GK Scotland John McLeod 18 0 16 0 2 0
DF Scotland Tom McMillan 18 0 16 0 2 0
DF Scotland Alf Smith 19 0 17 0 2 0
MF Scotland Carrick 1 0 1 0 0 0
MF Scotland John Gillan 7 1 5 1 2 0
MF Scotland Leitch Keir 15 1 14 1 1 0
MF Scotland Alex McDonald 5 0 5 0 0 0
MF Scotland Alex Miller 10 0 9 0 1 0
MF Scotland Billy Nash 5 0 5 0 0 0
MF Scotland Nelson 1 0 1 0 0 0
MF Scotland J Orr 1 0 1 0 0 0
MF Scotland Daniel Thomson 9 0 9 0 0 0
FW Scotland John Bell 15 9 13 7 2 2
FW Scotland Lawrence Bell 13 11 11 9 2 2
FW Scotland William Campbell 4 1 4 1 0 0
FW Scotland Chisholm 1 0 1 0 0 0
FW Scotland Bob Ferrier 7 0 5 0 2 0
FW Scotland Abe Hartley 8 5 8 5 0 0
FW Scotland Robert Johnstone 6 4 6 4 0 0
FW Scotland Hugh Mair 2 1 2 1 0 0
FW Scotland James McNaught 13 3 11 1 2 2
FW Scotland Billy Robertson 2 0 2 0 0 0
FW Scotland Albert Saunderson 8 0 8 0 0 0
FW Scotland A Smith 3 0 3 0 0 0
FW Scotland John Taylor 14 3 12 3 2 0
FW Scotland William Thomson 11 1 9 1 2 0
FW Scotland Wilson 2 0 2 0 0 0

Reserve Team[edit]

Scottish Second XI Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result
7 September 1892 R1 Northern A 5-1
1 October 1892 R2 Battlefield A 5-2
22 October 1892 R3 Clyde A 1-2

Dumbartonshire Second XI Cup[edit]

Date Rd Opponent Venue Result
5 November 1892 R1 Clydebank H 4-1
26 November 1892 SF Vale of Leven H 8-2
21 January 1893 F Dumbarton Union A 8-3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McAllister, Jim (2002). The Sons of the Rock - The Official History of Dumbarton Football Club. Dumbarton: J&J Robertson Printers.

External links[edit]