1972–73 Dumbarton F.C. season

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1972–1973 season
Manager Jackie Stewart/ Alex Wright
Stadium Boghead Park, Dumbarton
Scottish League Division 1 16th
Scottish Cup Fourth Round
Scottish League Cup Second Round
Top goalscorer League: Roy McCormack (11)
All: Roy McCormack (12)
Highest home attendance 15,000
Lowest home attendance 3,000
Average home league attendance 5,765

Season 1972–73 was Dumbarton's official centenary year and the 89th football season in which Dumbarton competed at a Scottish national level, entering the Scottish Football League for the 67th time, the Scottish Cup for the 78th time and the Scottish League Cup for the 26th time. In addition Dumbarton played in the Drybrough Cup and the Stirlingshire Cup.

Story of the Season[edit]


The first season back in the ‘big time’ for over 50 years began with very few changes to the playing staff.

All the first XI from the Second Division wining side had been retained, including Britain’s top scorer for the past two seasons, Kenny Wilson. There were just three acquisitions made during the close season to bolster the defence– Willie Whigham came from Middlesbrough as back up for Lawrie Williams ‘between the sticks’, Denis Ruddy from neighbours Clydebank and most significantly former Celtic full back John Cushley from Dunfermline Athletic .


The season opened on 29th July with the two top scoring sides in Scotland from the previous season meeting at Parkhead in a Drybrough Cup tie with Celtic just squeezing past Dumbarton 2-1 in front of 28,000 fans.


On 7th August touring English Second Division side Carlisle United visited Boghead and after an entertaining game Dumbarton ran out 3-2 winners.

The League Cup campaign began on 12th August and saw Dumbarton drawn against fellow First Division sides Hearts and Airdrie together with Second Division Berwick Rangers. With the top two qualifying from each section hopes were high that progress could be made and these hopes were enhanced when Hearts were defeated 1-0 at Boghead. Despite losing to Berwick Rangers midweek at Sheilfield by the same score, a 4-1 home win over Airdrie on 19th August put things back on track. The win was not without its issues as new signing John Cushley suffered a broken cheekbone, which would keep him out for a number of weeks, with Roy McCormack joining him on the injury list with a bruised ankle.

Nonetheless two draws were subsequently earned - 2-2 against Berwick at home and 1-1 against Hearts at Tynecastle - and although the final qualifying tie against Airdrie at Broomfield on 30th August was lost 2-1, the 6 points gained was sufficient to go forward to the knock out stages.


2nd September marked Dumbarton’s first league game in the top division for 50 years, but it was not to be a happy return. Partick Thistle at Firhill proved to be a tough team to crack and Dumbarton left having been defeated 4-1.

A week later at Boghead, Falkirk were the visitors and with both sets of forwards goal shy the game ended in a tame 0-0 draw.

On 16th September it was back to Tynecastle to meet Hearts, but this time on league business – and it was the home team who claimed the 2 points in a 1-0 win.

Four days later Dumbarton entertained Dundee in the first leg of the second round in the League cup, and with the return of Cushley, the problems in front of goal over the past few weeks were forgotten as Dumbarton strolled to a 3-0 victory.

The following Saturday Boghead was again the venue, with Aberdeen visiting on league duty. The new confidence appeared to be continuing as Dumbarton led 1-0 at halftime, but a second half fight back meant the Dons left with both points after a 2-1 win.

The bad news continued through the weekend as it was announced that ace striker Kenny Wilson had been transferred to Carlisle United for a club record fee of £40,000. Kenny had signed from St Johnstone on a free transfer in July 1970 and had scored 87 goals in 101 appearances – his departure created a huge void which would be difficult to fill.

And that was only too evident in the following league match on 30th September against Arbroath where the lack of an effective front man meant Dumbarton could only manage a 0-0 draw.

The top of the league at the end of September looked busy with no fewer than four teams with 8 points – Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Dundee United. Dumbarton had yet to win and were in 15th place with 2 points.


The departure of Kenny Wilson ensured that the Dumbarton management team were on the search for a suitable replacement, and an offer was made to Crystal Palace for the former Lisbon Lion Willie Wallace.

While Wallace considered matters, Dumbarton played Dundee in the return leg of the second round in the League Cup. Unfortunately the Sons were unable to hold back a rampant Dundee who chalked up a 4-0 victory, to win the tie 4-3 on aggregate.

On 6th October, Dumbarton made the journey to Muirton Park to play St Johnstone in the league. New boy Tom McAdam stepped up from the reserves and was one of the scorers in a 2-0 win – the first for Dumbarton in the league.

The following week, Dumbarton entertained Dundee at Boghead. Willie Wallace had now joined and played a superb game on the wing, while teenager McAdam notched his second goal in two games in a 2-2 draw.

On 21st October, it was a trip to Broomfield in a league game against Airdrie, and it was ‘3-for-3’ for young McAdam together with a Roy McCormack double that snatched both points in a 3-2 win.

In the final league game of October, Dumbarton attempted to get that elusive first league win at Boghead but a goal three minutes from time rescued a point for Hibernian in a 2-2 draw. Nevertheless Tom McAdam kept his ‘goal a game’ run going.

On 30th October Dumbarton played Alloa in a Stirlingshire Cup tie and won easily 4-2 – with that man McAdam notching his fifth goal in five games.

So the league at the end of October saw Celtic on top with 15 points, one ahead of Dundee United. Dumbarton had climbed to 13th with 8 points.


The first weekend in November saw Dumbarton visit Methil for a league game against East Fife. Unfortunately two uncharacteristic lapses by Lawrie Williams cost the Sons dearly and despite an 87th minute goal from McAdam Dumbarton slipped to a 2-1 defeat.

On 11th November it was a trip to Rugby park to play Kilmarnock, and after an eventless first half the home side looked to have wrapped up the points with two quick fire goals at the start of the second half, but McCormack and then McAdam scored to earn Dumbarton a point.

A week later Dumbarton looked to break their winless league streak at home with a game against Morton, and despite two goals from Tom McAdam (9 goals in 8 games) the Sons had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

The final league game of November was a visit to Ibrox where despite a McCormack equaliser 15 minutes into the second half, Rangers stamina proved too much as the game went on and they eventually won 3-1.

So at the end of the month Celtic still were ahead on 23 points but pulling ahead – 4 points now in front of Hibernian. Dumbarton maintained 13th place with 10 points.


A week after the Rangers game, Dumbarton faced the other half of the Old Firm at Boghead, but this time there was no question as to the outcome as Celtic outclassed the Sons from the start and ran out 6-1 victors.

On 9th December Dumbarton appeared to be suffering from a hang over from the previous week and never got going against Ayr United at Somerset Park, losing out 2-0.

The following week Motherwell visited Boghead and in a game which turned into a pantomime due to the state of the pitch, skills were at a premium and a 0-0 draw was probably a fair result.

On the day before Christmas Eve, it was a visit to Tannadice and at half time Dundee United appeared to be giving their presents early as Dumbarton led by 2 own goals to 1. However they were not to make the same mistakes in the second half and eventually it was the home side who were to win 3-2.

The final league game of 1972, and of Dumbarton’s centenary year, was played out at Boghead against Partick Thistle. A home victory in the league was still proving elusive and at half time it looked like the wait may have to go on as the Jags led 2-1. However 3 goals in the second half brought the year to a satisfactory end with a 4-2 win.

So as 1972 came to an end Celtic still headed the league with 28 points, but their lead over Hibernian had been cut to 2 points. Dumbarton had dropped to 14th place with 13 points, but importantly 6 points clear of relegation.


The first game of 1973 saw the visit of Hearts to Boghead , but there was to be no continuation of home success as Dumbarrton suffered a 2-0 defeat.

The team were to be hit with further bad news as it was announced that manager Jackie Stewart had agreed to take over at rivals St Johnstone. However assistant manager Alex Wright (formerly boss at St Mirren and Dunfermline) was the obvious choice to take over the reins.

On 20th January Dumbarton visited Gayfield to face Arbroath in the league and in a game spoiled by the blustery wing it was the home team who came out on top 2-1.

The final game of January saw the return of Jackie Stewart to Boghead with his new team St Johnstone and despite having most of the play Dumbarton could only manage a 1-1 draw. In fact it could have been worse had St johnstone scored from a soft penalty awarded 16 minutes from time.

So as January came to a close Rangers had taken over at the top with 35 points, 3 points ahead of Celtic but with 3 more games played. Dumbarton had now slipped to 16th with 14 points - perilously close to the relegation places just 2 ahead of Kilmarnock.


The first game of February was a Scottish Cup third round tie against Cowdenbeath at Boghead. A 4-1 victory was recorded but it was not as comfortable as it looked as at 2-1 Cowdenbeath were still in the game until the 3rd and 4th goals were scored in the final 6 minutes.

A midweek league tie was next on 6th February against Falkirk at Brockville, and in a game where defences were on top it was Falkirk who claimed a 2-0 victory.

On 10th February Dundee was the destination on league business, and in a game which looked destined to finish 0-0 Dundee scored twice in 2 minutes with just 10 minutes left. Davie Wilson’s 86th minute counter was not enough to save a point.

With relegation worries prominent, Dumbarton made a double signing on 15th February, with Ross Mathie coming from Kilmarnock and Brian Heron from Motherwell for an estimated total fee of £25,000.

These new signings had their first chance to show their skills in a midweek tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on 20th February but it was Aberdeen who ran out easy 6-0 winners. Relegation was fast becoming a reality.

It was Scottish Cup fourth round business the following weekend with the visit of Partick Thistle to Boghead. Despite the gift of an own goal in the first minute, Dumbarton had to rely on an 81st minute goal from Charlie Gallagher to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Four days later the replay took place at Firhill and it was the home team who eased into the next round with a 3-1 win.

The league at the end of February still saw Rangers on top with 39 points, with Celtic just 1 behind with a game in hand, while Dumbarton remained in 16th but only 1 point in front of Kilmarnock.


As Alex Wright officially took over the manager’s position, next up on 3rd March was Hibernian at Easter Road in the league and the home team made no mistake handing out a 5-0 thrashing.

The midweek game that followed took on great significance as it was against fellow strugglers Airdrie. A win would take Dumbarton out of the relegation places above Kilmarnock. However the home frailties that had plagued most of the season returned with Airdrie leaving with both points after a 5-3 victory.

There was a further chance to ease relegation worries with a game against East Fife on 10th March, but despite having all the play and a magnificent performance from the Fifers goalkeeper, just a 0-0 draw was achieved.

The next game saw Kilmarnock visit Dumbarton with anything but a win almost closing the door on any chances of survival – but with new signings Mathie and Heron scoring two goals each, Dumbarton produced a superb performance to leapfrog Kilmarnock out of the relegation spots.

On 20th March the league concerns were put to one side as Dumbarton gave a number of the second string players a chance against a strong Falkirk side in the semi final of the Stirlingshire Cup, eventually coming out on top 2-1 – a young schoolboy signing John Bourke scoring one of the goals.

Four days later Dumbarton were at Cappielow to play Morton in the league and with a brave second half comeback managed to secure a vital point in a 1-1 draw.

The final game of March on the final day of the month brought Rangers to Boghaed, who were involved in their own tussle at the top of the league against Celtic. Three goals in the first 22 minutes were enough to see Rangers win the tie 2-1 – but with the effort put in during the second half Dumbarton deserved better.

As the league reached its final games Rangers unbeaten run since December saw them on 49 points, now 2 ahead of Celtic with a game more played. Dumbarton remained in 16th place with 18 points, now ahead of Kilmarnock on just goal difference.


The first game of April was played against Ayr United on 14th April at Boghead. A Roy McCormack strike in the 13th minute was looking good enough to take both points but tragically a harmless looking chip from Ayr substitute Campbell slipped through Willie Whigham’s fingers and Dumbarton had to settle for a point.

The following midweek involved a visit to Celtic Park and the champions elect were in no mood to take matters easy – brushing Dumbarton aside easily 5-0.

The penultimate league game on 21st April was against Motherwell at Fir Park and Dumbarton knew that by trailing Kilmarnock by 2 points, something had to be taken from the game. A battling performance resulted in a 2-0 win and kept alive their First Division hopes.

Another midweek game took place on two days later with a game at Boghead against East Stirling in the Stirlingshire Cup final. Tom McAdam was the hero with four goals in a 6-0 rout.

So it was that Dumbarton entered into the final league match on 28th April at Boghead against Dundee United knowing that they had to better any result gained by Kilmarnock. At half time things looked bleak as while Dumbarton led 2-1, Kilmarnock were beating Falkirk 2-0. However a further two second half goals giving Dumbarton a superb 4-1 win was enough to push Kilmarnock into relegation as they could only manage a 2-2 draw.

At the other end of the table, Celtic won their eighth title in a row, pipping Rangers by a single point.

During the season Johnny Graham made his 200th appearance for Dumbarton (on 4th October against Dundee) In addition no fewer than 5 players made their ‘century’ of appearances in a Dumbarton shirt, as follows:

Laurie Williams v Hearts on 26th August.

Kenny Wilson v Dundee on 20th September.

Peter Coleman v Arbroath on 30th September.

Allan McKay v Arbroath on 20th January.

Jack Bolton v St Johnstone on 27 January.

Results & fixtures[edit]

  Win   Draw   Loss

Scottish First Division[edit]

Scottish Cup[edit]

Scottish League Cup[edit]

Drybrough Cup[edit]

Stirlingshire Cup[edit]


Player statistics[edit]


No. Pos Nat Player Total First Division Scottish Cup League Cup Drybrough Cup
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
GK Scotland Bruce Livingstone 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
GK Scotland Willie Whigham 8 0 6 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
GK Scotland Laurie Williams 36 0 26 0 3 0 7 0 0 0
DF Scotland Colin McAdam 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
DF Scotland Allan McKay 15 1 11 0 3 1 1 0 0 0
DF Scotland Billy Wilkinson 42 0 30 0 3 0 8 0 1 0
MF Scotland Jack Bolton 37 0 27 0 1 0 8 0 1 0
MF Scotland John Cushley 37 0 28 0 3 0 5 0 1 0
MF Scotland Johnny Graham 45 3 33 1 3 1 8 1 1 0
MF Scotland Kenny Jenkins 34 1 23 0 2 0 8 1 1 0
MF Scotland Gordon Menzies 33 0 28+1 0 0 0 3 0 0+1 0
MF Scotland Denis Ruddy 3 0 0+1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
FW Scotland Peter Coleman 35 0 21+4 0 2+1 0 6 0 1 0
FW Scotland Iain Fearn 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0
FW Scotland Charlie Gallagher 16 6 6 1 3 2 5+1 3 1 0
FW Scotland Brian Heron 10 2 9+1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
FW Scotland Ronnie Kidd 8 3 3+2 1 0 0 2+1 2 0 0
FW Scotland Ross Mathie 11 6 10+1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
FW Scotland Tom McAdam 20 11 14+2 10 2+1 1 0+1 0 0 0
FW Scotland Roy McCormack 41 12 32 11 2 0 6 1 1 0
FW Scotland John Paterson 4 0 0+3 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
FW Scotland Willie Wallace 29 7 24+2 6 3 1 0 0 0 0
FW Scotland Davie Wilson 46 3 31+3 2 3 0 8 1 1 0
FW Scotland Kenny Wilson 12 4 4 0 0 0 7 3 1 1


Amongst those players joining and leaving the club were the following:[2]

Reserve Team[edit]

Dumbarton competed in the Scottish Reserve League, and with 9 wins and 10 draws from 34 matches, finished 12th of 18.

For the first time in a decade, Dumbarton also entered the Scottish Second XI Cup, and reached the third round before losing out to Dundee by the only goal.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McAllister, Jim (2002). The Sons of the Rock - The Official History of Dumbarton Football Club. Dumbarton: J&J Robertson Printers.
  2. ^ Litster, John. Record of Post-War Scottish League Players. Norwich: PM Publications.

External links[edit]