The son of a foreman at John Brown’s shipyard, William Stewart Hillis was born in Clydebank during the war years and attended school in his home town before going on to study medicine at Glasgow University. As a junior doctor Hillis used to follow local side Clydebank FC and he was appointed club doctor in 1970, a post he would hold for 27 years. He first worked with the Scottish FA in 1976, taking on responsibility for the Under 21 team. In 1982, during Jock Stein’s tenure as national team manager, Stewart was asked to become the national team doctor.
Hillis specialised in cardiology, enjoying a long and distinguished career at Glasgow’s Western Infirmary and Clydebank’s Golden Jubilee Hospital. He was appointed Professor of Cardiovascular & Exercise Medicine at Glasgow University for his work in the field of sport, exercise and medicine and was a pioneer in the prevention of the causes of sudden death in sport. He was a strong advocate of the creation of the Sports Medicine Centre at Hampden Park. Hillis also advised UEFA and FIFA on medical issues and having first joined UEFA’s medical committee in 1986 he would rise to the position of Vice Chairman. When Stewart stepped down as national team doctor at the age of 66 he could look back on a 40 year association with football which included 228 matches with the national team. He was awarded an OBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List for services to medicine and sport.