McCrae’s Battalion 1914
Team nomination; The 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots was raised by Sir George McCrae a few months after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and was the first of the so-called “Footballer’s” or “Sporting” battalions. During this early period of the war 16 players connected to Heart of Midlothian FC enlisted in the army with many of them joining “McCrae’s Own”. The battalion also received footballers from a number of other clubs including Raith Rovers, Falkirk, Dunfermline Athletic, Hibernian, St Bernards and East Fife. Hundreds of supporters particularly from Hearts and Hibs signed up as did notable players and athletes from other sports.
In France the battalion suffered high casualty rates during the opening days of the first Battle of the Somme in July 1916; the loss of 12 officers and 573 men accounted for more than three quarters of its attacking strength. A memorial cairn, erected in 2004, now sits at Contalmaison, where many members of the battalion lost their lives.
Charlie Nicholas 1961 –
Football Player; Hailed as a teenage wonder, Charlie Nicholas made his debut for Celtic in a Glasgow Cup tie against Queens Park in August 1979. In his first spell at Celtic Nicholas won two League championships and the Scottish League Cup. In season 1982/83 he scored fifty goals in all competitions and was voted Scottish Footballer of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
Charlie joined Arsenal in the summer of 1983 and would make 184 appearances for the North London club scoring 54 goals, including a double when Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-1 in the League Cup Final of 1987. After five years at Highbury, Charlie came back north to join Aberdeen in January 1988. He played 75 times for ‘the Dons’ scoring 30 goals and winning the Scottish League Cup in 1989 and the Scottish Cup in 1990. Having rejoined his boyhood heroes in July 1990 Charlie would win the Scottish Cup once more in 1995 and would make a total of 236 appearances for Celtic scoring 124 goals. Charlie also won 20 international caps for Scotland, scoring five goals for his country and playing at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
Peter Lorimer 1946 –
Football Player; Born in Dundee, Peter Lorimer spent the bulk of his playing career, from 1963 until 1986, with Leeds United although he did have spells with a number of other clubs. Lorimer’s debut for Leeds came when he was only 15 years of age but it would be season 1966/67 before he became a first team regular, making 34 league appearances and scoring 19 goals which made him top scorer at Elland Road. Thereafter Lorimer’s place in the team and the number 7 shirt was assured for the next decade and beyond.
An attacking midfielder with an explosive shot, Lorimer would enjoy a trophy laden time at Elland Road, winning League titles in 1969 and 1974 and the FA Cup in 1972. Lorimer also won the Inter-cities Fairs Cup in 1968 and 1971 and the Football League Cup in 1968. Leeds were finalists in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1973 and finalists in the European Cup in 1975. Lorimer won 21 caps for Scotland, scoring four goals and played at the 1974 World Cup finals in West Germany. In his two spells with Leeds United Lorimer amassed a grand total of 676 appearances, scoring 238 goals.
Bill Brown 1931 – 2004
Football Player; Bill Brown is best known as an outstanding goalkeeper for Dundee, Tottenham Hotspur and Scotland, although he also enjoyed spells towards the end of his career with Northampton Town and Toronto Falcons. Brown joined Dundee from Junior club Carnoustie Panmure in 1949 and spent nearly a decade at Dens Park. During his spell on Tayside, Brown won the Scottish League Cup in 1952 and 1953 and won his first Scotland cap in 1958. A big move to Tottenham Hotspur followed in 1959.
Bill was a member of the ‘Spurs’ team which won the League Championship and FA Cup ‘double’ in season 1960/61. He won another FA Cup winners medal the following season and in 1963 won the European Cup Winners’ Cup as the Londoners became the first English club to win a major European trophy. Bill was capped 28 times by Scotland between 1958 and 1965 and played at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden.
Davie Wilson 1939 –
Football Player; Best remembered as a talented winger with Rangers, Davie Wilson served the Ibrox club with distinction between 1956 and 1967. With Rangers Wilson won four League Championships, five Scottish Cups and two League Cups. He was also a member of the Rangers team that reached the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final in 1961.
Wilson had an eye for goal and once scored six goals for Rangers in a match against Falkirk. In total he played 225 league games for the ‘Gers ‘, scoring 98 goals. Davie, who later played for Dundee United and Dumbarton, was capped 22 times, scoring nine goals for Scotland. His most famous strike for Scotland was arguably the opening goal in a 2-0 win over England at Hampden in 1962. The following year Wilson played in the 2-1 win against England at Wembley, moving to left back after Eric Caldow broke his leg.