Last player of Newton’s golden generation

Bert Morrison
Bert Morrison

A little bit of the sporting history of this area was lost recently with the death of Bert Morrison, the last surviving member of the Newton Stewart Football Club side that swept the boards in the mid 1950s.

Robert Morrison, known to all as ’Bert’, was the goalkeeper for the side that won the Scottish South Cup, which replaced the South Qualifying Cup, The South of Scotland League and the Southern Counties Challenge Cup - the only South of Scotland league side to win all three major trophies in a single season.

Most of the Newton Stewart players of that era were from Ayrshire or the Glasgow area and Bert himself hailed from Cumnock.

Always an extremely talented goalie, he served with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in India in 1946 and represented the Army in India against the RAF and played for his regiment in a league in India. He also had the honour of represented Scotland versus England at army level.

On his demob, he returned to his roots and played his football locally for Auchinleck Talbot and Kilmarnock Juniors. It was during this period that Bert was noticed by talent scouts for Sheffield Wednesday and, after a successful trial, papers were drawn up to sign him up for the English First Division club. But he had to turn them down as his wife did not want to move owing to her mother being seriously ill.

Bert then played on in the South League for both Nithsdale Wanderers and Girvan before signing for Newton Stewart in 1953. He stayed with the club until the 1957/58 season when, having made new friends and taken a liking to the area, Bert started his own plumbing business in Wigtown and continued his playing career for the county town.

Bert, who died last November, was the last survivor of the 1955-56 team who are widely regarded as the best Newton Stewart FC team in history. The team were Bert Morrison, Jimmy McGrory, Alex Campbell, Charlie McCutcheon, Andy Black, Jimmy Drury, Jimmy Crozier, Jimmy Lindsay, Alex Robertson, Sammy Cowan, Andy McGuffie and trainer George Durham.