Our Portrait Gallery: Alex Latta (Dumbarton Athletic)

April 1, 1889
It is not astonishing that the champion county of Scotland should have produced some of the very best players that have adorned the game and won honour for the country and fame for themselves. In the person of the subject of this sketch we have to add another name to the long list of capable players born in the shire.

Alex Latta.

Mr. Alex Latta is a “Son of the Rock,” and has grown up under its shadow. Nursed in such a cradle of the game he has witnessed the prowess of those who have gained for their county a world-wide fame. Early in the eighties he joined his present club, at that time the best junior combination in the town. Solid rather than strong it was with some difficulty, singular to say, that Mr. Latta found a place in the Athletics’ second eleven. Consistent play and determination to succeed made him stay in this secondary position a short one. The committee of his club acknowledged his developing talent, and paid a well-deserved tribute to his budding powers by giving him his place as outsider right in the 1st XI.

Since the season 1885-86 Mr. Latta has played in this position, and has earned for himself the reputation of being not only the best right wing forward in the country, but as his selection to that place in the Scottish International Eleven implies, one of the best in the country. For his own club Mr. Latta has done a power of work. He is one of the men who have contributed to build up its greatness. It is a pity that with his powers at their zenith his club seems to be going back.

It is characteristic of the Selecting Committee that they are slow to recognise young talent, but honours came Mr. Latta’s way earlier than they come to some. His country association, of course, first saw and recognised him, and he played for it against Forfarshire in 1885, against Renfrewshire ’86-87 and Lancashire ’87-88. Last year he was in the running for International honours, but had to rest content with a place in the Welsh team, which he filled most creditably.

This season, with riper judgment, he has figured in the matches of his county against Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Liverpool District, and as if to crown all, has secured his cap against England. Mr. Latta’s inclusion in the Scotch eleven is one of the best selections made by the Seven, and we are confident that whoever fails to prove the wisdom of the committee’s choice, it will not be the Dumbarton Athletics’ representative.

Mr. Latta is powerfully built. He revels in his work, and never shirks his duty. He is one of the “good big ‘uns” in the Scotch team, and under his sheltering care the “good little ‘uns” will get every opportunity to shine. Sturdy and fast on the ball Latta is disposed to run on by himself, but this little failing will, we know, give way to that need for combined play, which must prevail if Scotland is to win. Mr. Latta is captain of his own club, a teetotaler, wearing a 16-inch collar, and a silver watch. Nevertheless, he is of a modest, nay, re-tiring, disposition, beloved by his club-mates, and respected by all who know him.
(Scottish Referee: April 1, 1889)

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