The death of Nicol Smith

January 6, 1905
Readers of the “News” will not be altogether unprepared for the sad announcement that Nicol Smith, Glasgow Rangers’ famous right back, has passed to the majority. We reported the other day that his condition was grave, and yesterday “Nick,” as he was familiarly called in football circles, succumbed in Kilmarnock Hospital, whither he had been removed suffering from an attack of enteric fever.

His death is almost tragical, for only last week his wife died of the same malady, and as recently as Wednesday the benefit match in honour of this popular player was played between Rangers and Queens Park. Fortunately the five little ones will not be left unprovided for, as Nicol was of a provident disposition and saved when many of his contemporaries spent. One of his children died last month. It is understood the “benefit” will amount to about £250.

Born at Darvel on Christmas Day, 1873, the village in which he resided all his life, Nicol Smith was just 31 years of age. He joined Rangers from the junior club Vale of Irvine in 1893, and the same year, so brilliant a young player was he, Smith represented his country against Ireland, when at Belfast Scotland won by 4 goals to 1.

First match for Rangers.
Nick’s first match for Rangers was against Hearts at Tynecastle on March 18, 1893. It may be interesting to quote the teams on that occasion as showing how many of these great players are engaged at the game today: –

Rangers: David Haddow, Nicol Smith, Jock Drummond, Robert Marshall, Scott, David Mitchell, Dick, Hugh McCreadie, Neil Kerr, John McPherson, James Steel (Linthouse).
Hearts: Hamilton, Jimmy Adams, George Goodfellow, Isaac Begbie, George Hogg, John Waterson, David Ellis, David Ross, John Walker (now of Rangers), George Scott, David Baird.

A great partnership.
Of all the great players Smith has played alongside of none is greater than Jock Drummond, now of Falkirk F.C., and he more than anyone else will receive the intimation of his erstwhile comrade’s death with deep regret. In club matches and international the pair performed nobly, and together for full ten years is a feat unparalleled in the history of football.

Honours for Rangers.
Of the honours Smith and Drummond have seen Rangers win are: – Scottish Cup, three times; Glasgow Cup, seven times; Glasgow Charity Cup, four times; the Scottish League championship, four years in succession; and Glasgow Exhibition Cup in 1901.

Last season Smith played in forty matches for Rangers. He had four caps against each of the nations for the Association, and for the League, six against England, and three against Ireland. His first cap against England was in 1897 at the Crystal Palace. Smith has played many fine games in Dundee, and he was a favourite wherever he went.
(Source: Dundee Courier: January 7, 1905)

Nicol Smith (Bexhill-on-Sea Observer: January 19, 1901).


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