That famous picture of the 1957 Falkirk cup-winning side featured Jimmy McIntosh, who died on Sunday, October 2 at Strathcarron Hospice.
Only three from that team photo now remain, but it was good that Jimmy got to see his beloved Bairns play in three other Finals, although never lifting the famous old trophy again. He was a great servant to Falkirk and was a one-club man.
As a boy, he had seen Falkirk play in his hometown Forres and jumped at the chance to join them. One of his boyhood idols in Forres, Kenny Dawson, had signed for Falkirk in the immediate pre-war years.
Bob Shankly, himself a rugged defender, admired the tenacity and determination of the young Highlander and gave him a first team debut against Celtic at Brockville on September 10 th 1955. It was a fiery affair and Jimmy had an outstanding game at left-half. The reporter at the game for the Glasgow Herald said, “McIntosh, though he was near to exhaustion at the end, was another outstanding player.”
That could have been said of most of his 200 odd appearances for the club. He served an apprenticeship as a plumber with a Grangemouth firm, but he soon established himself as a regular in the Bairns side.He was a versatile player ,equally adept at full-back, inside forward or half-back, and his versatility and consistency soon attracted the attention of the Scotland selectors. Falkirk seemed to have an abundance of good youngsters at the time and Alex Parker, Ian Rae, Eddie O’Hara, Bert Slater and Jimmy McIntosh were all honoured at Under-23 level. Jimmy played three times for the national under-23 side, usually alongside his great friend Alex Parker and the pair were also selected by the British Army side during their period of National Service. Jimmy served with the Scots Greys and quickly became a fixture in regimental teams.
One team picture of the Army side shows just what company Jimmy played in. Along with the young Falkirk players there were some very well-known faces- Bobby Charlton, Gerry Hitchens and Cliff Jones among others.
Jimmy loved sharing these great stories of his Army days, when he spent more time on the football pitch than he ever did on the parade ground. With the Army side,he played against such famous opponents as Just Fontaine of France as well as Eusebio of Portugal.
His life-long friend was the great Alex Parker, and the pair shared many adventures for Falkirk, Scotland and the British Army. Parker was without doubt “the best backie I ever saw”as Jimmy often said.
Few opponents got the better of him and he faced some illustrious wingers in his day. He recalled a game against the legendary Stanley Matthews in a friendly match at Brockville. “Ian Rae and I manouevered him into the corner, and I went in for the ball. He was a fair age by then, but he just dropped his shoulder, darted off and he left the pair of us flat on our backsides!”
As Scotland prepared for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, Jimmy was very much in the frame for a place in the squad, and he played in a World Cup Trial Match at Easter Road on February 3, 1958.
Tragedy befell him however when he suffered a serious knee injury which saw him hospitalised for over a month, and he missed out on the opportunity of a life-time. There was a real possibility of a big money move to Nottingham Forest before the injury.
He stayed loyal to Falkirk, even after the Reggie Smith era had gone and the club’s fortunes declined.
When his career was coming to an end, he still turned out regularly, often travelling down from Forres where he had started a successful business venture at The Eagle public house. He was captain of the side and his experience brought on promising youngsters like Les Thomson, Buck McCarry and Jim Pierson.
His final appearance in a navy blue jersey was at Fir Park on March 16 th 1963 when Falkirk lost 4-1. He then became player-manager of Forres Mechanics and he was a popular figure in the town. Jimmy led the Can-Cans to Scottish Qualifying Cup success, for the first time in their history and that was some night in the town. His Forres side gave Dundee a game in an epic Scottish Cup tie which finished in a 6-3 defeat, but Jimmy led by example- as always.
When he finished playing, he became a successful businessman managing The Eagle in Forres, before returning to the Falkirk area. Here he showed great business acumen with the purchase and development of various popular establishments including The Carronbridge Inn( known locally as The Soo Hoose), The Ellwyn,The Three Kings, The Whiteside,The Dutch Inn and The Hollybank.
Wherever he went, his football career was often the subject of discussion with regulars ,and his final purchase, The Claremont in Polmont, contained a selection of pictures from a great football career. He loved talking about the Good Old Days, especially with his former team mate and life-long friend Alex Duchart. and what days they were. Jimmy was a great player in his day and a proud husband, father and grandfather.
He is survived by his wife Annette, his sons David, Gregor and Scott, his sister Margaret and his brother Richard.