Early goalkeeping star

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matt_dickieA RHU man, Matthew Dickie, was a Rangers and Scotland international goalkeeper in the early days of the game.

Born in the village on August 19 1873, he opened and ran for many years a successful tobacconist shop, with a much-used billiards saloon upstairs, in Sinclair Street, Helensburgh. He died on December 30 1959 at the age of 86.

Matt is described as “a fine goalkeeper who was an important element in the successful Rangers side of the turn of the century”.

He played his early football with teams in Helensburgh, then joined Renton, at that time a fading force although they did appear in the Scottish Cup final of 1895.

That summer he joined Rangers, and made his debut against St Mirren in a 5-1 home win at Ibrox on August 15 1896. He played 126 league matches from a possible 132 in an amazing spell during his time at the club. He went on to make 175 first class appearances in total.

He was on the winning side in the Scottish Cup teams of 1897, 1898 and 1903. His team also won the Scottish League in consecutive seasons in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1902, and five Glasgow Cups during that period.

He played three times for Scotland, all at home — in a 5-1 win over Northern Ireland on March 27 1897, a 9-1 win over Northern Ireland on March 25 1899, and a 5-2 win over Wales on February 3 1900.

His final club was Clyde, whom he joined in 1904.

After his playing days Matt (seated extreme right in this 1925 team picture) returned to Helensburgh Football Club, founded in 1886, who played at Ardencaple Park — roughly where the current Helensburgh Rugby Club 1st XV pitch is — to help to run the club.

By 1921 the club was a member of the Scottish Football Association and in 1922 they were runners-up in the Dunbartonshire Charity Cup. On August 2 1923 at a meeting of the Scottish Football League Management Committee in Glasgow, Helensburgh agreed to come into the third division.

helensburgh-fc-wDuring the three years they were in the league they would travel the length and breadth of the country playing their games.

They left the League when division three was disbanded near the end of the 1925/26 season, when the club joined the Junior Football Association.

His summer sport was bowling, and he was club champion of Helensburgh Bowling Club in 1921, 1928, 1931 and 1933.

At the opening of the High Green club greens in 1957, he was presented with a silver jack as a token of appreciation and to mark his 60 years of membership.

After his death, two of his sons, R.Wallace Dickie and M.R.Dickie, presented the club with a silver cup for use as a pairs trophy.