The Burgh Cup
© Rutherglen Heritage Society
1. A brief history of the cup and some personal recollections by David Jackson, Burgh Cup winner, 1958
The Burgh Cup, or Givens Cup as it was originally known, was ﬁrst played for by football teams from the elementary or primary schools of Rutherglen in 1910. The trophy was donated by the Givens family to Rutherglen Glencairn FC, for them to run the competition annually on their home ground. The ﬁrst winners were St Columbkille's who defeated Farie Street school 2-1 at Southcroft Park.
I ﬁrst attended a Burgh Cup final as a nine year old schoolboy in 1955 and it instantly became the ﬁrst ambition of my life to play for my school football team and win the Burgh Cup. Three years later, on the night of Thursday, 5 June 1958, I played at inside-left for St. Columbkille's when we defeated St Mark's by 3-2, in a hard fought ﬁnal at Southcroft Park. On our way to the ﬁnal, we defeated teams from Bankhead, Burgh, Spittal and Rutherglen Academy. St Mark's eliminated Eastﬁeld, Macdonald and Calderwood schools.
Above, the Burgh Cup on display in Rutherglen Library, 2021. The finial depicting a footballer is not original. The wooden base, also a later addition, is inscribed: 'Base Presented by B. Greenan 1982'.
Image credit: Ian Young,
The highest ever score in a Burgh Cup final was when Spittal School defeated Burgh by 9-0 in 1985.
The last ever Burgh Cup final took place on 15th. May 1991 when Loch School overran St Mark's by 5-0 at Southcroft Park, Rutherglen.
John Francis Givens was born in Airdrie in 1850 and came to Rutherglen in 1873. He was a spirit merchant by profession and owned the Glencairn Bar at No.7 Main Street. When it fell under a demolition act in 1923, the family opened another public house at No. 26 Main Street and called it by the same name.
Mr. Givens was admitted as a burgess of Rutherglen in 1886-87. He became a Burgh Councillor, holding the position of Dean of Guild and later Treasurer. He was also a member of the Rutherglen Burgh School Board. He had a keen interest in football, and in the late 1890s, was made Treasurer of Glencairn FC, later becoming Honorary President of the club. He died in 1904 aged only 54.
Right, John Francis Givens whose family donated the Burgh Cup in 1910.
Image courtesy of Simone Jackson.
In 1934, Glencairn FC handed over the trophy to the headmasters of the schools in the town to run the competition themselves. This proved unsuccessful, so in 1943, the Burgh Council took over the trophy and it was then it became known as the Burgh Cup.
Above, St. Columbkille's Burgh Cup winning team, 1958. David Jackson is in the front row, second from the left.
Image courtesy of Simone Jackson.
We carried the Cup up Glasgow Road, and up Main Street. The Cup was filled with lemonade, and we as kids were over the moon to pass it round. And our teacher bought us each a large ice cream cone!
The Early Winners
Left, detail from the Burgh Cup showing the names of the winning teams in the early years of the competition.
1910 St. Columbkille's
1919 Farie Street
2. More Burgh Cup Memories
Following David Jackson's brief history of the Burgh Cup and his recollections of winning it, here are some Burgh Cup memories from others who played in the competition.
Macdonald School, 1947
My name is Mairi Maxwell[Lindsay] I live in Vancouver British Columbia.
My husband Jim Maxwell and I were both born in Rutherglen. We emigrated to Canada in 1967.
The attached photo is the 1947 football team who represented Macdonald School at the Burgh Cup finals where they were defeated 2-1 by Fairie St. School. Jim has not yet recovered from giving a hand ball penalty which cost Macdonald the cup. Jim remembers the tournament referee for years was a man who lived in the Model House in King Street.
Above, the 1947 Macdonald School Burgh Cup team
Back row: Andy Kerr, Eddie Wiggins, Jim Maxwell, Ian Findlay, Davie Mcmurran, Davie Donald
Front Row: Ian Sheridan, Joe Harvey, Willie Wilson, Harry Campbell, Robert Anderson.
My husband Jim, a Clyde supporter, enjoyed the article about Archie Robertson.[see Famous Ruglonians section] Jim, aged about 13 was at Hampden Park in the pouring rain when Archie scored the winning goal from a corner kick.
Bankhead Primary School: 1951, 1952
‘Banky’ had many good footballers in the early 50s and won the Burgh Cup in 1951 and 1952. As a 9 year old in 1951 I was selected by Mr Tait, senior teacher and team coach, as second reserve but did not play in any of the matches. Key players in that team included Jim Mochrie, Alan Watt and Ian McDonald.
All matches were played at Southcroft Park (with nets!). I recall the medals being presented to the winning team and runners up some days later at what seemed like a very splendid occasion at Shawfield Stadium.
In the 1952 ‘tourney’, in which I played outside right, we defeated St Columbkille’s 3-2 in the first round and Macdonald 6-3 in the second.
The Reformer covered the latter match in their next edition including the following team photo and report:
Above, extract from the Rutherglen Reformer match report.
Above, the 1952 Bankhead Primary School Burgh Cup winning team
Back row: Henry Corstorphine, Graham Aitken, Allan Morris, Billy Reid, Billy Logan
Andy McNicol, Michael Ormiston, Gordon Evans.
Front Row: George Young, Walter Hamilton, Ian McDonald (Capt.) Bobby Mills, Headley Smith
The final, against Burgh, was a close affair in the first half. I think the score ended 3-0 in our favour, Walter Hamilton being the hero of the day with two goals direct from free kicks in the second half. (You couldn’t bend your shots in those days but on the other hand the goalies were wee).
After the match the team did a jubilant tour of Bankhead in a suitably large vehicle, provided, I think, by Mr Nairn, of Nairn’s Oatcakes, who was a governor of the school.
My pal and cup winning team mate Gordon Evans has reminded me that on this occasion the medals were presented at the Town Hall, and that Archie Robertson and Tommy Ring of Clyde FC were present – both very good players, soon to be Scottish internationalists.
(As an aside, I remember them turning up one Saturday morning at the Odeon Club in the Main Street as an added attraction for us youngsters, so I guess they had an ambassadorial role for Clyde). Gordon got their autographs that evening on the back of his medal box.
Left, Gordon Evans' Burgh Cup winners medal box bearing the autographs of Archie Robertson and Tommy Ring of Clyde FC.
The Medals themselves were of excellent hallmarked quality and supplied by the jeweller Allan M Tod of 13 Stonelaw Road.
Right, Front and back of George Young's 1952 Burgh Cup winners medal,
(Another aside: If my memory is correct Mr. Tod was a manager in the Rutherglen Repertory Company. Along with some other lads from the Academy I helped with the lighting at the Christmas 1958 Cinderella pantomime and he was very involved. I was a poor stand in on the lights but the young ladies of the chorus were delightful. Sadly, I believe that show turned out to be the last one ever performed by the original Rutherglen Repertory Company).
The team had a little social gathering a week or so later at the house of one of the lads and proudly displayed the cup. [photo left]. A couple of us didn’t get the message to wear our strip! When the Burgh Cup came round in 1953, half our team was at a school camp in West Linton, where we sat our Qualifying Exam (‘The Qualy’) and only half were available to play in the tournament. Burgh school was in exactly the same situation. Despite having some very good players in the cup team, including John Gaffney and George Dunn, our lads weren’t able to secure the treble for Bankhead.
Nevertheless, these were great times, made possible by the Burgh Council and numerous enthusiastic volunteers. We were all Football Mad.
GEORGE YOUNG January 2021
Spittal Primary, 1966
I was in the Spittal Primary team in 1966. We defeated Bankhead Primary 3-1 in the final. Spittal had a great team.
St. Mark's Primary, 1967
I have attached two photos of the St.Mark's school team that won the Burgh Cup in 1967. In the photo headed "Burgh Cup stars of 67", I am second from left in the back row. In the photo headed " Double Win for St.Mark's", I am in the back row third from the left.
The cup/medals were presented by Bobby Murdoch of Celtic. Please note the date on the newspaper. He had played in the Celtic team that won the European Cup about six weeks earlier. He was the best player on the pitch and one of the best players in Europe at that time. He was always generous with his time in supporting local teams and schools.
Winning the Burgh Cup kept up the record of having a cup displayed in the school every year since it opened.
I don't remember anything about the Burgh Cup final. But I do remember playing in a game on the black ash/gravel pitches at Overtoun Park, and I was knocked out twice in the same game. The first was a clash of heads with an opposition player (I think it was against Burnside Primary). Once I recovered, I came back on the pitch and was knocked out almost immediately when the ball hit me full force in the face. I went out like a light. Next thing I remember is my face in a sink of cold water the showers in the Overtoun Pavilion. The game was over for me!
Right, Plaque inscribed: 'Rutherglen Schools. Football. R. Harvey Capt. 1967'. These were awarded to the winning team that year.
St. Anthony's Primary, 1970
Some photographs from St Anthony’s Burgh Cup win against St. Mark's in 1970.
All the teams are St Anthony’s. The red and white was the team the year before we won the cup. We were given new red and amber strips for the final! The score in the final was 4-1 after a replay!
St. Collumbkille's Primary, 1990
The Burgh Cup has always had a special place in the history of Rutherglen. You could call it the holy grail for a young Ruglonian with a passion for football.
The cup has even been quoted by the famous Ruglonian Lisbon Lion European cup winner Bobby Murdoch as one of his “proudest achievements in football”.
It is widely known in Rutherglen that the town has produced some the best professional footballers in Scotland over the years. If you were one of the lucky ones who managed to win the Burgh cup, it meant you were now amongst the greatest footballers the town had to offer as well as having the bragging rights with your friends.
Left, captain Paul Jackson accepting the Burgh Cup from Mr. Reid, Treasurer, Rutherglen Glencairn FC, on behalf of the victorious 1990 St. Columbkille's Primary team,
Most young Ruglonian footballers would dream about playing for the school football team and winning the cup, my family were no different. My dad Tony and cousins Ronnie and Davy [David Jackson, see above] all competed for the cup in the 1950s and 60s with St Columbkille's Primary School. Davy won the cup in 1958, Ronnie and my dad were runners up in 1959 and then Ronnie went on to win the cup as captain in 1960.
Fast forward 30 years and as my family did before me, it was now my time to compete for the elusive piece of silverware. When I was wee boy, my dad would tell me all sorts of great football stories, but there was always something appealing about the Burgh Cup ones. I’m not sure if this feeling came from the father-and-son bond, and the fact that I could follow his footsteps, or maybe it was just the thought of being one of the best footballers in Rutherglen.
The story of my dad’s Burgh Cup run in 1959 with St Columbkille's Primary, ended with them as runners up, being beaten on the day by St Mark's Primary. Although my dad was happy with his achievement of reaching the final, he was also disappointed they weren’t successful and would often look back wondering what could have been had things turned out differently.
This regret gave us both inspiration and strength to make sure history did not repeat itself in 1990. His story gave me encouragement and the will to win to ensure this time round it would be a winner’s medal.
That year my dad was there with me week in week out at training and then at the sidelines, giving his full support which made me even more determined to win the cup for him.
Above, front and reverse of the Burgh Cup Runners Up medal won by Paul's father Tony in 1959, and of Paul's 1990 Burgh Cup winners medal.
The training and hard work was rewarded. I was made captain of the team alongside another talented young footballer, Christopher Cullen. We would share the team captaincy alternating on a game-by-game basis. We played through the early rounds and reached the semi-final against a very strong Bankhead Primary. The game was played at Burnhill just across the road from the house my dad lived in back in 1959. It felt like a home game to me.
The semi-final was one of the hardest I ever played in. It finished 3-3 after extra time and we went on to win on penalties. This was about as nerve racking as it gets for a boy, knowing that a place in the final was at stake. We also played Bankhead Primary in the Landemer Cup around the same period where we were beaten and knocked out.
I remember having a surreal feeling and doubting myself on numerous occasions: “Had we actually made it to the Burgh Cup final?” Of course, it would have been great to make it to both finals and have a chance of winning the double, but we won the game that mattered most, well to me on a personal note anyway.
The 1990 Burgh Cup final between St Anthony's Primary and St Columbkille's Primary took place in the evening of the 15 May 1990 at Southcroft Stadium in Rutherglen. The final was played at the home of Rutherglen Glencairn Juniors FC, “The Glens”, due to the trophy's historic relationship with the team when it was formerly known as the Givens Cup and gifted to The Glens by Mr Givens in 1910.
St Anthony's Primary went into the final as the favourites to win as they had beaten us in the Landemer Cup final the season prior, scoring 5 against us in the process. St Anthony's had some great players and the scene was set for them to become the 1990 winners, so much so they had already begun to plan for their celebrations after the game. My cousin Lindsay was the mascot for the final and I was the captain. We both lead the team out on to the pitch. Could this be our time?!
The game kicked off and we went a goal down. Everything was going to plan from a St Anthony's Primary perspective until we equalised. The game was poised on a knife edge.
The goal gave us a much needed lift and as the second half went on, we began to get on top.
Left, Paul Jackson holding aloft the Burgh Cup in 1990. Looking on are his St. Columbkille's teammates and some of the St. Anthony's team, runners up that year.
The determination from the underdogs to win the game was now showing. Had St Anthony's Primary underestimated the ability and the talent the St Columbkille's Primary players had to offer? Mid-way through the second half we scored, what a moment we had managed to get ourselves in front with 2-1. After the goal St Anthonys Primary threw everything they had at us, but our defence held out in what seemed like an eternity to the final whistle. We had done it! St Columbkille's Primary had won the Burgh Cup. What a feeling!
The team rejoiced with one another and the supporters, then came together to get ready for the presentation of the cup and medals. As the captain, I had the privilege of leading the team up. There it was, the Burgh Cup. I will never forget what happened next. I had played it out in my mind a thousand times from a young age.
I walked up to Mr Reid, the Rutherglen Glencairn Treasurer, who then presented the cup to me. I proudly kissed it and held it aloft to the cheers from our supporters. This was a special moment with the team, but also a personal one with my dad. He was the proudest man in the world, buzzing with excitement and joy. This was not just any Burgh Cup win, this year there was two Jackson winners!
Above, the victorious St. Columbkille's Primary team, winners of the Burgh Cup, 1990.
I would like to say a big thanks to the team, mascot, my teacher and team coach Mr Murphy and all the staff at St Columbkille's Primary, the parents, carers and supporters who all made the Burgh Cup win possible. Thank You!
In memory of Tony Jackson, Davy Jackson and team manager Benny Greenan.
Paul Jackson, 2021
In presenting Paul with the Burgh Cup in 1990, the penultimate year in which it was contested, Mr. Reid was following in the footsteps of John Francis Givens, who had also been Treasurer of Rutherglen Glencairn FC, and whose family had donated the trophy 80 years before.
We are very grateful to Mairi and Jim Maxwell, George Young, Ian Miller, Robert Harvey, Kenny Walker and Paul Jackson for sharing their Burgh Cup memories and photographs.
Many thanks also to Simone Jackson for letting us use photographs from her father's archive, and to Ian Young for the current photograph of the Burgh Cup.
Thanks to Paul Jackson for his help in putting this feature together.
Associated articles on this website:
Famous Ruglonians including brief biographies of some notable Rutherglen-born footballers
The Jasper Brown Boundary Stones Project which includes further biographical details on John Francis Givens. See the section on 'The Burgesses'
Football Memories Scotland A Scottish Football Museum online resource supporting Alzheimer Scotland in their delivery of the Football Memories League
Rutherglen Reformer article 3rd. December 2008 Tribute to Benny Greenan, 'Custodian of the Burgh Cup'.
© Rutherglen Heritage Society