I recently received a request for information regarding the St Johnstone career of John ( “Jock” ) Lamond who played in the early 1920’s so I’ve put together a bit of a combination of his career coupled with St Johnstone in Season 1921/22.
Following the end of World War 1 in 1918 St Johnstone slowly resumed playing football with a handful of friendly matches in the Spring of 1919. In common with many other teams who had lost men during that bloody conflict, a period of rebuilding was required both on and off the pitch.
The 1919/20 Season had seen the Saints play in the Eastern League which involved teams from Perth, Angus and Fife, and whilst they had been only moderately successful, finishing in mid table, the following Season ( 1920/21 ) the Directors decided to join the more competitive Central League.
In 1921 “Jock” Lamond ( as he is referred to in newspaper reports ) was a centre forward with local junior club Huntingtower and in the Spring of that year he was invited to play a trial match for St Johnstone.
This trial match on 20th April 1921 was in fact a “Benefit” for Johnnie Gilligan, a full back who had given fine service to both Forfar Athletic and Clyde before joining Saints in 1920. Rangers Reserves provided the opposition for the match played on the Recreation Ground, Perth, in front of some 5,000 spectators.
Saints team that Wednesday evening was: Wiltshire, Taylor, McKenzie, McCulloch, Forbes, Tracey, Wylie, McPherson, Lamond, Duff, Cobban.
Cobban and Taylor ( pen ) were the Saints scorers as the visitors won 3 – 2.
A newspaper report of the match states that Lamond had a goal disallowed and was prominent for St Johnstone.
He must have impressed as he made his “proper” debut in the final Central League match of that 1920/21 Season. League Champions, Bo’ness were the visitors to Perth and were trounced 4 – 0 by Saints with Lamond scoring 2 goals. Johnny Hart and Wylie added the others.
Finances were of course an issue in those days, just as much as they are today, and at the start of 1921/22 season reconstruction saw the Central League teams admitted into the Scottish League. The Central League was then “re-branded” as League Division 2 with promotion and relegation being introduced in an attempt to generate more competition and interest.
Saints opened their 1921/22 season with a Friendly encounter against Dundee Hibs ( now Dundee United ) at Tannadice and the young centre forward scored in a 1 – 1 draw. However, despite this promising start to his senior career, when the League campaign commenced the following weekend, he was left out of the team, the Manager/Committee preferring another local player, Jimmy Duff.
Oddly enough when “Jock Lamond” next featured it was in a League fixture against Dundee Hibs, again at Tannadice, where he scored Saints goal in a 3 – 1 defeat. He then dropped back out of the starting line up for the next seven League matches and during his omission Saints struggled to score goals with only 7 goals and 1 win being recorded in this period.
The Club’s Directors were trying hard to rectify the team’s shortcomings with quite a number of players being tried. These included some more senior players such as Stanley lad, Gordon Cowie from Clydebank, Davis from Millwall and Fowler from Rangers as well as Juniors from all over Central Scotland.
One notable signing was the experienced Jock Wyllie from Aberdeen who appears to have been a commanding, inspirational type of old fashioned centre-half.
On 5th November John Lamond returned to the team on the left wing for a match with Arbroath at Gayfield and scored Saints only goal in a 3 – 1 loss.
The fact that a newspaper reporter thought “ Lamond was the mainstay of the St Johnstone attack“ was probably little consolation as defeat meant that Saints were now propping up the League table with only 6 points from their 12 games played.
The following Saturday saw a remarkable transformation when high flying Cowdenbeath visited Perth. A Jock Wyllie penalty was enough to give Saints both points for the first time since September. Interestingly, one of the match reports at the time comments that “ Lamond, at centre forward, was the life of the attack.”
The following week at East End Park, Dunfermline, the Saints came back from a goal down to win 2 – 1. Scorers were Lamond and Wyllie from the penalty spot.
At the end of the match the local fans didn’t seem best pleased with the referee’s decisions and several hundred invaded the pitch to confront the official. Mr Brackenbridge required protection from two of the Dunfermline players, assisted by club officials and the few police officers present. Eventually he succeeded in getting his way into the safety of the grandstand. Undaunted some of the protagonists decided to wait outside the ground for the referee to come out. However, under the cover of darkness, and unknown to the would-be aggressors, the official made his way to town by the railway embankment which ran along the opposite side of the Athletic enclosure.
These successive victories had moved Saints off the bottom of the table.
Next up it was Vale of Leven, away, but despite Lamond scoring yet again, Saints went down by 2 goals to 1.
Some 4,000 fans turned up for the next match at the Recreation Grounds against Forfar Athletic, who were just one point and two places above Saints in the League table.
After “The Loons” had taken an early lead Saints equalised in controversial fashion. Newspaper reports record that Scott, the visiting goalkeeper, had done extremely well to save a fierce close range drive from Bennett, but before he could release the ball, both the winger and Lamond had bundled him towards the goal. This resulted in the ball dropping from his grasp and Lamond swiftly applied the finishing touch. Unfortunately, the goalie suffered a cut head in the incident and had to be taken to Perth Infirmary where he had five stitches inserted into a head wound. Accordingly, Forfar played the whole of the second half with only 10 men. Lamond scored again to ensure that both points stayed at home.
“Jock” continued his good scoring form with two goals in a 3 – 0 win over Armadale followed by a further brace in a 3 – 1 home win over Dundee Hibs meaning that Saints were now slowly climbing up the league table.
Although he failed to score and missed a couple of good chances in a 1 – 1 draw with Lochgelly United on 3 January it seems somewhat harsh that he was then left out of the team while more Juniors and Trialists were being played. In a Scottish Cup Replay with King’s Park he again appeared on the left wing, but it was clear that playing wide was not his best position.
After a further period of almost 2 months out the team he was brought back into the starting eleven in April for a match at Station Park, Forfar but failed to score as Saints went down 1 – 0.
The following week he played in a Friendly against First Division team Falkirk and scored the only goal of the match. His final St Johnstone appearance appearance came two days later in another friendly match against a Junior Select.
Saints finished the season in 13th position in the 20 team league, some seven points ahead of Dundee Hibs who were relegated alongwith Clackmannan on 26 points..
Saints managed to score only 41 goals in their 38 League matches with only Clackmannan scoring fewer (40).
During the course of the Season nearly 50 players were used.
John Lamond ended up as top scorer with an impressive record of 10 goals scored from 14 starts. Next was McEvoy with 5 from 23, Jimmy Duff with 4 from 36 and Jock Wyllie 4 from 31.
I cannot find any trace of where Jock Lamond went following his release at the end of the season.
On the financial side the AGM report shows that St Johnstone incurred a loss of £303 that year. Income was £3,160 and expenditure £3,463.