St Mirren Hall Of Fame: Davie McCrae

St Mirren Hall Of Fame: Davie McCrae

On 26th January 1924, Saints faced third Division Beith in the first round of the Scottish Cup. In a tight match, Saints eventually emerged 3-2 winners.

However, the story of the day was the performance of the Beith centre forward who scored their second goal. So impressed were the Saints management, that they signed him two days later! His name was Davie McCrae. He was to become the greatest goal-scorer in the club’s history.

Born in Bridge of Weir in 1900, McCrae started his career with Kilmacolm Amateurs, joining Beith in October 1923. He only played in nine competitive matches for the Ayrshire side, including that cup match at Love Street, but scored eight goals.

He made his Saints’ debut against Hibernian on 2nd April 1924. His first goal came three days later in a 2-1 defeat to Partick Thistle. The following week he took his first steps along the way to becoming a Saints’ legend when he scored in a 1-0 defeat of Celtic at Parkhead.

He scored another goal against Ayr United the following week, taking his total to three goals in his first five games.

McCrae’s second season saw him score 33 times in 40 games, quickly establishing himself as the club’s main striker. Highlight of the season was scoring all four in a 4-1 win over Motherwell on 22nd November.

At the start of season 1925/26, Davie was in great form, scoring 13 times in the opening 12 matches, including ten consecutive games between 29th August and 24th October. He went on to score 24 league goals.

On 10th April 1926, he lined up at Hampden Park as Saints faced Celtic in the final of the Scottish Cup. It took just three minutes for Davie to score the opening goal. Jimmy Howieson added a second later in the game as Saints won the Cup for the first time in their history.

After the match, each player was presented with a bottle of whisky. Davie declared that he would not open his until the cup returned to Paisley. It was to be a long wait!

Over the next two seasons Davie continued in great scoring form, netting 70 goals in 79 appearances, including five goals in a 6-1 Scottish Cup win over Clyde on 21st January 1928. This form continued into season 1928/29 when he scored five times in the first four league matches. He finished the season with 29 goals.

At the end of the season Davie was selected to join the first-ever Scotland National team to tour out-with the UK during May and June 1929. He made his debut against Norway on 26th May in a 7-3 win. He also went on to play in a 1-1 draw with Germany on 1st June.

After his international adventure, Davie was back in the Saints’ side for the start of the next season and was soon back amongst the goals scoring 42 times over the next two years.

A serious knee injury, sustained in a match against Morton on 12th September 1931 was to keep him out for long periods of the season. He had started the first nine matches of the campaign, scoring a hat-trick against Ayr United on 9th September. However, his injury was to keep him out of the top team for several months. He made a comeback in the reserve side, scoring seven times in an 8-5 win over Dundee on 28th November 1931, but unfortunately, suffered a setback and it was to be February before he appeared in the top team again. Davie ended the season having made just 19 appearances, scoring nine times.

He was, however, fit enough to take part in the South-Western Counties Cup competition during April 1932. Saints defeated Kilmarnock 2-0 in the semi-final before hammering Ayr United 7-1 in the final, Davie claiming another hat-trick.

Free from injury, season 1932/33 saw Davie return to form netting 29 times including six in a 7-1 win over Cowdenbeath on 12th November. The following month Saints recorded a second 7-1 win, this time over Airdrie, with Davie scoring three times, one of three trebles he scored during the season as he regained the top scorer position.

Season 1933/34 was Davie’s last in Paisley. He scored 11 times in 20 matches, including four in the Scottish Cup as Saints reached the final. He wasn’t selected for the final, which Saints lost 5-0 to Rangers.

He left the club in August 1934, moving south to join New Brighton.

In his time at Love Street, Davie played in 352 matches and scored a club record 251 competitive goals including 222 league goals. An interesting fact about Davie’s totals is that he actually failed to score in more than half of his matches in the stripes!

His goals breakdown includes scoring six in one match, five in one match, four on two occasions. He scored ten hat-tricks, 44 doubles and registered single goals in 114 games.

Jump forward 25 years and Davie was at Hampden again, watching Saints as they defeated Aberdeen to win the 1959 Scottish Cup. After the match, he joined captain Davie Lapsley in a ceremonial opening of the whisky he had been given back in 1926. Two Saints legends, sharing a celebratory drink to honour two of the greatest days in the club’s history.

This article first appeared in the St Mirren matchday programme on 29th July 2017 for the match against Airdrieonians.

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