This Club, established in 1884, had begun life at Kelvinvale Park, but by the time Jimmy joined them in 1905 they were based at what remains their current home – Lochburn Park, five miles north of Jimmy’s Govanhill home, in north-west Glasgow.
In the early years of the century, Maryhill were amongst the top clubs in this grade. They had been founder members of the Glasgow Junior League in 1895 and during the eight seasons from 1899-00 to 1906-07 Maryhill lifted 13 trophies. They enjoyed good support, and it was not uncommon for trains to be chartered to away games with over 500 supporters following the team.
Season 1904-05 was a particularly successful one for Maryhill FC. Their team was packed with junior internationals (Robertson, Colman, McIntyre, Muir, McFie and Bell), whilst half the team went on to senior football. McFie and Jimmy Speirs were signed by Rangers, whilst defender Donald Colman went on to become one of Aberdeen FC’s all-time greats with 349 appearances, plus four international caps for Scotland.
Records for junior football of a century ago are patchy, but Jimmy Speirs’ first scoring appearance for Maryhill is thought to be on 29 April 1905, when his two goals beat Parkhead in the Glasgow League.
In the Glasgow Cup Final versus Ashfield, Jimmy scored one of Maryhill’s goals in a 3-3 draw on 20 May. The game was held at Meadowside (then the ground of Partick Thistle) in front of an attendance of 9,000. A week later, in the replay, Jimmy scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.
Maryhill won three competitions in that season – the Glasgow League, Glasgow Junior Cup and Glasgow Charity Cup. Jimmy certainly played in the Glasgow Cup Final (scoring the winning goal). The Glasgow Merchants’ Charity Cup Final was played on 3 June, with Maryhill beating Petershill by 2-0, but Jimmy did not score and it is uncertain whether or not he was in the team.
Jimmy may therefore have received up to three medals for season 1904-5, but he definitely received at least one.
What is believed to be his Glasgow Junior Cup winners medal is still in the possession of Jimmy’s family.
* Meadowside GL - Glasgow League GC - Glasgow Cup GCF - Glasgow Cup Final
From Jimmy’s first recorded scoring appearance on 29 April 1905, Maryhill played a further nine games until the end of the season. It is quite probable therefore that Jimmy played more than the three games detailed above, but this cannot be confirmed.
The 19 year-old Speirs obviously made an impression quickly at Maryhill for, after what it seems were only a handful of appearances for Maryhill over the course of just a few weeks, Jimmy was on his way across Glasgow to Rangers, at the end of that 1904-05 season.
The Maryhill club continues to this day, still playing at Lochburn Park, in Scottish Junior Football.
I am most grateful to Brian Reilly for the information contained in this section.