Obituary: Jimmy McColl, footballer, 88

Jimmy with Queens Park. Picture: contributed
Jimmy with Queens Park. Picture: contributed
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A SCOTTISH footballer who represented the Great Britain team at the 1948 Olympic Games has died at the age of 88.

Jimmy McColl was part of the side which reached the semi-finals in London, under the management of Matt Busby.

Jimmy McColl. Picture: contributed

Jimmy McColl. Picture: contributed

Having missed out on a bronze medal following a 5-3 defeat by Denmark, Jimmy went on to play for a further four years around Scotland.

Son Kevin, 55, said his dad had always been proud of representing his country on the international stage.

He said: “He was delighted to be called up and really for most of his years he was very, very proud. He wore his Olympic blazer up until his death. He was very proud of the fact.”

Jimmy was a schoolboy when he started playing football at a decent level, before joining Polkemmet Juniors with a view to moving on to Hibs.

But as his father, an ex-Celtic and Hibs player himself, was a coach there, Jimmy was denied a position due to a conflict of interest. His dad didn’t want to be accused of favouritism.

Kevin said: “There was no bitterness against his father that he wasn’t allowed to join Hibs as he felt it gave him the opportunity to represent his country.”

Competing at the Games meant so much to Jimmy that he wrote to the Olympic committee stating that he thought there should be Scottish players included in the 2012 football squad.

His son said: “He was very, very adamant that Scotland should have competed in the Olympic Games in 2012. He was very proud of his participation and felt it was terrible that other Scots were not given the opportunity to represent themselves like he did.”

The right-sided full-back’s career began at amateur club Queen’s Park, where he made 29 appearances.

It was during his time there he earned selection to the Great Britain team for the Olympics, which was managed by at-the-time Manchester United manager Matt Busby.

Jimmy regularly talked of his experience being managed by the legendary coach.

Following the Olympics, he moved to Queen of the South, where he played for a further two seasons.

In 1950, he moved to Falkirk, but after just five appearances switched to join Cowdenbeath, before retiring from football.

An ankle injury plagued the end of his playing career, so much so he was operated on to have staples put in his foot.

Jimmy, who lived in Edinburgh, then took up a job working for Friends Provident insurance firm. He worked in insurance until his retirement in 2003, at the age of 78.

The father of six also had ten grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was described as “very much a family man who doted on his grandchildren”.