Family celebrate Alex’s key role in securing 1896 cup victory

THE Scottish Cup final will linger in the memory as a day of unbridled joy or bottomless despair – depending on your allegiances towards either side of the city’s football divide.

But it will be especially poignant for one family descended from the man who sealed victory for Hearts in the last all-Edinburgh showdown in 1896.

Inside-left Alex King, right, effectively put the game beyond Hibs when, from a tight angle, he scored the second goal in a 3-1 triumph over their rivals, in a match held in the Capital.

His great-grandson, Jason Rose, 35, who is not an avid football supporter, said the family would consider marking the occasion by getting together to watch the game on Saturday, May 19 in his honour.

“It will be very special and I think we might make a day of it – have a bit of a hoo-haa around it,” said Mr Rose, who works as the head of media for the Scottish Green Party at Holyrood.

“I didn’t really know too much about him until it cropped up at the weekend when I was out visiting my grandmother in Tranent.

“But we will be thinking about Alex and, I guess, the fact Logie Green [where the final was played] doesn’t exist any more.

“Although I don’t really support one or the other of the teams playing I really should be supporting the Jambos on this occasion.”

There are scant details about the life of Alex King but his footballing prowess earned him the nickname King of Hearts from the Tynecastle faithful.

It is thought he may have been honoured on the pitch during the Gorgie club’s centenary celebrations in 1974 but his relatives were unable to confirm whether he was involved in the ceremony.

Alex King’s granddaughter, Margaret Davidson, 77, shed some light on the man who also made history as the first Hearts player to score a hat-trick against either side of the Old Firm.

“He came from Shotts in North Lanarkshire, worked in the pits and lived in the same house all his life,” she said.

“He had two sisters, who never married, and he looked after them.

“He had around a dozen children and so I didn’t see too much of him as my father was in the army and later my husband and I moved away to Tranent in 1939.

“He was quite a strict Victorian gentleman who later played for Celtic. I’m sure he had a trial at Rangers at one point but didn’t take it up.”

Retired Ms Davidson, who worked as a cook at St Martin’s Primary School in Tranent, said she was delighted by the prospect of a Hearts v Hibs cup final and has been quick to regale friends with her own connection to the competition.

“Everyone I have been talking to has been hearing how my grandfather scored in the last all-Edinburgh cup final in 1896,” she said.

“I am very proud of him in that way. He played in a very special game.”

Fans cooking up plans for special guest

HEARTS fans are making a bizarre bid to convince Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace to attend the final.

The celebrity greengrocer has become a cult hero on a prominent Jambos fans’ forum, mainly due to pictures of Wallace’s gurning face becoming commonplace in posts on the website.

That spawned rumours that the 47-year-old was a closet Hearts fan, despite being a life-long Millwall supporter.

Wallace has been bombarded with messages on Twitter, encouraging him to attend the showpiece.

One fan tweeted: “What’s better than cup final day? Cup final day with Gregg Wallace.”

Despite being evidently confused by his hero status, Wallace appears to be considering the trip.

He tweeted yesterday: “Looking into it, I have contacted the club.”

A Hearts club source joked: “With the crowd expected, I hope he has enough loyalty points.”

Sporting chance

POLITICIANS at Westminster are being asked to back the call for the Scottish Cup final to be held at Murrayfield.

Edinburgh West Liberal Democrat MP Mike Crockart has tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons congratulating Hearts and Hibs on reaching the final and arguing that Murrayfield is the right venue.

He said: “This will be a truly historic Scottish Cup clash, the first time the sides have met in the final since 1896. I believe that the match should be played at the Capital’s stadium.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the game and I’m certain it will attract a strong home crowd, so it’d be an even more memorable occasion if it were played in the clubs’ home city. With Scottish Cup success and Edinburgh Rugby’s win over Toulouse, this is proving to be a wonderful sporting spring for Scotland’s capital city.”