Now, I've finally cracked a mystery that has eluded me for a long long time: the two players called James Gourlay who both played for Cambuslang and were both capped by Scotland.
Most reference books simply state that J Gourlay of Cambuslang won two Scotland caps in 1886 and 1888. Doug Lamming's Who's Who of Scotland Internationalists identifies him as James McCrorie Gourlay (1860-1939).
But a few years ago I stumbled across an obituary that revealed the man capped in 1886 was James Gourlay (1862-1926). This was covered in a discussion thread on the scottishleague.net forum.
It gets complicated, so bear with me. The Cambuslang team that played in the 1888 Scottish Cup Final, losing 6-1 to Renton, contained three Gourlays: H Gourlay who scored, J Gourlay in midfield, and J Gourlay on the left wing. Newspapers of the day generally called the latter J Gourlay (1) and the midfielder J Gourlay (2). Contemporary books confirmed there were two players called J Gourlay, and mentioned an Annbank (Ayrshire) family connection. DD Bone's Scottish Football Reminiscences gave their names as James and John. This caused me all sorts of confusion as I searched for a John Gourlay who fitted the bill.
I drew up detailed family trees for Gourlays in Cambuslang and Annbank, and found to my horror that there were two large families, each with numerous Johns and James. All I could be certain of was that they were not related - the Gourlay family of Annbank had come from Ireland early in the 19th century, while the others had always been in Cambuslang. However, several of the Annbank Gourlays had moved in the 1880s to Cambuslang to work in the coal mines so even the census returns were confusing.
There was also an S Gourlay at Cambuslang from 1892, and various other Gourlays playing at Annbank, including two called Owen, senior and junior. Where did they all fit in?
After a long sequence of trial and error, I could not find a John Gourlay who could have been the missing internationalist of 1888. So this week I went to the National Library of Scotland and looked up obituaries on microfilm, which finally revealed the second J Gourlay's identity.
The Ayr Advertiser of 16 March 1939 had an obituary for James McCrorie Gourlay who had died the previous week at Annbank. He was "one of three Gourlays in the Cambuslang team, better known as 'White' Gourlay, centre half. His cousin Hugh, whose death took place at Annbank a few weeks ago, was inside left, and another James Gourlay, a native of Kirkhill, was inside left. 'White' Gourlay was capped for Scotland v Wales in 1888." Mystery solved! And, after all, Doug Lamming was half right in his Who's Who.
I have two detailed family trees for anyone who would like them, but in brief here are the summaries of the footballers:
J Gourlay (1) capped for Scotland v Ireland in 1886, was James Gourlay, born Cambuslang 30 October 1862, died in Cambuslang 8 June 1926 (killed by a bus). He played for the town team from about 1884-1890. He is not related to any of the other Gourlays below.
J Gourlay (2) capped for Scotland v Wales in 1888, was James McCrorie Gourlay, born Annbank 1 November 1860, died Annbank 10 March 1939. He played for Annbank, then Cambuslang just 1887-88 before returning to Annbank. His brother Owen Gourlay (1856-1932) played for Annbank; his brother Samuel (1873-?) played for Cambuslang in the early 1890s. His son James Gourlay (11 Jan 1888-12 Sept 1970) played for Everton and Morton, scoring the winner in the 1922 Scottish Cup final; another son John (1885-1930) played for Annbank. His cousin Hugh McKail Gourlay (1865-1939) played and scored for Cambuslang in the 1888 Scottish Cup final; Hugh's brother Owen (1861-?) played for Annbank and was club secretary in the 1880s. There were other football relatives, and also James's descendants include David Gourlay, the world bowls champion. All in all, an extraordinary sporting family!