The team came into being in 1872, with the inspiration hailing from the Scotland versus England match which kick-started international football. It is not often that a 0-0 score-line is one that can inspire football fans to take action but on this case, the spectacle was enough to inspire the beginning of a new team. Football fever was starting to grip the nation and as you would expect, Glasgow was at the centre of all the attention and fuss.
Third Lanark were league champions in 1903-04 and also lifted the Scottish Cup on two occasions, in 1888-89 and in 1904-05. The club also won the Glasgow Cup on four occasions with their success in 1903 and 1904 further emphasising their talent and strength at this particular period in time. 1909 saw another triumph for the team with the last triumph occurring in 1963. The team also made it to the final of the 1959-60 League Cup, losing 2-1 to Hearts.
Cathkin Park is the name of the municipal park which housed the football stadium and things can get a little bit confusing if you try to piece together the history of the grounds. Third Lanark originally played at Cathkin Park but then moved to New Cathkin Park wwhich as previously called Hampden Park, the second of the three stadiums that held this title and was sold to Third Lanark by Queens Park when they moved to their current home.
The distance between Cathkin Park and Hampden is no more than a wayward shot, albeit more than the short distance that separates Dens Park and Tannadice in Dundee. Over the years, New Cathkin Park began to be referred to as Cathkin Park, reflecting the larger park it was housed in as opposed to the history of the club. At its largest, the ground could hold 50,000 people, adding to the number of huge footballing arena’s in Glasgow at the time. The record attendance at the ground was 45,544 for a Scottish Cup tie against Rangers in 1954.
The final league match to be played at Cathkin Park took place on the 25th April 1967. The Hi-Hi played out a 3-3 draw with Queen of the South with the last goal of the match, and therefore the last at the stadium in a professional capacity, was scored by Brian McMurdo of the away side. Three days later, Third Lanark travelled to Boghead in Dumbarton, where the club slipped by a 5-1 defeat. Drew Busby, who would later play for Airdrie (another club who went out of business) and Hearts (at the moment, still operating but they do not appear to be in great financial shape) was the scorer of the last ever professional goal for Third Lanark.
A Board of Trade enquiry into Third Lanark declared the club was bankrupt and the reasons for this have been discussed and debated ever since. Many fans believe that corruption in the boardroom was the cause of the death of the club but the full story about the demise of a Scottish footballing institution has never been properly told. The chairman of the club at the time of the death of Third Lanark, Bill Hiddleston, passed away after suffering a heart attack in Blackpool in November 1967. His passing meant that the real truth would never be confirmed although many, including the investigation carried out by the Board of Trade, believed Hiddleston to be highly complicit in the demise of the club.
For many decades after the passing of the Hi-Hi, it was hoped that they would be the last Scottish club to suffer this fate but since the turning of the millennium, the financial status of many clubs has been cause for great concern. Motherwell and Dundee have been in and out of administration while at the time of writing, Rangers appear to be teetering on the financial brink. As already stated, Airdrieonians are no more, going bust and then backers buying out Clydebank and placing Airdrie United into the Scottish Football League.
The boom and bust of Gretna Football Club was also a sad tale, albeit one that had a number of thrilling moments along the way. With the future looking bleak for many Scottish clubs, history can no longer record Third Lanark as being an anomaly in Scottish football; they were just 50 years ahead of the game!
Anyone looking for more information about Third Lanark or the football club that currently calls Cathkin Park home, please visit the following site: http://www.thirdlanarkac.co.uk/
However, very recently, this new website came alive and it appears to be relaying up to date information regarding modern movements for the club. For more information, please visit: http:www.third-lanark.co.uk
There is also a petition to indicate public support for the new Third Lanark returning to Cathkin Park, which can be found here:Petition for Third Lanark at Cathkin Park