In memoriam | Alex Kiddie

27 March 2021
Author redmatchday team (Kevin Stirling, Charlie Allan, Malcolm Panton)


Everyone at Aberdeen Football Club is deeply saddened to hear that Alex Kiddie has passed away at the age of 93.

To our knowledge Alex was the oldest surviving Dons player and the final link to the club’s first ever senior trophy. The winger played a starring role in the side that won the 1946 Southern League Cup against Rangers at Hampden Park in front of over 130,000.

Until quite recently he was still a regular and very popular visitor to Pittodrie. Alex passed away peaceful in the early hours of Saturday morning.  On behalf of everyone at AFC, our thoughts are with Alex’s wife Norma, his son and good friend of the club Paul, daughter-in-law Margaret, granddaugher Caitlin, grandson Michael, and all the family at this difficult time.

Rest in Peace Alex.


Aberdeen FC Heritage Trust Profile click here 


The Alex Kiddie Story 

Alexander Anderson Kiddie was born on the 27th April 1927, Alex was the only remaining player in the Aberdeen side that won the Southern League Cup in 1946.

Alex started out with Ashdale Boys in his native Dundee before joining Stobshill Juniors where the likes of George Merchant of Falkirk Scottish Cup fame played as well as Reggie Smith. As a right winger of great speed, Alex would become familiar with his role.

“Getting past players and crossing the ball was what it was all about in those days.” That was the first occasion Alex came across well known professional players and his career was about to take a turn for the better after he was provisionally signed by Celtic in 1944 as the war in Europe continued.

“Jimmy McStay took me to Celtic and I was there for a year before they did not take up the option to retain me.”

Alex then returned to the east coast and he was then selected to play for Forfarshire against Aberdeenshire in a county select representative match; “I was 18 at the time and it was a great thrill to play in a game like that. Little did I know but Aberdeen manager Dave Halliday was there watching the game.”


Halliday was renowned for personally scouting new players and was a frequent visitor to such games. Halliday was in the process of building a new Aberdeen side as the war ended as many of his squad were now in the veteran stage of their careers. Exciting new talent was required and Alex Kiddie made enough of an impression for Halliday to approach him after the game; “Dave Halliday came up to me and told me that he was impressed and liked what he saw. He asked if I would like to join Aberdeen. It was a great opportunity for me and I agreed.

After signing for Aberdeen in 1945 in the immediate aftermath of the war, Alex was given a three-year contract; highly unusual in those days but as Alex explained; “I was signed as an amateur by Aberdeen, and the length of the deal would be three years. I wanted that so I could also devote my time to studying at University.”

There was no need for any contract negotiations and all that as I committed to sign for three years as an amateur. At that time I was very much looking towards my studies. I was learning at St Andrews University and was studying for my BSC in Maths & Physics.


There was however a last gasp attempt by Celtic to scupper the deal for the then 18-year-old winger.

“I had never heard anything from Celtic after leaving them that summer, so assumed they wouldn’t be getting in touch. After talking things over with my dad, I agreed to join Aberdeen. A few days later a neighbour told me a man from Glasgow had come to see me. She said I wasn’t in but knew I’d be playing for my Junior club later so he told her he would be back to see me.

“That was my last game for Stobswell and at half-time the club secretary told me Jimmy McGrory (Celtic’s manager) wanted to see me. Everyone’s mouths fell wide open when they heard that!

“We went into the committee room and Mr McGrory told me he had heard Aberdeen had signed me and wanted to know if it was true. I told him it was and he insisted Celtic were still interested but I said I couldn’t go back. He then said if I also signed a contract with them, both would become null and void, meaning I would be suspended and I’d become a free agent again. He promised Celtic would sign me after I served my suspension but I told him I had given my word to Aberdeen and that was that.”

Alex’s show of loyalty was even more remarkable because he had joined the Dons as an amateur player.


“I was also active as a sprinter on the athletics field and did well in the long jump, which is why I chose not to go professional. I got my expenses covered but that was it. I didn’t care though because I loved playing for Aberdeen.”

The leap that Alex took to Pittodrie may not have been so daunting as he had gained some experience before joining the Dons. The official records show that Alex made his competitive debut for Aberdeen along with Tony Harris, Archie Baird and Billy McCall against Third Lanark at Cathkin Park on 19th August 1946 in a 3-0 win. Due to the war and the cessation of all official football during those times, season 1946.47 was the first official season of the Scottish League since the end of hostilities. However, in what would be best described as a ‘makeshift’ season in 1945.46, it was Aberdeen and Alex who made their mark on the national stage. Alex first played for Aberdeen in a Dewar shield tie against St Johnstone in Perth on 15th August 1946.

With the Dons competing in the ‘Southern A’ Division that season, Aberdeen competed well to finish in third place behind Rangers and Hibernian. The Scottish League were mindful of the need to return to some kind of normality and the introduction of the Southern League Cup competition was the forerunner to the League Cup we know today.

The Southern League Cup

The Southern League Cup was a regional competition held during the Second World War. It was dominated by Rangers, who won it in 1941, 42, 43 and 45, with Hibs the only side to break their grip on the trophy. When the war ended, the competition was expanded to include teams from the north of Scotland as well, which is how Aberdeen came to be involved.

Aberdeen marched on to reach the final of the competition in style, scoring 19 goals in the process. Two of those goals came from Alex in the semi final replay against Airdrie at Ibrox. The sides had battled out a 2-2 draw in the first game and the replay went to extra time as Aberdeen won a sensational tie 5-3 to reach the Hampden final. It was Alex’s two goals in that dramatic tie that eventually paved the way for the Dons success.

That win took Aberdeen to the Final showdown against holders Rangers on May 11, 1946, and provided Alex with his finest hour in football; “Playing at Hampden in front of a 130,000 crowd was a great experience and the highlight for me. I was not really aware of that at the time. It was only when I went over to take a corner kick that I noticed the crowd. When you are in the game you tend to be so wrapped up in that, you don’t really notice these things. Playing in front of the sea of faces at Hampden that day is something that has never left me. It really was quite amazing.”

“We were up against Rangers and were not expected to win. I suppose that suited us as we had been in good form that season although we were a relatively new team.” Alex may still retain a modest outlook to what happened that day but his contribution to the game was crucial; “It was a warm day at Hampden and the crowd was barely settled when we took the lead.

A long throw from Andy Cowie was knocked on to Archie Baird whose header put Aberdeen ahead. It was after 18 minutes that Alex had a telling contribution after dispossessing the famed Rangers full back ‘Tiger’ Shaw (brother of Dons boss Dave Shaw); “I managed to win the ball and set off down the wing. I could see we had support in the middle so i was keen to get the ball over.” Alex crossed for George Hamilton who in turn set up Stan Williams to hammer the ball past Rangers keeper John Shaw to put Aberdeen two goals ahead.

The expected Rangers comeback did materialise in the second half but when it was 2-1 it could have been all over when Alex rattled the Rangers crossbar after tormenting Shaw once more. Despite dominating the game, Rangers drew level with 20 minutes to go. That set the stage for one last effort from the Dons; “It was almost time up when I got the ball on the right. I made one last effort to get to the bye-line. I crossed the ball over into the box and fortunately George Taylor was in a good position to score. It was an incredible feeling. The ball returned to the centre circle and after Rangers re-started the referee blew for full time.

The Reaction

That competition elevated Alex and Aberdeen to new heights as it was the Dons first success on the national stage; albeit classed as an ‘unofficial’ season by the authorities.

Legendary Aberdeen journalist Jack Webster, who was just a teenager himself when the final was played, wrote about it his book ‘The Dons’ – the official history of the club, which was first published in 1978.

Jack wrote: “It was the first opportunity for a whole generation of football supporters to visit the national stadium and when the Aberdeen party arrived in Glasgow they found the city seething with red and white.

“That was the day when a slightly built lad from Dundee, who was generally referred to as A.A.Kiddie, played the game of his life, turning his own dream-like performance into a nightmare for Rangers left-back stalwart Tiger Shaw, who was not accustomed to chasing shadows.”

Jack Webster, who listened to final live on BBC radio back in Aberdeen, continued:

“The game had entered its very last minute and the atmosphere was felt not only on the slopes of Hampden Park but in places like the common room of Gordon’s College boarding house at Queen’s Road, where a group of us were clustered around the wireless set, as we called it then, hanging on every word of BBC commentator Peter Thomson.

“He had checked his watch his watch for the number of dying seconds when suddenly Aberdeen were on the attack, the ball had been crossed by Kiddie… Cowie was going for it… Hamilton was going for it… George Taylor was going for it…”


It was to be an afternoon when Alex produced one of his best ever performances in an Aberdeen shirt, despite the fact he was still a teenager and up against Rangers greats like Jock ‘Tiger’ Shaw, Willie Waddell, Scot Symon, George Young and Willie Thornton.

Newspaper reports of the time also talk of how ‘young Kiddie of Aberdeen’ gave Tiger Shaw a ‘torrid time.’

“I was pretty pleased with how I played that day. Rangers had a terrific side but we got the better of them. I don’t think many people gave us a chance but we always believed we would win, even when Rangers pulled it back to 2-2. I did what always did, got the ball, took it down the wing and crossed for George to score.

“It was a great achievement winning the cup that day. I remember stopping at the railway station to buy a paper to read the match report, I still have that newspaper!”

As the only amateur to play in the final, Alex was unable to share in the win bonus the Dons directors gave to their cup winning squad. Aberdeen chairman William Mitchell asked what he would like instead to mark the occasion – and Alex chose a wristwatch.

“As an amateur, I was not entitled to any cash bonus. After the game the Aberdeen chairman William Mitchell expressed his gratitude at my performance and told me that the club would see about rewarding me for my efforts. That came in the shape of a watch that was given to me by the club and engraved on the back; ‘A.A Kiddie Southern League Cup 1945.46.’ The watch has remained with me ever since and is still keeping perfect time all those years later!”

“I had never owned a watch before so I was delighted. Not getting a bonus never worried me. Winning the cup was reward enough. The watch was a very kind gesture by the club and I’ve been proud to wear it almost every day since. it’s one of my most treasured possessions.”

1946 onwards

Alex continued to play as an amateur for a further two years while completing his studies. His at Pittodrie was split between his time at St Andrew’s University where he gained his BSC in Maths & Physics. That allowed Alex to continue to play as an amateur and also his football career, although he moved on from Aberdeen in 1948 after 65 appearances and 15 goals:

“I took up a teaching position at St John’s School in Dundee where I was appointed Principal Teacher. I was transferred from Aberdeen to Falkirk in 1950 where I met Ralph McKenzie who had also been with Aberdeen. It was later that I was transferred to Dundee on a temporary basis. George Anderson, the former Aberdeen keeper was manager at Dens then. Having won the cup in 1946 I was invited to play a Dundee side in Bob McGlashan’s benefit match at Gayfield. Included in the Aberdeen side that day was Doug Cowie. He never did join the Dons and it was George Anderson who took him to Dundee. Cowie went on to become a Dens Park legend of course.”

Alex finished his playing career with Brechin City in 1954 and at Montrose a year later. Alex was part of the Brechin side that won the ‘C’ Division title; “That was a great achievement for Brechin although it was a reserve league, these divisions were very strong back then and we beat the likes of the powerful Aberdeen and Dundee ‘A’ sides to take the championship. I finished up at Montrose where George Hill was the manager.”


Looking back on his Pittodrie days, Alex recalls some great players; “George Johnstone was a great keeper and very commanding. Willie Cooper was another one who would never let you down and he was always good for a dozen or so eggs during the rationing days; never knew where he got them from, but I never cared to ask! I also visited Pat McKenna and Archie Glen several years ago and it was a pity to see them both suffer from dementia in later life. Archie Baird was a great player and remained a close friend. I helped him celebrate his 90th birthday.

“I always appreciated the opportunity Aberdeen gave to me. I retain a lot of affection for the club because it was a special time and an honour to be part of the team which won the first major trophy.”

Alex Kiddie enjoyed his retirement after a career as a respected teacher and footballer in his native Dundee. In an era when playing football was secondary to following a profession away from the game, the commitment given to the game by the likes of Alex Kiddie is admirable; if ever there was a Hall of Fame for unsung heroes, then Alex would be the ideal candidate.