Played for Dundee and Rangers – RC Hamilton

Rangers come to Dens for the second time this season on Sunday and so we look at a player who as played for both clubs, RC Hamilton.

Robert Cumming Hamilton, commonly referred to by his two initials RC, was a football celebrity of pre-Great War times scoring 15 goals in 11 Scotland appearances and 9 goals in 7 Scottish League appearances in a career which took him to Elgin and back via Queens Park, Rangers, Morton, Hearts and Dundee. As a striker he packed a tremendous shot and was famed for his lethal strikes from long range with great mobility thanks to his speedy long legs.

Born in Elgin on May 13th 1877, Hamilton started his football career with local Highland League side Elgin City. In 1896 he relocated to Glasgow to attend Glasgow University and signed for Queens Park but a year later joined Rangers.

At Ibrox he earned his reputation as a potent goalscorer and became Rangers all time top scorer against rivals Celtic – a record which stands to this day.

He was the club’s top goalscorer for nine consecutive seasons and the part he played in the 1898/99 season, when Rangers won every league game to seal their first solo championship by a huge margin of 10 points, was as great as anyone’s. Hamilton played in every game as captain and scored 21 goals including three hat-tricks against Partick Thistle, Dundee and, unsurprisingly, Celtic.

He earned further League winners medals in 1899/00, 1900/01 and 1901/02 and was part of Rangers’ Scottish Cup winning sides in 1898 and 1903.

He made his international debut for Scotland against Wales in a 6-0 win in Wrexham on March 18th 1899 and although he didn’t get on the score sheet, he made up for it a fortnight later with a brace against Ireland in a 9-1 win at Celtic Park.

His record against Ireland was remarkable, scoring four in an 11-0 win in 1901 and a hat-trick in Belfast a year later and a solitary strike in a 1-1 draw in Dublin in 1904.

Robert moved to Fulham in 1906 but was only at Craven Cottage for a year before returning to Ibrox. Soon he was off again this time to Morton but only for a few months and signed for Hearts in 1908.

Hamilton joined Dundee in 1910 to replace Scottish Cup winning goalscorer ‘Sailor’ Hunter who left Dens shortly after his famous strike and although he no longer had the speed of old, his clever play brought him 20 goals in season 1910/11. He scored on his debut in a 1-1 draw at home to Hibs on August 27th and scored against eventual League champions Rangers to help knock them out of the Scottish Cup 2-1 at Dens in February.

This rich vein of goalscoring form brought Hamilton a surprise international recall for Scotland’s visit to Ninian Park on March 6th 1911 for a British International Championship match. He was a late replacement on the left wing and at 34 years of age it was dramatic and unexpected return to the international scene but he more than justified his inclusion with a sensational display.

Wales took an early lead but Hamilton equalised in the 35th minute by scoring in his first international goal in 7 years. When Wales took the lead again in the second half it looked like they might hang on for their first win over Scotland in five years but in the last minute Hamilton knocked in his second equaliser to earn Scotland a draw and the headlines for himself.

Robert received a special cheer from both the home and away support the following week when Dundee were at Douglas Park to play Hamilton in the Scottish Cup semi-final but unfortunately for the cup holders, Dundee went down 3-2 to deny themselves an opportunity to play in two cup finals in a row.

The following year Hamilton finished as Dundee’s top goalscorer for the second year in a row, this time with 15 goals and played in the first ever Dundee derby when the Dark Blues drew 2-2 with Dundee Hibernian in the Forfarshire Cup semi and progressed to the final on the toss of the coin.

After scoring eight goals the following season, the 36 year left Dens in the summer and returned to his first club Elgin City.

After retiring from football Hamilton went into education and after graduating from the University of Glasgow, he became a school teacher then eventually master. He maintained an involvement in education throughout his life and eventually served upon the Moray and Nairn Education Board in the mid thirties.

He was also involved in local politics, serving on the Elgin Town council between 1914 and 1937 and for the last six years of this period, held the position of Lord Provost. 

Hamilton also carried on the family business of net manufacturing right up until he died and passed away in May 1948, aged 71. In the late Fifties a new road in a private housing estate at the north side of Elgin, overlooking the River Lossie was named after him, as Hamilton Drive and remains still to this day.

A Scottish footballing legend, RC Hamilton made his mark in the light blue of Rangers and the dark blue of Dundee and Scotland and his knack of scoring from long range made him popular with everyone who watched him.

Honours at Dundee:

Scotland full cap: 1

Appearances, Goals:

League: 93, 37 goals

Scottish Cup: 12, 8 goals

Totals: 105, 45 goals