Played For Dundee and Kilmarnock – Jimmy Robertson

Dundee face Kilmarnock in the Ladbrokes Premiership this weekend and so we take a look at a player who played for both club, Scotland international winger Jimmy Robertson.

Robertson was very much a local boy made good as a popular winger in his five years at Dens during which he won two full caps for Scotland in their summer tour of Europe in 1931.

Born in Dundee in 1910, James E. Robertson stared his football career with local Junior sides Lochee United and Logie Thistle. In the summer of 1928 he joined the senior ranks when he signed on at Dens Park and went straight into the team for the first game of the season at home to Celtic which The Bhoys won 1-0 in front of 19,000.

The youngster was used sparingly in his first season but brought flair to the Dundee attack when he played and scored his first goal for the club in a 4-0 home win over Cowdenbeath in March.

Having only played ten times in his first year, Jimmy firmly established himself in the team in his second, making 41 appearances in all competitions. This included two matches against newly promoted Dundee United which Robertson and his Dark Blue team mates both won 1-0 to help send United straight back down.

Season 1930/31 was a big one for Jimmy as he started finding the net regularly with 15 goals compared to three in his first two years. By mid-October fourth placed Dundee had taken 17 points, half their total for the previous season and despite eventually slipping to eighth there was renewed optimism at Dens after hovering in the bottom half of the table in recent years.

In the Scottish Cup Dundee recorded a club record 10-1 win over Highland League Fraserburgh in the first round at Dens and their reward was to be paired with an all conquering Rangers side at Ibrox. The Light Blues were heading for their eighth league title in nine years but in the day’s biggest shock goals by Andy Campbell and Jimmy Robertson gave The Dee a 2-1 win.

At the end of the season Jimmy was rewarded for his Dark Blue efforts by being called up by Scotland to be part of the squad for their close season European tour. At this time the Scottish FA decided to chose players only from Scottish clubs due to an ongoing club v country disagreement with clubs south of the border and with players from Rangers, Celtic and Motherwell players refusing to go on tour, it allowed the opportunity for Robertson and team mate Colin McNab to win some Scotland caps.

Both McNab and Robertson started the first tour match in the Hohe Warte Stadium in Vienna against the Austrian Wunderteam but it was a disappointing debut for Jimmy as the Scots went down 5-0 to a side that would finish fourth in the next World Cup.

The quality of Scotland’s opponents didn’t deteriorate in the next match as they faced up against the side who would win the next World Cup on home soil, Italy. The match took place in the Stadio Nazionale in Rome which would host the 1934 final against Czechoslovakia and once again Robertson and McNab started for Scotland but it was another disappointing defeat, this time 3-0.

Changes were made for Scotland’s last tour match in Berne against Switzerland and Robertson was one of the players to drop out. The match against Italy was Jimmy’s second and last cap for Scotland as players from English clubs and the Old Firm and Motherwell (who would win the League the following year under Dundee legend ‘Sailor’ Hunter) would return to the international fold the next season.

At Dens the long-legged Robertson was a marvellous entertainer, a firm favourite with the fans and popular with his team mates and in season 1932/33 he finished as Dundee’s top scorer with 22 goals. He scored his first hat-trick for the club in a 3-0 win over Clyde at Shawfield in September, scored another hat-trick a month later in a 4-1 win at Cappielow and in the penultimate match of the season scored the first in a 3-0 home win over Celtic.

Jimmy’s goalscoring exploits started to attract the attention of other clubs and in December after another four goals and the winner against Dundee United in the first round of the Forfarshire Cup, he was transferred to Birmingham City for £1250.

Birmingham saw him as a replacement for the prolific Joe Bradford who was coming to the end of his career and he went straight into the starting eleven. Thing didn’t work out at St Andrew’s however as he suffered from a severe bout of homesickness and at the end of the season returned to Kilmarnock for a fee of £1000 where he maintained a scoring rate of a goal every other game.

In 1938 Robertson retired from the game leaving a legacy of exactly 100 goals in 268 league games for his three clubs as well as his two caps for Scotland.

Honours at Dundee:

Scotland full caps: 2

Appearances, Goals:

League: 157, 47 goals

Scottish Cup: 14, 3 goals

Totals: 171, 50 goals

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