|Full name||Hamish Robert McAlpine|
|Date of birth||21 January 1948|
|Place of birth||Kilspindie, Scotland|
|Butterburn Youth Club|
|Dundee North End|
|1967–1968||→ Montrose (loan)||25||(0)|
|1986||→ Dunfermline (loan)||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Hamish Robert McAlpine (born 21 January 1948) is a Scottish former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He spent the majority of his career playing for Dundee United, who he served for twenty years. He represented Scotland at under-21 international level and was named SFWA Footballer of the Year in 1985.
McAlpine was born in the village of Kilspindie, Perthshire. His father, Ian McAlpine, was a promising footballer whose career was disrupted by the Second World War, although he did sign for Dundee in 1946 and played for their reserves. Although his father had been a centre forward, the young McAlpine always played as a goalkeeper from primary school onwards.
McAlpine played junior football for Dundee North End prior to signing provisionally for Dundee United in June 1966. He combined part-time football with a job at United chairman George Fox's accountancy firm until signing a professional contract in the close season of 1967. Initially third choice goalkeeper behind Donald Mackay and Sandy Davie, McAlpine spent most of the 1967-68 season on loan to Montrose, and came close to signing for them permanently. Returning to United, he made his debut appearance for the first team in a pre-season friendly against Hartlepool in August 1968.
Davie left the club in October 1968, leaving McAlpine as second choice. Following an injury to Mackay, he made his competitive debut for Dundee United on 8 March 1969, in a 1–0 defeat against Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle. That proved to be his only appearance that season, and he missed most of the following season following an operation for ligament damage. In October 1970, McAlpine came on as a substitute for the injured Mackay in a Fairs Cup tie against Sparta Prague to make his European debut and only his second competitive appearance overall. That proved to be a breakthrough for McAlpine, who went to make thirty appearances in all competitions that season and establish himself as first choice. Mackay was allowed to leave the club in 1972 by new manager Jim McLean, who brought back Davie as competition. McAlpine was still in the team until knee surgery ruled him out for a spell in 1974, which meant Davie played in United's first Scottish Cup final appearance.
Davie's subsequent departure left McAlpine as the club's undisputed first choice goalkeeper, a position he would retain for the next decade. He was also building a reputation for eccentricity and becoming a cult favourite with United supporters, often leaving his penalty area to take on opponents. In 1976, United were struggling to avoid relegation and had missed several penalties. McAlpine volunteered to take over as penalty taker, scoring on his first attempt against Hibernian in the penultimate match of the season. Another McAlpine penalty, in the final match away to Rangers, was missed, but United retained their Premier Division status with a goalless draw. McAlpine scored twice more during the 1976-77 season, but was relieved of penalty duties after further misses. He later came close to scoring another United goal, hitting the bar with a shot whilst playing outfield in a reserve match.
McAlpine's carefree attitude sometimes put him in conflict with his disciplinarian manager. In his autobiography, McLean describes his frustration with McAlpine's unwillingness to undertake specialist goalkeeping training, saying, "Hamish McAlpine was the one player who was able to destroy single-handedly everything I have ever thought or believed about the game of football". The pair's most serious disagreement occurred in 1979, resulting in McAlpine being sent home from a tournament in Japan. McAlpine was suspended by the club and temporarily replaced by former England goalkeeper Peter Bonetti.
Having won his place back from Bonetti, McAlpine was part of the United side that reached the club's first ever Scottish League Cup final in December 1979. After a goalless draw against Aberdeen, a 3–0 replay win at Dundee's Dens Park gave the club their first ever major trophy. A year later, United were again at Dens in the League Cup Final, this time facing local rivals Dundee. After another 3–0 victory for United, club captain Paul Hegarty was about to collect the trophy when he stepped aside, instead ushering McAlpine forward to receive it, in recognition of his service to the club. Later the same season, the goalkeeper made his first appearance in a Scottish Cup Final, against Rangers. With the match goalless, McAlpine saved a last minute penalty to secure a replay, but United lost the second game 4–1.
McAlpine was dropped for a League Cup tie against Falkirk in August 1982, with reserve goalkeeper John Gardiner taking his place. Despite McLean hinting that Gardiner might be set for an extended run in the first team, McAlpine was restored to the team for the next match. He went on to be ever-present in League matches during the 1982–83 season as Dundee United won the Scottish Football League title for the first time in the club's history.
McAlpine was injured in October 1985 and lost his place in the side to Billy Thomson. In 1986 he played one match on loan to Dunfermline Athletic before leaving United later that year to join Raith Rovers. He spent two years at Raith, helping them win promotion to the Scottish First Division in his first season, before going to Arbroath for a short spell prior to retiring in 1989. McAlpine played several games for Celtic during a pre-season tour of Switzerland in July 1988 as cover for the injured Pat Bonner and Andy Murdoch.
Since retiring as a player, McAlpine has worked intermittently for Dundee United in various capacities: as a goalkeeping coach, in the commercial department and as a matchday host. He also ran a pub in Dundee for a while. An all-round talented sportsman, McAlpine was reputedly a good enough golfer to have turned professional, and he also played cricket for Perthshire club Rossie Priory. McAlpine also had a song written about him: "Hamish the Goalie", by Dundonian musician Michael Marra.
|Dunfermline Athletic (loan)||1985–86||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
- Dundee United
- "Screwy - Did You Say?". The Sunday Post. 6 October 1946. Retrieved 22 October 2014 – via British Newspaper Archive. (subscription required (. ))
- Pattullo, Alan (13 April 2013). "Hamish McAlpine on Celtic, United, and that song". The Scotsman. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- Gracie, p.145
- Gracie, p.314
- "Tannadice Legends: Hamish McAlpine". Dundee United F.C. official website. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
- Gracie, p.148
- Gracie, p.154
- Gracie, p.165
- Gracie, pp.176–177
- Smith, pp.48–49
- Gracie, p.190
- Smith, p.55
- McLean, Jim; Gallacher, Ken (1987). Jousting With Giants: The Jim McLean Story. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 1 85158 088 3.
- Gracie, p.315
- Reynolds, Jim (11 May 1981). "McAlpine spoils a fairy-tale ending". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2014 – via Google News Archive.
- Reynolds, Jim (23 August 1982). "United demote McAlpine". Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2015 – via Google News Archive.
- Gracie, Steve (2009). The Rise of the Terrors. Dundee: Arabest Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9558341-1-0.
- Smith, Paul (2010). Tannadice Idols: The Story of Dundee United's Cult Heroes. Edinburgh: Black & White Publishing. ISBN 978 1 84502 317 1.