Alec McNair

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Alec McNair
Alec McNair (1910 portrait).jpg
Personal information
Full name Alexander McNair
Date of birth (1883-12-26)26 December 1883
Place of birth Bo'ness, Scotland[1]
Date of death 18 November 1951(1951-11-18) (aged 67)
Place of death Stenhousemuir, Scotland
Playing position Right back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
–1904 Stenhousemuir
1904–1925 Celtic 583 (8)
National team
1906–1920 Scotland 15 (0)
1919Scotland (wartime) 3[2] (0)
1908–1920 Scottish League XI 16 (0)
Teams managed
1925–1927 Dundee
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Alec McNair was a Scottish football player and manager. He played as a defender for Celtic and represented the Scotland national team in 15 official internationals between 1906 and 1920. McNair also represented the Scottish League XI 16 times.[3] He then managed Dundee from 1925 until 1927.


McNair began his career at Stenhousemuir. He played at inside right and was a regular goalscorer, helping the club win the Scottish Qualifying Cup in 1901 and 1902.[4] He also played in the Stenhousemuir team that reached the Scottish Cup semi-final in 1903, losing 4-1 to Rangers.[4]


In May 1904, McNair signed for Celtic.[1] He initially played in a variety of positions, but when right-back Donnie McLeod left in 1908, McNair made that position his own.[1] He was an integral part of the Celtic side spearheaded by Jimmy Quinn that won six successive league championships from 1904–05 to 1909–10.[5] McNair had exceptional positional sense and ability to anticipate his opponents' moves.[5] He was a precise tackler and had confidence in his ability to dribble the ball out of his own penalty area rather than rashly boot it forward.[5] He was a calm and composed personality, and his demeanour earned him the nickname 'The Icicle'.[1][5] Willie Maley, the Celtic manager, described McNair as "The coolest, most intelligent player I have ever seen."[4]

1908 Celtic team photo with the League Championship, Scottish Cup and Glasgow Cup trophies; McNair is bottom row, far right

In his 21 years at Celtic McNair played a total of 641 games for the club in major competitions, winning the league championship 12 times and the Scottish Cup six times.[1][5] He played his last game on 18 April 1925, a 1–1 draw with Queen's Park. He was 41 years old and is the oldest player ever to play for Celtic.[6] McNair's appearances total and his trophy and caps count might have been even higher had it not been for the interruption of World War I when the League continued but the Cup and internationals were suspended, considering his success at club level and selection for Scotland continued after the conflict.[7]

Later years[edit]

McNair became manager of Dundee in June 1925. His first two seasons saw Dundee finish mid-table and then fifth. However, after a poor start to season 1927-28, McNair left Dens Park in October 1927. He then left full-time participation in football to become a stockbroker, but still kept some involvement in the game by working as a referee supervisor.[8]



Scottish league champions: (12)
1904–05, 1905–06, 1906–07, 1907–08, 1908–09, 1909-10, 1913–14, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1916–17, 1918–19, 1921–22
Scottish Cup: (6)
1906-07, 1907-08, 1910-11, 1911-12, 1913–14, 1922–23
Glasgow Cup: (8)
1905-06, 1906-07, 1907-08, 1909-10, 1915-16, 1916-17, 1919-20, 1920-21


  1. ^ a b c d e "Alec McNair "The Icicle" bio". Celtic Wiki. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Sat 22 Mar 1919 Scotland 2 Ireland 1". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  3. ^ "Scotland FL Players by Appearances". London Hearts Supporters' Club. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Alec McNair". Historic Warriors (History of Stenhousemuir FC). Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1987). The Glory & The Dream. Grafton. pp. 354–358. ISBN 0-586-20005-3.
  6. ^ "Alec McNair". Celtic FC - Facebook. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
  7. ^ Potter, David (2012). The Celtic Miscellany. The History Press. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  8. ^ Ross, David (14 November 2011). Gaffers. pp. 358–359. ISBN 978-1470927103. Retrieved 25 July 2015.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jim Young
Celtic F.C. captain
Succeeded by
William Cringan