Rangers Sports: August 1960

The 1960 Sports were probably the best athletics meering held in Scotland that summer.   The National Championships are always the highlight of the season but in terms of the quality of athletes from around the world as well as the best of Scots who took part, the Rangers event was quite outstanding.   Evidence can be found for this statement in several events – eg the Open Long Jump where there were two from India, 2 from AAA’s, 1 from the West Indies plus Scotland’s outstanding David Whyte all jumping from scratch plus two from Pakistan and one from the RAF, as well as six other Scots.    Or have a look at the half mile invitation where the two Scots faced two from AAA’s, one from India and one from the West Indies.   In terms of domestic fields the open mile had such as Bert McKay, Joe Connolly, Jim Mclatchie, Tom O’Reilly and Eddie Sinclair starting of virtually together while there was a Colin Shields and Andy Forbes both off 105 yards.   Handicapping was often queried.   However here’s the programme.





Rangers Sports: August 1958

The Rangers Sports were traditionally held on the first Saturday in August and lasted from the 1880’s until 1962.   They were far and away the biggest sports in the land and one of the biggest in Britain.   They have been written of elsewhere on the site but we have just received copies of the complete programmes for the 1958 and 1960 meetings from Chris Holloway and ill put them on site.   This is the programme for the meeting in 1958.   There is a lot of items of interest in it – of course if you were old enough to remember the meeting, or better still to take part in it, you can wallow in the nostalgia of it all.   The officials are listed on page two with lots of good ex-athletes (Tom Riddell, George Dallas, Dunky Wright), the two handicappers Nangle and McNeillie, the great Fred Evans, starter extra-ordinaire, legendary names like Fred Graham and Willie Armour ….    The rules for the 5-a-side tournament are listed and make for interesting reading, then there are the international athletes from Europe, Africa and the Americas racing against our own Alan Dunbar, Graham Everett, Bert McKay, Andy Brown and the rest.   And rubbing shoulders with them all the club runners entered in the open races – some winning prizes but all gaining inspiration.   Take your time and see them all – TP O’Reilly, Danny Wilmoth, George Rodger, Bill Purdie, Jack Brown, Ewan Murray, John Young, Eddie Sinclair …. 

Shrubb at Ibrox: A Contemporary Report

On 4th November, 1904, Alf Shrubb ran at Ibrox Park in Glasgow and broke the world one hour record + all amateur records from six to eleven miles  +  all professional records from eight to eleven miles + running a distance of 11 miles 1137 yards in one hour.   Read any of the periodicals of the time and the magnitude of what he achieved will maybe sink in.   He was not a Scotsman but he provided one of the great nights of Scottish athletics.   Hugh Barrow has provided the following clippings about the event and they have a place on any site devoted to the history of distance running in Scotland.

Before Strava

All athletes keep records.   Certainly all serious athletes keep records and most have their training diaries kept for decades after they stop running.   Nowadays runners have things strapped to their arms, wrists or ankles that keep their records for them in so much detail that it is pretty well meaningless to them.   But we can look at that kind of thing separately.   We are talking here about race results.   Race results issued on the day were a rarity – the ‘News of the World’ used to have results of the Edinburgh to Glasgow typed out and reproduced on a Gestetner available to all wanted a copy after every two stages of the race.   Years later such events as the Balloch to Clydebank and Clydebank to Helensburgh had race results posted out to those wanting them the following Tuesday or Thursday and this was developed by the Tom Scott and Allan Scally Relay races.   

Before that, runners had to wait till after the last man had finished and the results posted on a board in typed or, more often, hand written form.   Then the runners copied out what results they wanted and either transcribed them into a training diary or pinned them up in the clubrooms the following Tuesday.   Often enough, one runner was designated to wait and ‘get the results’ while the remainder of the club team disappeared off home.   What was wanted differed with the club and the individual.   Most athletes wanted to know what the result of the race (team and individual was), they wanted the results of all of their own club members and teams, and usually they wanted the results of their own close rivals from other clubs.    Just for reference.   But there was one runner from a Glasgow club who wrote out all his main rivals and targets-to-beat in order on a piece of paper and then on the night before the race stuck a pin in the top name and screwed it in and round about.    I don’t know how often it worked but the runner became a minister of religion!

What we have here are results that were taken home and transcribed into a notebook at home by Springburn’s Danny Wilmoth.   First there are his track races: competition was real and earnest and runners competed as often as possible over the summer months and travelled to wherever the race was to be held.   The picture above is Danny coming out of the water jump at the steeplechase at Ibrox.

Now for the cross-country results where teams counted, possibly even more than individuals in some cases and these details were noted.   There were not as many races on the calendar but they all counted.  Clubs held trials to pick teams for the major races such as the McAndrew Relay (the VPAAC trial for places in that relay were said to be harder than the race!) and the Edinburgh to Glasgow.   Results for the E-G trial are included here.

 We can look at the road and cross country results for winter 1963 and 1964.

The International Athlete: Volume 2, number 4

I’m not sure how long the magazine lasted but it was not long after this one.   In it Walter looks forward to publishing it at a rate of one a month but although many of the original features were still present, there were some changes to be seen.   First of all, the pages were not stapled together as in the ‘Scots Athlete’ and the ‘International Athlete’ up to this point.   Second the cover was of paper rather than the shiny card of all previous issues and third, the content was a bit thinner with the only Scottish items being the articles by John Emmet Farrell and Dale Greig.  There were no results, no previews of upcoming races or profiles of Scottish athletes.   The photographs were still of a high quality but the line drawings were poor representations of the subjects and took up space that would, in the opinion of many, have been better filled with domestic items.   The advertisements are of great interest now with the number of books, and the price, taking a large part of the magazine.

The International Athlete: Number One

Issue number one had a shiny white card cover with title and good photograph on the front and advertisements on the back – a pattern that would last beyond the first twelve issues.   Since most effort would have gone into the production of this issue above all others, we can get an idea of what Walter wanted it to be.   He actually talks about it on p21 where he calls it ‘the natural successor to the Scots Athlete’ and says he got the idea from Percy Cerutty.   Anyway, here is the magazine, a few comments below.

And that’s the magazine that Walter wanted to produce.   It’s pretty well what Scotland needs in the 21st century.   There are contributions from far and wide with regular contributions from Emmet Farrell and Brian Mitchell, book reviews, coaching information, a letters page and a supplement with Scottish results in it.   The comment about Percy Cerutty suggesting the production of such an article in Walter’s own comments on p21 is an interesting one.   Was Walter ahead of his time?   Probably!

Dave Cooney as a runner

Dave, second from the right, running in some good company – John Graham and Bill Yate leading the field

1500M 4.12 1977
3000M 8.55 1974 AND 1976
5000M 15.22 1974
10,000M 32.49 1977
10 MILES ROAD 52.03 1986
10 MILES TRACK 53.49 1973
MARATHON 2.44.59 1981

Year Age Group Event Medal Award
1989 M40 5,000M Gold
1994 M45 10,000M Bronze
2001 M50 10K Road Bronze
2010 M60 5K Road Bronze
2014 M65 5,000M Bronze
2015 M65 1,500M Indoors Gold
2015 M65 3,000M Indoors Gold
2016 M65 3,000M Indoors Gold
2017 M65 3,000M Indoors Gold
2019 M70 5K Road Gold

1990 M40 Road Relay Silver
1991 M40 Road Relay Bronze
1997 M40 (M45 My Age) 10K Road Gold
2001 M40 (M50 My Age) 10K Road Silver

1999 M50 5k Road Bronze
2018 M65 Cross Country Gold

1994 in the M45 Age Group

1972 Most Meritorious Performance

1972 1
1973 6
1974 4
1975 4
1976 1
1977 7
1981 7

1976 Cross Country Championships Bronze
1981 Cross Country Championships Silver

1973 Lanarkshire 10 Mile Road Race Silver
1974 Lanarkshire 10 Mile Road Race Silver
1975 Lanarkshire 10 Mile Road Race Bronze
1976 Lanarkshire 10 Mile Road Race Gold
1977 Lanarkshire 10 Mile Road Race Silver

1972 Lanarkshire Road Relay Bronze
1985 Lanarkshire Road Relay Bronze


By David Cooney

I joined Cambuslang Harriers age 21 in January 1971 after having been spotted by Robert Anderson when out running with my younger brother Frank. I had no real background in running apart from playing non competitive football and regularly running from the house to catch a bus or a train.

The harriers were a small club then with former Scottish Marathon Champion Gordon Eadie and Robert Anderson being the 2 most prominent runners. Unfortunately they had been disqualified in the 1970 Edinburgh to Glasgow event for falling 30 minutes behind the leading club. The club’s fortunes were at a low ebb with Robert valiantly trying to hold the club together.

I started training with the club and built up my experience by competing in a number of local Highland Games which were then popular. My first appearance on the track was at Airdrie Highland Games which always attracted a large audience. I lined up at the start with 37 other hopefuls and then it was hell for leather once the gun went. I could say I settled in at the back but it would be truer to say I was shunted to the back by the brisk pace of the field. I got into a rhythm and was pleased that I was not last. Later during the race a huge cheer went up as I was coming off the far side bend. I naively thought the cheers were for a popular local runner who was about to catch me up. Before I knew it 3 runners, 2 of them local, came flying by me – Ian McCafferty, Jim Brown and Ronnie MacDonald! I was being lapped by the elite of Scottish distance runners! Undaunted I kept to my pace and finished 31st out of 37 runners. Being a glutton for punishment I ran the 1,500m handicap 10 minutes later and finished 2nd last. I persevered with some other Highland Games running on either grass or ash tracks and was pleased to record 9.20 for a 3,000m in an inter club event with East Kilbride.

I gained further valuable experience by competing in the road and cross country relays and open races during the winter season of 1971-2 in events such as the McAndrew and Allan Scally Road Relays. These events attracted the top distance runners from the west, east, north and south of Scotland which helped to raise the standard of distance running and greatly fostered team spirit and competition. Unfortunately today with the proliferation of so many different races being held at the weekends top runners can easily avoid one another.

I was delighted to gain my first team medal success in January 1972 when I was the 2nd counter in the Cambuslang team which took the bronze medal in the East Kilbride 6 miles road race. I continued to improve my times during the summer of 1972 competing again in the Highland Games and in inter university competitions. My highlight that summer was taking 46 seconds off my 5,000m pb to record 15.52 on the Westerlands ash track. I also made my 10,000m track debut at Bellahouston clocking 33.12.

November 1972 saw Cambuslang along with other 19 clubs being invited to compete in the Edinburgh to Glasgow 8 man road relay which was the blue ribbon event of Scottish road relays. To be invited was a great honour for the participating clubs especially for Cambuslang considering their disastrous performance in 1970. This was to be one of the best days in my running career both personally and from a team point of view. Although ranked the slowest runner by time on the opening leg I finished strongly in 12th spot and the club ended up in that position to be awarded the most meritorious performance. Cambuslang had exorcised the ignominy of their 1970 performance.

Over the next few years I was pleased to help Cambuslang Harriers achieve team medals in various events such as double bronze medal in the prestigious Tom Scott 10 miles road race, double bronze in the Lanarkshire road relays, gold, silver and 2 bronze medals in the Clydebank to Helensburgh 16 mile road race, gold and silver medals in the Clydesdale 6, double gold in the Mamore 16 miles hill race, double gold in the Cathkin Braes hill race and also gold in the Neilston Pad along with team prizes in a number of Highland Games.

On a personal level I continued to improve my times and lowered my 3,000m track time down to 8.55, my 5,000m time to 15.22 and 10,000m to 32.49. I also ran 53.49 for 5th place in the Scottish 10 miles track championship at Meadowbank.

The midweek Lanarkshire 10 mile road race invariably held over undulating country roads became a favourite event for me in which I finished 2nd to Scottish internationalists Alan Partridge in 1973 and to fellow internationalist Alastair Macfarlane in 1974, 3rd in 1975 again behind Alastair and Davie Lang, first in 1976 ahead of Robert Anderson, Hugh Forgie and David Fairweather and 2nd in 1977 being sandwiched between clubmates Robert and Colin Feechan.

Mamore Hill Race 1975 – team victory

Cathkin Braes 1975 – team victory

1976 was another important landmark year in my running career and in Cambuslang’s progression when I led the club, with back-up from Peter Preston and Robert Anderson, to its first ever podium place – 3rd- in the historic Nigel Barge road race. This was followed shortly by the club achieving its first ever senior team medal (bronze) in the West District cross country championships. On my least favoured surface I was the 6th counter behind Peter Preston, Robert Anderson, Gordon Eadie, Alec Gilmour and Robert Inglis. 5 years later the club went one better and lifted team silver thanks to the efforts of Rod Stone, Eddie Stewart, Peter Preston, Colin Feechan , Robert Anderson and myself.

With the emergence of such talented athletes as Rod Stone, Eddie Stewart and Alec Gilmour and David McShane, Jim Orr and Charlie Thomson in the junior pipe line, allied to the arrival of my first son and increased professional pressures, my contribution to team success naturally diminished but not so my celebration of their growing achievements. While continuing to run my energies were focussed more on team management in road, country and track competitions and on club management having taken up the post of club president in 1980. I occupied the post until 1986 when I stepped down when my 3rd son was born although I continued to serve on the committee. I resumed my post as president in 1992 for a further 27 years only to step down in September 2019. In total my presidency spanned 33 years. In addition, I post regular reports on the club website and in the local papers on the club’s successes. Previously in the early to mid 80s I had been one of the Scottish correspondents for Athletics Weekly. This was an unpaid job albeit I received a free weekly magazine. While I am no longer president I am continuing on the committee and hope to contribute to any future club success in any way I can.

My contribution to team success kicked off again when I turned a vet 40. I was a member of our 8 man team which won silver and bronze in the Alloa to Bishopbriggs road relay in 1990 and 1991. I was also pleased to gain 2 Scottish vets 10K team medals, gold in 1997 and silver in 2001. On an individual basis I took the M40 5,000m gold medal in 1989, a bronze M45 10,000m track and a bronze M50 10K road medal. I also represented the Scottish vets as a M45 in the Cross Country International in 1994 and gained my first UK team medal as part of the M50 Cambuslang Road 5K bronze medallists in 1999.

McAndrew Relay 1989 – winning M40 team

During my running career I had been mainly fortunate in avoiding any serious injuries until I turned 53 years of age. However, long before that I was involved in an accident which could have ended my running career or worse when I was hit from behind by a motor cycle in April 1981 during the Glen Nevis 10 mile road race. With only 1 and ½ miles to go I was lying a close 6th when the incident occurred. I was oblivious to what had happened. According to Lochaber’s Ronnie Campbell, who witnessed the event unfold from behind, a young Lochaber motor cyclist in his eagerness to get back to the finish misjudged overtaking a car which he collided with. He and his bike bounced off the car and smashed into me propelling me high up in the air in summersault style before landing on my head and bouncing along the rough road surface. I must have lost consciousness for a few seconds and was unsure of what had happened until I heard someone groaning nearby. I was struggling to see as my glasses had been knocked off and then I saw this blurred image of someone pinned under his motor bike with the wheels still spinning. Not surprisingly I gave him a mouthful. While the young lad was waiting for an ambulance to come Ronnie kindly took me to A&E where I was examined and discharged despite the large Tom and Jerry like lump at the back of my head. Fortunately the point of impact had been my left buttock rather than my spine. The next morning I found it very difficult to get out of bed and came down the stairs on my bottom as my whole body had stiffened up as a result of the impact. Later that night when it got dark I went out for a one mile very slow hirple thinking that this would hasten my recovery. I persevered with this for the rest of the week. The following weekend I was called back into action much sooner than planned. when doing my team manager at a Scottish Athletics Track League meeting someone did not turn up and I duly stepped in as a replacement and surprised myself with a 16.12  5,000m performance so soon after the accident.

Going back to the theme of injuries I developed problems in my right knee in the late summer of 2002 which eased a little after some rest and physio. I was determined to appear in my 32nd consecutive McAndrew Relay and toed the line. However, 2/3rds of the way round my knee gave way but rather than drop out I hobbled on to the finish. I now found walking even difficult and had no chance of competing in what would have also been my 32nd consecutive Scally Relay. To cut a long story short I had keyhole surgery in that knee in May 2003 and then the other knee required the same treatment later in November. My sabbatical from competition was to last until I was 61 in 2010 when I finished 3rd M60 in the Scottish Vets 5K road champs at Clydebank. During the interim period I was only doing very light jogging while continuing my roles as team manager and as club president.

When turning M65 in 2014 I was 3rd in the Scottish 5,000m track championships and then the following year picked up double gold indoor medals over 1,500m and 3,000m in spite of suffering from shingles and repeated my 3,000m indoor success in 2016 and 2017. The icing on the cake as a M65 came in 2018 when Frank Hurley, Barnie Gough and I narrowly won the UK team gold just pipping Inverness by 3 seconds. I was still recovering from flu and had not run at all for 2 weeks and had only started some tentative jogging in the days before the race. I was still feeling weak but it was a case of finishing for the team on the very testing 2 lap Forres course. After coming off the hills for the second time I knew I would finish and was able to dig in for the final ½ mile on the short parkland grass.

I turned M70 in April of this year and had been training for the Scottish 5K road championship at Silverknowes, Edinburgh, in May. Unfortunately I suffered an ankle injury which greatly interrupted my build up. If I ran one day I had to take the next 3 to 4 days off to let the swelling go down. I had made up my mind not to run and on the Tuesday before the Friday race I phoned Adrian Stott to tell him I was withdrawing if he wished to re-allocate my number. The following day Scottish Athletics announced that there would be individual medals for the various masters age groups. I phoned Adrian again to ask if my number was still available and he said yes. I told him I would try a warm up and then hope to participate. On the night after a very limited warm up I lined up at the back of the field and started cautiously. My strapped-up ankle held up reasonably well until the 3K mark and thereafter it was just a matter of shuffling on one good leg to the line in a personal worst of 24.38. I did not know how I had fared in my category as the entry list had not indicated ages. However, I hoped I might have been in the first 3. The individual computer printout gave me first M70. My painful effort had been worthwhile. Shortly afterwards I discovered that I was the only M70! If I had known that I could have walked round and saved myself from aggravating my injury and which has resulted so far in a 5-month enforced rest from running.


Presentation at Silverknowes in 2019   (Bobby Gavin’s photograph)

(David also ran well in 1974-75, as several result sheets prove: well in front of old rival Brian McAusland in the Nigel Barge Memorial Trophy, who he also defeated in the Balloch to Clydebank; a second-class certificate (behind Brian) in the Tom Scott; and in 1975 a strong run in the Glasgow University 5, in front of young Fraser Clyne (Aberdeen University) and Martin Craven (ESH).)

Interview in 1986 Scottish Marathon Club Magazine, 1986

David Cooney: Team Manager   What others say about him

David Cooney: What they say

First and most comprehensive is by Colin Feechan (above with Paul Doran, Clydesdale Harriers)

When one looks at the Scottish road and cross country record books over the last 40 years there is one club whose team achievements stand over all others, namely Cambuslang Harriers. Whilst some clubs have come and gone (literally), and others are presently dominating, it is a remarkable achievement that a club with an average total membership over all age groups of less than 130 runners has managed to punch above its weight for 4 decades. Whilst no single person can take all of the credit, two ever presents during this period are Robert Anderson (featured elsewhere) and David Cooney, whose running career, and contribution and influence in many roles is now highlighted to show how pivotal he is to this ongoing success story.

With 2018 being the 70th anniversary of the founding of Cambuslang Harriers, David Cooney had been club president for 32 of those years, as well as being a committee member for another 11 years. David joined Cambuslang Harriers as a promising runner in January 1971 and was a major contributor to the growth of the club as an endurance force in Scotland. As an athlete he contributed to early club success in the 1970’s and then in 1980, whilst still competing and having served as a committee member for 6 years, he started his first stint as club president. He withdrew from the role of president for 5 years but continued to serve as a committee member while he and wife Anne spent time with their young family and he then resumed in the role in 1992 when he was re-elected before eventually returning to the “committee back benches” in 2019 after a total of 33 years in the presidency role. It is quite remarkable then that he has also forged a successful haul as an athlete. On top of that David has been the Seniors’ team manager for almost 3 decades, a vital role in which he excels and relishes given his athletics knowledge, experience and commitment to the role.

As an athlete David was always more comfortable on the road and track than over cross country and he was a key member of many of the successful road relay teams of the 1970’s including the 1972 Edinburgh to Glasgow relay team that won the most meritorious award, with David running the first leg and his brother Frank running the last leg. This was the first of six successive outings in this prestigious race, with his final selection being in 1981. David picked up a number of individual awards such as Lanarkshire 10 mile road race champion in 1976, after winning silver and bronze in the 2 preceding years, whilst another silver was forthcoming in 1978 after a great tussle with his aforementioned clubmate Robert Anderson. David enjoyed a fair amount of success throughout the years and as a masters athlete won the M65 Scottish Indoor 3000m championship in 3 successive years from 2015 to 2017, as well as picking up another gold for the 1500m in 2015. His most recent success was the Scottish M70 5k road title in May 2019.

Team prizes are too numerous to remember and recall, however some early ones worth mentioning, as Cambuslang Harriers were on the way up, include the 1972 Lanarkshire road relays bronze alongside Bobby Inglis, Gordon Eadie and Robert Anderson and shortly after his many Senior team victories were recorded in races such as the Neilston Pad and the Clydebank to Helensburgh road race.

The club’s upward momentum continued in early 1976 with bronze team medals in the prestigious Nigel Barge Road Race thanks to David, Peter Preston and Robert Anderson. Another team title Gold medal was secured by David, this time as a masters athlete, in April 1997 at the SAF championships with the aid of teammates John Bates, Sandy Eaglesham and Murray McDonald.

Although not his favourite terrain, David was a member of a bronze winning team for the club in the West District cross country championships in January 1976 and in an M65 Gold medal winning team at the British Masters cross country championships in 2018 alongside Frank Hurley and Barnie Gough. The 1976 result was significant in that it was a breakthrough achievement for the club at the time, the club’s first ever district senior team medals. His fellow team members that day were Peter Preston, Robert Anderson, Gordon Eadie, Alex Gilmour and Bobby Inglis. What happened over the country in the in-between years!! Clubmate Colin Feechan insists the quickest he saw David run over the country was when they were approached by a herd of young inquisitive cows while out on a club training run organised by then club captain Robert Anderson in the late 1970’s, it ended up as “every man for himself” to escape from the cows as David put in an Olympic level effort to reach and jump over the safety of the fence first, whilst Robert casually caught up laughing his head off at the antics of his grown up clubmates!

David’s commitment to the club and to Scottish athletics has always also gone above and beyond the basic role of president/committee member. In the 1970’s and 1980’s he was a regular contributor to both Athletics Weekly and the Scottish Runner magazine. David wrote an interim history of the first 50 years of Cambuslang Harriers in 1998. He also completed an extensive article on the club’s masters athletes achievements for the Scottish Veteran Harriers Club magazine December 2017 edition. He continues to keep the club in the public eye with his legendary race reports on social media and the local newspaper Rutherglen Reformer, and he publishes a monthly updated list of individual and team achievements to club members from success at county level through to national success and national selection for all age groups, which by the end of each season usually numbers more than 20 pages in total which in itself reflects on the continuing success of the club.

As well as administration duties within the club David has also for many years been the main link to club sponsors; the Regional Sports Council; The Cambuslang Rugby and Sports Club and the South Lanarkshire Athletics Partnership.

In his 48 (almost 49) years as a Cambuslang Harrier, David has overseen and driven (along with the likes of Robert Anderson and Mike Johnston) the transition of the club from a local niche mainly senior club to a nationally recognised male and female club successful over country; road; track; trail and hill across all age groups from under 11’s to over 70’s. The cornerstone of the approach has been to develop a family friendly club catering for all levels of participation from health and social to international. David’s emphasis and direction for the club is on participation, competition and the team element of running, and in particular supporting and targeting club participation and success at district and national level and above over all terrains, distances and age groups.

However there’s much more to David’s spell as president than that. David has always striven to ensure that Cambuslang Harriers have the right processes and volunteers in place to develop and support the athletes whether it be local; national or even international level. He is always quick to acknowledge the role of others – his many committee members over the years, some of them very long term like Owen Reid, Dave Thom and Colin Feechan; club stalwart Robert Anderson and Des Yuill who was president from 1986 to 1992; the coaching team led by Mike Johnston; the many volunteers and whilst it doesn’t happen without support equally it doesn’t happen unless somebody is driving it all forward.

David was shortlisted by Scottish Athletics for the Volunteer of the year award in 2018, and he was presented with the SALSC Services to Sport Award in 2019.  The photograph below shows Dave receiving this award.

It is as senior team manager that David comes into his own. He always has a finger on the pulse of athlete’s fitness and persuades/encourages/cajoles the best possible team onto the start line for the major races. In the 1980’s and 1990’s he remarkably kept a strong and competitive track team participating in the Scottish Track leagues Division 1 and 2, a remarkable feat for a club with no home track.

The key to David’s incredible success as team manager includes all of the little important tasks that he does consistently to make a difference, but is sometimes very difficult to articulate i.e. alerting athletes to key race dates well in advance, keeping in touch with non local athletes, ensuring our race entries include these athletes where appropriate, submitting entries on time, providing athletes with important race day information, team declarations and number distribution, making sure the club is not misrepresented via results (accuracy, clubs running ineligible athletes etc.). On race days he provides encouragement and motivation to all competing athletes. This is followed up post-race with acknowledgement to all athletes and volunteers, individually where possible, on their efforts and contribution on the day, and of course his extensive race reports. All of the above, whilst easily stated, involves extensive planning, commitment and time. To do this consistently over a period of almost 4 decades shines a light on why the name Cambuslang Harriers appears so often on the medal table at district and national team championships.

Beyond district and national participation, David was also the driving force behind the club competing in the European Clubs cross country championships in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the regular appearances at the English 12-stage road relays, and of course British Masters team/relay races where team victories have been picked up at every age group, much to the disdain of some English race commentators, although the club is warmly welcomed by athletes and race organisers alike who appreciate the commitment and logistics required to compete at these events.

Whilst a variety of factors come into play to explain why a relatively small club has enjoyed such lasting success, David looks for all athletes to share a sense of ambition imbued with a strong club spirit. This has now become a very important club tradition which is evident for all to see on race day. Loyalty from athletes to the club cannot be overlooked, but has to be earned, and the athlete testimonials below say it all.

His period in charge of the club incorporates great success across the age groups for individuals and teams from Under 13 to M65 Masters on road; trail; track and hills. A few highlights of club achievements during his stewardship include:  

  • AT Mays Trophy for the top male cross country club across all age groups at the National Cross Country Champs awarded 23 years out of the 31 years it’s been contested
  • National Cross Country Champions 16 times including 8 in a row (plus 8 silver and 7 bronze)
  • National male and female age group champions 43 times
  • West District Team Champions 23 times.

David’s unwavering commitment, passion and knowledge of athletics, plus the fact the “red and white” of Cambuslang Harriers runs through his DNA is something that has played a vital role in putting this club on the athletics map. David has taken immense pleasure and great satisfaction in witnessing the rise of Cambuslang Harriers from being a small parochial club to becoming one of the leading Scottish clubs on road, country and trail.  48 years and 8 months later he admits that he still gets the same buzz and sense of pride when a Cambuslang Harrier athlete or a Cambuslang Harrier team does well in competition, and the bad news for any rivals is that he has no plans in standing down from his Team Manager role anytime soon.

Quotes from club athletes

Robert Gilroy “Coming from Burnkank I’ve known David for many many years. What a great guy he is and what he has contributed to Cambuslang Harriers is unbelievable! When you’re in races or relays you always hear his shouts of encouragement and it gives you that extra gear. I think you can pick out David’s shouts from a mile away and it gives you that extra push to the finish. As others will testify when you’re injured he emails you regularly to see how you’re getting on and how you are doing and that means a lot. He has done so much for myself including taking me to/from races often, and he has never complained when I ask him to stop at the bookies on the way home!! I am so lucky to be part of a great running club Cambuslang Harriers, take a bow Mr David Cooney.”

Stevie Wylie “I have known David for almost 34 years and it is fair to say he has played a major part in keeping me involved in athletics throughout that time. He welcomed me into Cambuslang Harriers and he has been an inspiration to myself and many others in the club. His commitment to the club always makes you try that wee bit harder in races as you know he takes great pride in all that the club achieve and to me he is what Cambuslang Harriers is all about. He never forgets his athletes even when they are out with long term injuries, he takes time to give you a call and to offer advice and encouragement. David is just a guy who gets the best out of everyone in the club. To me he is Cambuslang’s Alex Ferguson .”

Jamie Reid “Memories of David Cooney – well, where do we all start? I’m sure the historical aspects of David’s time will be well covered by others. My main discussions with David have been on team selection and races to target and more general racing.

With regards to team selection, David has no axe to grind with any member – the only thought is what is best for Cambuslang Harriers. This, of course, can ruffle a few feathers but if you’re honest it is absolutely the correct approach. This has been tried and tested over the many years and I can’t honestly remember one team decision that he has gotten wrong. All he asks in return is honesty as to your fitness levels, and I have always taken this on board and tried to show form in advance of any race selections.

When I joined Cambuslang, I had a broken bone in my left foot which was in plaster. David was regularly on the phone during this time, encouraging me and letting me know he was thinking of me and wishing me well. The value of this support cannot be overstated to what that did for me and for the countless others over the years. I’m also sure he has kept many athletes in the sport – simply because he cared and kept in touch by being proactive.

After that, there was a regular phone call – probably once a week – to have a chat. Again, this was hugely motivating and was sure to help get me out of bed at 6am the next morning. This was a fairly regular pattern for me and I looked forward to a chat, as I wasn’t making it up to the club as often.

When I was fortunate enough to have a family, the chats weren’t as frequent – getting kids to bed became priority – and now the odd email is enough to keep me going. Quite simply, if it wasn’t for David, I don’t think I’d still be getting out for a run, let alone racing for the best men’s cross country club in Scotland.”

Eddie Stewart “Dave is one of these ‘backroom guys’ who you very rarely hear or read about but, without his tremendous enthusiasm and desire for perfection, the sport would never survive. He always amazes me with his memory of races, times, positions of runners etc from 20 or 30 years ago. He knows where I finished in events that I can’t even remember running in. I’m not only talking about Cambuslang runners, but all clubs! He has been one of the backbones of Cambuslang for the last 40-odd years and has always been there at races collecting and distributing numbers, phoning round club runners, trying to make sure that Cambuslang will have the best possible team turned out on the day. This is very often a thankless task, when you get late call-offs due to illness or injury. I think he has probably contributed a great deal to BT’s profit margin over the years.

He has been a tireless worker for the sport all the time I have known him. He loves to see Cambuslang being successful but, at the same time, he’s one of the first to congratulate other club runners or teams if we are beaten. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of rules and regulations regarding the status of runners competing for first or second claim clubs, and will scrutinise entry lists to see if any club is fielding an athlete who doesn’t have the required clearance. Apart from his love of athletics and, of course, his family (his wife Anne and their three sons with their families), Dave’s other passion is Celtic FC and I’m sure he has a second encyclopaedia in his brain, containing all the football facts and figures for the last 40 or 50 years Quite an amazing man!”

Club captain Iain Reid “My memory of David is the time when team selections and decisions to race were done over the phone instead of email. You had decided not to run for whatever reason. David would phone you up. You would be brave and tell David “I’m going to give this race a miss”. There would then be a very long awkward silence (it always felt longer on the phone). It was like Russian Roulette! You then speak up first and give your justification and before you know it you’ve been entered for the race. Cambuslang Harriers are therefore better off!!”

Kerry-Liam Wilson

“David Cooney: If clubs didn’t have someone like DC they simply wouldn’t survive. 



Always gets the best out of his guys.

Tells shit jokes!”

Dave Cooney as a Runner   David Cooney: Team Manager


David Cooney: Team Manager

David receiving the AT Mays Team Trophy from Leslie Roy in 2019

One man in his time plays many parts and that is as true in athletics as in any other walk of life.   Certainly David has more than played his part in the success of Cambuslang for decades not just for years.   Starting as a runner approximately 50 years ago he contributed as we have seen to many triumphs for the club.   His whole hearted commitment to the one club in his life is seen graphically in his run in the Mamore Hill Race but he also contributed seriously to the club’s most successful years as a very capable administrator and team manager.    Unlike many very good club servants who turn their hand to every single aspect of club activities – coaching, officiating, administration, team management, recruitment, running when required and so on – Dave concentrated his efforts on team management, and specifically senior and veteran teams.   As a result his considerable energies were concentrated on the one aspect of club organisation.   This specialisation and drive were key factors in the develpoment of the club.    The following brief summary of club involvement gives some illustration of this.

 * President of Cambuslang Harriers in two spells – from 1980 to 1986 and then a mammoth period from 1992 to 2019.  

* Track& Field Team Manager (Senior Men) from 1976 to 1994

* Cross Country and Road Team Manager for Seniors and for the Masters Team from 1980 to date

*Club Publicist from 1980 to date     * Athletics Weekly Correspondent from 1980 to 1986

Although he limited it, that is a lot of work for any club member to undertake – especially when you add in work as a Secondary School History teacher and commitments to his family.   The work in itself is considerable at any level – doing it successfully is another matter and there is no measure that you could use that would say he has been unsuccessful.   We only need to look at the statistics from 1980.   It is almost impossible in a profile like this to detail all that the club won while David was team manager, but there is enough below to indicate that his reign was not one with a few lucky trophies, maybe won by one or two outstanding athletes.   It has been consistent good performances.   Good runners, encouraged and organised by a back up led by the team manager.

Event 1st 2nd 3rd Event 1st 2nd 3rd Event 1st 2nd 3rd Event 1st 2nd 3rd
National CC 16 8 7 District CC 24 11 3 Edinburgh Glasgow 1 6 5 Six Stage 6 7 11
National Relay 5 5 5 District Relays 8 5 7 National Masters CC 18 8 3 Masters Relay 14 4 2

The photograph at the top of the page shows David receiving the AT Mays Trophy on behalf of Cambuslang Harriers from Leslie  Roy in 2019.   This Trophy is awarded to the club that scores the lowest aggregate number of points over the five races at the national cross country championships,.   ie the club with the best all round performances over all five age groups.   First introduced in season 1988-89, it has been won by the club 23 times out of a possible 31 to date.  

By winning the national cross-country championship, Cambuslang Harriers were automatically invited to take part in the European Club Championships every year.    In David’s opinion the club’s bestperformances were 

Albufeira 8th team Andy Beattie/ Ross Arbuckle/ Eddie Stewart/ Jim Orr
Marignane 6th team Graeme Croll/Charlie Thomson/ Eddie Stewart/Jim Orr
Alicante 8th team Graeme Croll/Eddie Stewart/ Mark Gormley/Charlie Thomson
Albufeira 6th team Tommy Murray/Graeme Croll/Charlie Thomson/Jim Orr
In the 1993 version of the race, Tommy Murray finished 19th to be first UK runner and club in 6th was first UK team.   As he says 
“We did compete for a few years afterwards but with weakened teams as the Europeans was now held the week before the Scottish.”
These are the bare statistics.   As David says later, many clubmen worked hard to make them possible (and he names them) but how did he himself become involved?   We asked him about it but before going on to the cross-country and road teams, we should have a look at the club’s 17 years in the Senior Men’s Track League.   The League had been going for some time but at this point it was at its very best – especially after the mid 80’s when there were 5 divisions, four of 8 clubs and one of 6.   Many top class athletes with tenuous Scottish connections came up to take part and the standard was very high.   David was the Cambuslang team manager here.

Club Track Team Manager for the Scottish League 1977 to 94.

How did it start?

From memory I took it on as probably no one else wished the job.  It was an onerous one.  We did not have a proper track and being mainly a road and cross-country club we were lacking in sprinters and field events athletes.  We were always looking for athletes to compete for us in the sprints and in the field events.  Cambuslang Rugby club provided some and Robert Anderson recruited some senior pupils from local secondary schools.  Before each meeting I would make about 40 phone calls the week before to our athletes and then followed this up a few days before the event.  It was sometimes frustrating when after all my efforts some individuals did not turn up which caused problems on the day in asking some athletes to double or triple up on events.

 Non-appearance by athletes and having to step in to gain some precious points were not unusual in my role as team manager. I remember travelling up to Aberdeen one April and I spent my time marking Higher History essays there and back. Our bus was delayed and when we arrived I hurriedly handed in the tem sheet, changed my shoes and then joined the other 10,000m runners who were already lining up. Another time, having submitted the team sheets and run a 10,000m along with other management duties, I decided to have a can of Irn Bru, a Mars Bar and a packet of crisps. I was not long finished when word arrived that one of our 5,000m runners would not now be coming. I can tell you it was a painful run for me. Another episode which comes to mind was submitting the team sheet and then going to the hammer to act as an official. When it came to the start of the 3rd and final round I stepped in to take a throw as our designated hammer thrower had not arrived. There is a first time for everything. I managed to release the hammer after swinging it from side to side (no fancy turns for me). On release I almost fell out of the circle but just managed to hold my balance and record a legitimate throw. I almost made double figures! However, some precious points were gained.

During the period we had in the league we stayed mainly in division 2 although we twice won promotion to division 1 and were relegated twice to division 3.  It was becoming harder and harder to find enough athletes to compete and at the start of the 1995 seasoned I contacted our regular competitors to gauge their interest.  With the response being very lukewarm the decision was taken to withdraw from the league.

Undoubtedly gaining promotion to division 1 was the highlight of my involvement as track team manager.  The success there was due to our strength at middle distance and to the acquisition of some talented sprinters/jumpers and field events athletes from the defunct Clydebank AC.

 Road and XC Team Manager

How did it start?

In the early to mid 70s Robert Anderson as club captain was the key person with regards to the senior men and young athletes.  From the mid 70s on I shared the responsibility for the seniors with Robert.  Selection for road and country relays involved having a time trial before the opening event of the season i.e. the McAndrew Road Relay.  Allocation of places to the various teams would be mainly based on the times recorded although consideration would be given to an athlete(s) missing the trial but who had competed well in the previous month.  Normally selection for the 8 man Edinburgh to Glasgow Relay was based on performances in the relays leading up to it with the Allan Scally Relay being the final decider for any vacant places.

At times when Robert was not club captain the new captain would be involved in the selection process.  Various captains in the late 70s, the 80s and 90s such as Alec Gilmour, Eddie Stewart, Jim Orr and Charlie Thomson would contribute to the selection discussion.  Again selection on previous times was the major guiding factor but sometimes the horses for courses judgement was used especially when a Cross-Country course was known to be particularly tough which would suit one athlete over another.

From 1988 onwards when our veteran men first came to the fore Robert, the club captain and I were the selectors and in time a veterans captain also became involved.

The current selection set up for senior men and women now involves lead club coach Mike Johnston, current club captain Iain Reid and I,  with the same trio plus Colin Feechan for the masters men and women.  Mike is able to give good guidance on the current form and training performances of our athletes while I can provide up to date information on athletes living out with the local area whom I am regularly in touch with.


Having been involved with the club for almost 5 decades it is difficult to mention all the highlights as at the time any national team medal is special.  However, there are several which stand out. 

Naturally our first ever senior national medal in the 1980 Scottish 4 man Cross Country relay is special.  Our quartet of Eddie Stewart, Rod Stone, Alec Gilmour and Gordon Rimmer beat pre race favourites and title holders Clyde Valley who had Jim Brown and Ronnie McDonald in their team.  Such was Clyde Valley’s confidence in retaining the trophy they had returned it pre race bedecked with red ribbons which added to the occasion when our runners went up to collect the trophy.

Our first victory in the national 6 stage road relay also stands out.  With the final long leg to be run we were second to Edinburgh Southern thanks to the efforts of Tom Ulliott, Rod Stone, Jim Orr, Eddie Stewart and Charlie Thomson.  Alec Gilmour who had come off the night shift was tasked with reeling the Edinburgh Southern runner in.  I was standing about ½ mile from the finishing line alongside the Edinburgh bugler when an Edinburgh vest appeared on the horizon.  At this point the bugler sounded his victory cry.  However, he was premature in blowing as it turned out the Edinburgh vest was that of a 5th leg runner for them and right behind him the red and white vest of Alec came into view.  The gritty Alec had delivered the team gold for Cambuslang.  Incidentally Tom, Jim, Eddie, Charlie and Alec all trained with Brian’s renowned Wednesday night’s track group comprising runners from various Glasgow and Lanarkshire clubs.

The club’s first and only Edinburgh to Glasgow Road Relay is also worthy of a mention.  Victory was delivered courtesy of Charlie Thomson, Calum Murray, Tony McCartney, Andy Beattie, Eddie Stewart, Alec Gilmour, Paul McAvoy and Jim Orr.

The first senior men’s Scottish XC team win in 1988 which was the start of 8 consecutive team victories is also fondly remembered.  Our 6 counters were all inside the top 18 finishers – Alec Gilmour, Colin Donnelly, Eddie Stewart, Ross Arbuckle, Jim Orr and Charlie Thomson.

In contention too is the over 40 men’s first win in the 1999 UK 8 man road relay championships. The team of Barnie Gough, Dave Dymond, Freddy Connor, Frankie Barton, Charlie McDougall, Eddie Stewart, Frank Hurley and Archie Jenkins upset the apple cart to gain a surprise victory from their more fancied English rivals.  This win was very special to the club as it was its first UK team championship medal and it did not go down well with a certain English journalist who considered the Cambuslang runners to be “Scottish raiders” in what was a UK event!   He even asked if Eddie was the son of a certain Lachie Stewart!

The Scottish Road Relays in 2016 saw Cambuslang sweep the boards in the senior men and masters over 40 and M50 events.  The honours on that day went to the senior sextet of Iain Reid, Stuart Gibson, Craig Jardine, Robert Gilroy, Ryan Thomson and Kyle McLellan, the M40 sextet of Tony McCutcheon, Jamie Reid, Alick Walkinshaw, Kerry-Liam Wilson, Mick O’Hagan and Kenny Campbell and the M50 quartet of Paul Thompson, Chris Upson, Colin Feechan and Stan Mackenzie.

On the ladies front the club had its first female Scottish team victory in 2012 when the U20 trio of Alex Lamond, Katie Bristow and Mairi Brown took the honours.

The 2017 Scottish 10 mile road championship victory for our senior ladies by masters runners Bernie O’Neil, Erica Christie and Jennifer Reid stands out especially when seeing the ladies’ joyful reaction when the team results were announced.

Finally the fact that the club has won the AT Mays Trophy, awarded to the best male club across the 5 age groups in the Scottish XC Championships, on 23 out of a possible 31 occasions since its introduction in 1989 speaks volumes about all our members who have contributed to this undoubted achievement


None.  No one team has a divine right to win national medals.  All our athletes can do is to give 100% on the day which they do.  If we lose or are not in the medals then our competitors have deserved their medals.  

 At the National Road Relays Cambuslang men won the senior race, the M40 race and the M50 Race.   All the runners with their medals.


Again over such a lengthy period so many people have made significant contributions to take Cambuslang forward from being a small parochial club to one of Scotland’s most successful clubs.  The contribution of individuals can be measured in terms of the length of that contribution either as an official, coach or as an athlete and in a number of cases as a combination of these. It is impossible to mention everyone here and I hope that no one is offended if their name does not appear on the list.

With regards to officials Des Yuill and Jim Scarborough gave great service to the club from the early 1970s to the early 90s as did Cameron Brown during the 1980s and 90s.  Likewise, Fiona Pollock, Robert Anderson’s daughter, is currently heavily involved as a club official and along with Pamela Stephen is looking after the youngest group of athletes. 

Mike Johnston and Owen Reid stand out as long serving and successful coaches from 1989 when they took their first coaching badges to the present day.  Mike, in addition to his own coaching role is currently involved in mentoring a number of relatively new coaches to the club such as Colin Stephen, Iain Crawford, David Stirling, Simon Gold, Lynn Angley and Dale Woods.

From a strictly running point of view club has been blessed with a large number of committed and talented athletes such as Alec Gilmour, Eddie Stewart, Colin Donnelly, Charlie Thomson, Jim Orr, Mark McBeth, Stevie Wylie, Graeme Croll, Archie Jenkins, Charlie McDougall, Frankie Barton, Jack Brown, Jamie Reid, Robert Gilroy and Kerry-Liam Wilson and emerging young talented runners such as Ryan Thomson, Craig Jardine, Gavin Smith, Jamie Mackinnon Drew Pollock and Chris McLew.  It is worth mentioning that Charlie has now been a club member for 40 years and has 9 Scottish XC team gold medals in his possession as does Colin Donnelly with Eddie Stuart on 8.

Finally there is a group of club stalwarts who have contributed both as runners and as a club officials or helpers.  Iain MacCorquodale and Stuart Gibson are past club captains with Iain Reid being the current one.  Barnie Gough, Frank Hurley, Colin Feechan and Dave Thom have always been great club servants as runners and officials/helpers.  Ian Gordon too played his part as both a club official and master runner and Des Dickson has now stepped up to serve the club in his capacity as the new club president while recently winning his first ever  national individual and team medals.  Robert Anderson stands out for his 50 years plus service as a competitor, coach, club captain, committee member, recruiting officer and club groundsman.  Robert has imbued me and the club with the desire for Cambuslang Harriers to be the best it can be.

Without the contribution of those mentioned and of others too numerous to include Cambuslang would not have become the club it is today.

David receiving the SALSC  award from the SALSC Chairman, Ken Owens

Of course it is important to read what some of the athletes who have worked with him have to say about him and we have noted these on another page, and it is clear from them that David had a major part to play in the development of the club.   He has been President, with one six year gap, from 1980  to 2019 which also coincides with the development of the club from almost a village club to an international club.   President and team manager for the most significant period in the club’s history.    The photograph is of him receiving an award for Services to Sport this year – 2019.   Well deserved.   Any sport could do with more of his sort.   David would admit that he could not have done as much without the continued support and understanding of his wife Anne.

Dave Cooney as a runner    What Others Say about David


The International Athlete

Walter Ross was a real athletics enthusiast.   A publisher he was responsible for the remarkable ‘The Scots Athlete’ that appeared in 1946 and wss published through to 1958.   It was a valuable document and much appreciated at the time but it did not make money – in fact it cost him money to keep it going.   Partly to the post-war austerity regime ( a real and necessary regime, not at all like the Cameron/Osborne version) athletes tended to borrow other folks’s copies.   Reluctant to stop publishing an athletics magazine he tried to get a wider audience by starting ‘The International Athlete’ from autumn 1958.   It was – I would guess – less successful than the original magazine.   He still published all the championship results in detail, and still covered the doings of top Scots athletes, he still had Emmet Farrell writing the running commentary and Dale Greig was reporting on the women’s scene but the colour had gone from the cover, there were fewer photographs  and coverage of races such as the McAndrew Relay and the Nigel Barge road race was minimal and the magazine only lasted for three years.   

It’s presence should be recognised however and having borrowed the bound copy of Volume One (ie 12 issues) from Danny and Molly Wilmoth I reproduce the covers of the magazine here and may copy some individual issues to give the flavour of the magazine.   I also had three of the four copies of the second volume that I had in my possession and they are here too.

Number 1: November 1958 – Graham Everett winning the AAA’s Mile from Murray Halberg in 4:06.6

This entire magazine is available  here

Number 2: December 1958

Arthur Rowe

Number 3: January 1959

John Wrighton, Southgate Harriers, winner of the European m in 46.3 seconds

Number 4: March 1959

Stan Eldon, winner of the International Cross-Country Championship

Number 5  May 1959

Fred Norris leading from Basil Heatley and Derek Ibbotson in his record breaking 10 miles. 

Number 6: July 1959

Decathletes Valeriy Kutznetzov and Rafer Johnson, world record holder and former world record holders

Number 7: September 1959

Galina Popove, Russian Sprinter 

Number 8: November 1959

Malcolm Yardley, Birchfield Harriers, 440 yards champion 

Number 9: February 1960

Gerry North, Lancashire, Inter Counties CC Champion

Number 10: April 1960

Basil Heatley winning the English CC Championship

Number 11: May/June 1960

Don Bragg (USA, vaulting 15′ 0″ to set a new British All-Comers Record

Number 12

Gordon Pirie winning the 3000m at the British Games

Volune 2, Number 1: October 1960

Glenn Davis (USA) World Record holder, 400m hurdles 49.2 seconds, Olympic champion.

Volume 2 Number 2: February 1961

Not noted in the magazine but it’s Herb Elliott, right, running with Mike Turner while at Cambridge

Volume 2 Number 4

Robbie Brightwell, fastest British sprinter of all time when the picture was published: 46.1 seconds.

The compete issue is to be found  here

An indication of how the magazine was doing is the fact that the cover, which had to start with been stiff card had been changed to paper which meant that th cover picture was not as clear as it had been.  In addition, the many photographs that had adorned the ‘Scots Athlete’ were much fewer in number, their place taken by line drawings and sketches. It would be good to have a copy of Vol 2, number 3 to complete the set.   As we noted at the top, we will scan in the entire first number of the magazine to give an idea of what Walter had in mind when he started the ‘International Athlete’,  the first edition of any publication is always seen as a shop window for future issues, and probably another two or three.