KILSYTH Rangers team of the 1953-54 season was described by renowned sports journalist, Laurie Cumming, of the Scottish Daily Express, as the greatest junior side he had ever seen.
They had unprecedented success that year, and the following season won the Scottish Junior Cup.
Great teams are built on a solid foundation, and there was no more solid defence than that which helped take the club to these heights.
A key member of the team was undoubtedly right wing half John O’Brien, who sadly passed away recently.
He had come to Rangers at the start of the 1953-54 season from County Juveniles and established himself in the right wing half position.
John was not the tallest but his work in the building trade had given him a strong physique and his speciality was throw-ins.
He could throw the heavy, old fashioned balls into the goalmouth from anywhere within 20 yards of the corner.
His contribution to the 1954-55 cup winning team was crucial to their success.
In the replayed final at Hampden, Rangers were being outplayed by Duntocher until, in the words of the match reporter, “the half back pairing of O’Brien and Glover started to take a grip of the game”, and the rest is history.
At the end of that season John moved up to Greenock Morton.
In recent years he was often seen at games involving Kilsyth Rangers, usually in the company of fellow team members from that era, John Glover and Denis Mochan.
Representatives of the club attended his funeral last Monday at St Bride’s Church and Westburn Cemetery, Cambuslang.