Aberdour, Fife born outside right Sandy Archibald began his football career began with Crossgates Mayflower before he moved in 1915 to the newly formed Dunfermline Juniors, a club established by Dunfermline Athletic to act as a feeder for the senior team. His performances on the right wing did indeed earn him a step up but, typically, The Pars failed to take advantage of talent right on its doorstep. Instead, it was Raith Rovers that spotted Archibald’s potential, signing him in March 1916.
He spent just over a year at Stark’s Park before joining Glasgow Rangers in the spring of 1917, making his debut in a 2-0 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic in the Glasgow Merchants Charity Cup Final in May 1917. His speed, ball skill and powerful shooting helped him become one of the best players the country. In a remarkable seventeen year career at Ibrox he made 666 appearances for Rangers, scored 162 goals and picked up no fewer than thirteen Scottish Championship medals to sit alongside three Scottish Cup wins. He also won eight Scotland caps between February 1921, when he made his debut in a 2-1 victory over Wales at Pittodrie and April 1932, when he played in a 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley, scoring once for his county against Wales in February 1922. He also scored once in 12 representative appearances for The Scottish League between February 1919 and September 1933.
Returning to Fife in November 1934, Archibald became secretary/manager of Raith Rovers, then languishing in the lower half of the Second Division. Under his guidance, the club won promotion in 1937-38 by scoring an incredible 142 League goals, a figure that remains a British record.Although their stay in the top flight was short lived, Archibald retained the full support of the directors and players and it came as a real shock when he resigned to take over at Dunfermline. Formally appointed on 16th October 1939, he helped keep the club going during the Second World War thanks to his dedication and enthusiasm while also working full-time at Rosyth Dockyard.
When the War ended Archibald resumed as full-time manager on a salary of £8 a week plus 5% of any transfer fee received, a deal that was potentially quite lucrative. It hadn’t gone unnoticed that Archibald was putting together a very useful side and offers began to flood in, with Baxter being sold to Barnsley for £2,000, Kelly and Cunningham to Airdrie for £4,500 and £3,000 respectively while Wolves bought Forbes for £1,500. All four went on to enjoy notable careers in English football.
Tragically, Sandy Archibald was not given the opportunity to rebuild the team at East End Park. Scottish football was shocked to learn of his sudden death on the morning of Friday, 29th November 1946, at only 49 years of age.
NB the photograph was taken before The Scottish League’s match against The Football League at Villa Park on 7th November 1928. Archibald scored in a 2-1 defeat.