Born in Arbroath, Angus, centre half Albert Buick started his career with hometown Scottish League club Arbroath in 1893, where he stayed until 1896. In July of that year he joined Heart of Midlothian, answering an advertisement from the then reigning Scottish Cup holders, making his debut against Leith Athletic in August 1896. He appeared infrequently as Hearts won the 1896-97 Scottish League title but became a more regular player the following season. Such was his progress that in February 1899 he was chosen to represent The Scottish League, playing in a 3-1 defeat to The Irish League at Solitude, Belfast. He played in Hearts’ 1901 Scottish Cup win, where the Edinburgh side defeated Celtic 4-3 in the Final at Ibrox, and was he was club captain by the time the side reached the 1903 Final, where they lost 2-0 to Rangers at Celtic Park.
Buick’s appearance led many commentators to consider him an unlikely defender. He measured only 5 foot 7 inches tall, had a slight stoop and his long, gangly arms earned him the nickname “Spider”. However, his all-action style and stamina earned him many admirers and two international caps for the Scotland in March 1902. These came against Ireland at Grosvenor Park, Belfast, and Wales at Cappielow (Greenock Morton’s home ground), and Buick scored in both games as Scotland won 5-1 on each occasion. In March 1903 he was again chosen for The Scottish League, playing in a 3-0 defeat to The Football League at Celtic Park. However the stature of his contemporary and rival for the centre half position, Alex Raisbeck, was said to have ensured he didn’t win more honours.
Buick moved south to Southern Football League side Portsmouth in May 1903 after 7 goals in 100 appearances for The Jambos, and was eventually joined by six former Hearts team mates. He spent eight seasons with Pompey, being a very popular club captain, and most notably helped the team to an upset 2-1 victory over Manchester United in an FA Cup replay at Bank Street (United’s then home ground in Clayton) in January 1907. He was described the same year “although not of the robust type of player, he has plenty of pluck and stamina, and tackles fearlessly.” He eventually retired in 1911 after 7 goals in 253 appearances for Pompey.
NB in the photograph taken on 13th October 1906 Buick shakes hands with Fulham goalkeeper and captain Jack Fryer ahead of Portsmouth’s Southern League match with Fulham at Fratton Park. Fulham went on to win the 1906-07 Southern League Championship.