Douglas Water, Lanarkshire born centre half Willie Cringan joined First Division Sunderland from his hometown club Douglas Water Thistle in 1910 making his Football League debut that November against Tottenham Hotspur. He played just enough games in 1912-13, ten, to win a League Championship medal, and by the time that peacetime football was suspended in England due to the advent of the First World War, he had played 82 games for The Wearsiders, scoring 3 goals. During the War he returned to Scotland, initially on loan with Wishaw Thistle in 1915, and joined Ayr United in January 1916, before signing for Glasgow Celtic for £600 in May 1917.
In six years at Celtic he played 214 games scoring 9 goals becoming Club Captain in 1921, winning The Scottish League Championship in 1919 and 1922, and The Scottish Cup in 1923. Cringan was first selected for the Scotland on 26 February 1920, captaining the side in a 1-1 draw against Wales. He was not selected again until 1923 but would eventually win a total of five international caps, three as captain. He also played 4 times for The Scottish League between February 1919 and October 1921. He joined Third Lanark in October 1923 and Motherwell a year later, scoring once in 16 appearances for ‘Well, also playing for Inverness Thistle in 1925 and Bathgate in 1926 before his eventual retirement.
Willie’s younger brother Jimmy played over 250 games for Birmingham City.