Crossan Paddy Image 2 Heart of Midlothian 1922

Crossan Paddy Image 2 Heart of Midlothian 1922


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Right back Paddy Crossan was born at Addiewell in West Lothian in 1894. He had played for Addiewell Celtic, Seafield Athletic and, like team mate Willie Wilson, Arniston Rangers from whom he joined Heart of Midlothian in 1911, going almost straight into their first team, his Scottish League debut coming in a defeat to Raith Rovers at Starks Park in February 1912. His future seemed bright, he was reputedly the quickest man in Scotland, and he was honoured by The Scottish League, playing in a 1-1 draw against the Southern League at The Den in October 1914.

Then came The Great War, and Crossan, along with the rest of that great Heart of Midlothian team, 16 in total, joined the Army. In France, he wrote “I think that instead of fighting we should take the Fritzes on at football. I am certain we would do them.” He was wounded in the foot and gassed, but unlike several in the team he came back to Tynecastle to delight the crowd with his own inimitable back play. It was said of him at the time “How the crowd loved his mammoth kicking, his daring interventions, and his flying tackles!  He was breeziness itself, and many a time his dauntless courage inspired a jaded Hearts team to renewed efforts. He was always a personality on the field, and there was no resisting the gay abandon of his play.”

In 1920 and 1921 he was given benefit matches by his club.  In the first game, on a dull evening, 10,000 people attended, and in the second, the crowd approached 12,000 – sure proof of his popularity with the Edinburgh public. He played his last first team match for Hearts in a Scottish Cup tie at Kilmarnock in February 1925, retiring from football in 1926 and he died in 1933 from the effects of the First World War gas attack, not yet aged 40.

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