Born in Glasgow, half back John “Jackie” Gardiner joined famous amateur club Queen’s Park straight from school and made his Scottish League debut in a 3-1 win at Leith Athletic in September 1931, playing centre half for them for much of the 1930’s until being forced to retire due to a cruciate ligament injury. He was known as fearless in the tackle and good in the air, described as “a strong player and a resolute tackler… he is a tireless worker”. He made 194 appearances for Queen’s Park between September 1931 and April 1937.
He won 3 Scotland Amateur International caps against England, Ireland and Wales and also toured Norway with Queen’s Park in 1933. His greatest honour came during the 1936 Olympics Games when he represented Great Britain twice, his debut came in a 2-0 victory over China and his final game against Poland in a 5-4 defeat. During the game against Poland he was booed by the crowd for body charging several players and knocking over Polish left winger Hubert Gad at a time when Great Britain were losing 5-1.
Gardiner returned to Queen’s Park after his playing career and taught a young Alex Ferguson, Ferguson had complained that an opponent had bitten him during the game and Gardiner told Ferguson to “bite him back”.Gardiner became president of the club in the 1960’s.