Larkhall, Lanarkshire born right half Neilly Gibson began his football career with Royal Albert from where he joined Glasgow Rangers in 1894, still a teenager, and went on to enjoy more than a decade of service with the club. He made his Scottish League debut at Dumbarton in December 1894 and went on to score 22 goals in 192 appearances through to the end of the 1903-04 season, when he joined Partick Thistle, where he remained until 1909.
Gibson was an ever present in the 1898-99 campaign when ‘Gers won every one of their 18 matches to win the Scottish League Championship by 10 points, the first of four consecutive League titles he won during his time at Ibrox. Indeed, he scored three times in the two biggest wins that campaign, notching a double in an 8-0 rout of Clyde and scoring from the penalty spot in a 10-0 thrashing of Hibernian.
He also won The Scottish Cup with Rangers twice while with The Light Blues, and played 14 times for Scotland while both a Rangers and a Partick Thistle player, making his international debut in a 3-1 win over Ireland at Celtic Park in March 1895, his final appearance coming exactly ten years later in a 4-0 win over Ireland at the same venue. He also played 11 times for The Scottish League between April 1895 and March 1903.
Former Hibernian manager Willie McCartney stated that Gibson was “The greatest of my, and any generation following, in Scottish football”, Steve Bloomer of Derby County and England described him as “The greatest footballer I ever saw”, and Gibson’s artistry led Harry Wood to dub him “Pavlova in football boots”.
Gibson had three sons: Neil, Willie and Jimmy. Neil played for Clyde, Willie for Ayr United and Newcastle United, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1924, and Jimmy played for Partick Thistle, Aston Villa and Scotland.