Kilmarnock, Ayrshire born inside forward (he could play all three central positions) Sandy Higgins began his football career with Belle Vue Juniors in 1903 and joined hometown club Kilmarnock in 1904, before signing for First Division club Newcastle United in June 1905 without having made Killie’s first eleven. He made his Football League debut against Aston Villa in March 1906 but was initially a fringe player, breaking into the side in April 1908. He then played 30 matches as Newcastle won the League Championship in 1908-09. The following season he was part of Newcastle’s victorious FA Cup Final team that beat Barnsley in a replay, and also played the following season as Bradford City shocked Newcastle in the 1911 FA Cup Final, also winning in a replay.
He was first selected for Scotland when he played in a 1-0 defeat to Ireland at Windsor Park, Belfast in March 1910, but he retained his place for their 2-0 win over England at Hampden Park the next month. He won two further caps the next season, scoring in Scotland’s 1-1 draw with England at Goodison Park in April 1911.
He continued to play for Newcastle until the suspension of peacetime football due to the onset of the First World War in May 1915, during which Higgins served as a corporal in the East Yorkshire Regiment and the Durham Light Infantry and won the Military Medal for bravery during the course of his service, but he didn’t return to St James’ Park after the War, having scored 41 goals in 150 appearances. Instead he re-joined Kilmarnock, making his Scottish League debut against Clyde in Augusts 1919, and was with the club when they won the 1920 Scottish Cup, but he didn’t play in the Final.
After 5 goals in 27 appearances for Kilmarnock he returned to England with Nottingham Forest in June 1920, scoring 7 goals in 35 appearances during 1920-21 before joining non league Jarrow. He returned to Football League action with Norwich City in November 1921, scoring twice in 7 appearances before the end of the season after which he returned to the north east to join non league Wallsend. He subsequently played for Workington in 1924 and Preston Colliery in 1926 before retirement.
He was the son of Sandy Higgins Sr who played for Kilmarnock, Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Scotland.
NB in the photograph Higgins stands on the left with Newcastle teammates Billy McCracken and Frank Hudspeth.