Glasgow born right half and later inside right Willie Neil began his football career with Parkhead Juniors, being capped for Scotland at junior international level, and he joined Scottish League club Airdrieonians in 1919. His early career saw him feature irregularly for the first eleven with Tommy Preston established at right half, however he was a member of Airdrieonians’ squad that finished runners up in the Scottish League four seasons in a row in the early 1920’s. Neil was part of the squad that won The Scottish Cup in 1924, although he only played in one round and was not selected for the Final.
Neil was selected for The Scottish League once, playing in a 2-1 win over The Irish League at Windsor Park, Belfast in October 1927. By then he had moved into the inside right position, which he occupied with success once Willie Russell left the club to join Preston North End in 1925.
He also had short spells with Third Lanark (on loan) in 1925, making 4 appearances, before joining Ayr United in 1928 having scored 28 goals in 229 appearances for The Diamonds during nine years at Broomfield Park. He scored 4 goals in 30 appearances for Ayr and spent part of 1929-20 on loan with Derry City in the Irish League and joined Cowdenbeath in 1930, making only 2 appearances, before returning to Airdrieonians in 1931, adding a further goal in 6 more matches prior to his retirement in 1932.
NB This photograph features Airdrieonians, winners of the 1924 Scottish Cup in a 2-0 victory over Hibernian:
Back Row – G Carrol (Trainer), William Neil, Bob McPhail, Jock McDougall, Jock Ewart, T Preston, D Gordon, Jimmy Allan, John Murdoch, W Reid (Assist Trainer)
Front Row – J Somerville, James Reid, Willie Russell, Hughie Gallacher, G McQueen (Capt), Andrew Dick, Bob Bennie, Jimmy Howieson.