Right back Willie Savage was a native of Burnbank who began his football carer as an inside forward at the local St Cuthbert School and representing Lanarkshire elementary schools against Glasgow. On leaving school he played in the junior league as centre forward for his local club Burnbank. Three seasons later he went to St Cuthbert C.Y.M.S. This was a one season stay before returning to Burnbank for a further season. The next season was with Falkirk side Shieldhall Thistle. He played for the Hamilton ’A’ team before rejoining the junior league with Motherwell Juniors from whom Scottish League Second Division club Queen of the South signed him in the 1932 close season.
Savage’s full back partner for the rest of the decade, Willie Culbert, was another 1932 signing (Culbert joined from Clyde). Savage made his Scottish League debut as a trialist on October 1st 1932 in the 10-0 thrashing of Bo’ness at Palmerston Park as Queens went on to gain promotion at the end of the season to the First Division. Savage was a scrupulously fair tackler quickly earning respect among players and fans. In his first season, Queens were promoted to the First Division for the first time in their history. Better than promotion, in 1934 they had a fantastic season winning 21 of their 38 First Division matches and only finishing behind Rangers, Celtic and Motherwell. Fourth place in Scotland’s top division in 1934 remains to this day Queen of the South”s best ever League finish. Savage became club captain towards the end of the 1930’s, it was said of him at the time “There’s nothing flashy about Bill, but he has made a name for himself as a really reliable defender”.
During the Second World War Willie Savage guested for St Mirren, Albion Rovers and Dumbarton. Savage returned to Palmerston at the War’s end to play for Queens until 1947. Savage was a tremendous player in Queens’ history during probably their most successful period making 369 appearances. After the promotion in his first season, all of Savage’s time at Queens was spent in the top division. He was the first ever player to reach 300 first class games for Queen of the South – a feat even today achieved by less than 20 players. Willie Savage is still ninth in Queens’ all time appearances list.