Leith, Midlothian born centre forward Peter Simpson began his football career with Leith Amateurs in 1925 before joining St Bernard’s in 1926. He scored 12 times in his first seven games for Saints and eventually totalled 33 goals for the season. His first move to England came with non league Kettering Town in 1928, and from there he was signed by Third Division (South) Crystal Palace in the summer of 1929.
He lit the blue touch paper immediately – a hat-trick on his Football League debut against Norwich City in a 3-2 win in September 1929 was one of four hat-tricks, the others against Merthyr Town, Gillingham and Luton Town, in a 37 goal debut season haul. Better was to follow, an incredible 54 goal haul in 48 matches as Crystal Palace agonisingly finished runners up in Division Three, missing out on promotion. This incredible season included 6 goals against Exeter City in a 7-2 romp in October 1930, back to back 4 goal hauls against Newark in the FA Cup and Watford in the League in December, and six hat-tricks against Luton, Newport County, Coventry City, Taunton Town in the Cup, Gillingham and Swindon Town. Both the feat against Exeter and the total of goals remain club records.
In his first five Palace seasons, Simpson topped the goalscoring charts every time, another unbeaten record. However in the 1934-35 season, Simpson suffered a knee injury. After his comeback, Simpson appeared to be inferior to the player he had been before. In April 1935, he scored in a 1-1 draw with Swindon Town which would prove to be his last outing for Palace and he was transferred to West Ham United that summer after 166 goals from 196 appearances, a goals-per-game total of 0.85. He also scored 19 hat-tricks for Palace in four years. His goals and hat-trick totals for Palace are records that are still unbeaten.
After two largely un-noteworthy seasons with West Ham, scoring 12 goals in 36 appearances, and still not fully recovered from his injury, he left in 1937, moving to Reading. At Elm Park, despite being towards the end of his career, he seemed to regain some form, scoring 6 times in 22 appearances during the 1937-38 season. He would return to Selhurst Park in January 1938 with The Royals, and score two of Reading’s three goals, to help beat Palace 3-2. Simpson subsequently ended his career with a short spell at Aldershot without making their first eleven.