Symon Scot Image 3 Portsmouth 1936

Symon Scot Image 3 Portsmouth 1936


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Errol, Perthshire born wing half Scot Symon began his football career with Errol Amateurs in 1927, playing for Perth North End in 1928 and Dundee Violet in 1929 before joining Scottish League Dundee in 1930. In his time with Dundee he was described thus: “Determination is his great characteristic. A relentless tackler and with a restless urge forward, the new and youthful Dundee team may be built around him.” Such reviews bought him to the attention of First Division Portsmouth who signed him in the summer of 1935, his Football League debut coming against Aston Villa the same September.

However he lost his place in the Pompey line up in October 1937 and after 6 goals in 68 appearances he returned to Scotland to join Glasgow Rangers. He played both sides of the Second World War for Rangers and played in some 260 wartime fixtures for them, as well as scoring 3 goals in 42 appearances either side of the War in official fixtures. He also was capped once for Scotland in December 1938 in a 3-1 victory over Hungary at Ibrox. He retired from playing in 1947 shortly before his 36th birthday to concentrate on football management.

Symon took his first managerial job at East Fife in 1947 where he won the 1947-48 Scottish League Cup before guiding them to one of their best ever seasons in 1949-50, winning the League Cup and reaching the Scottish Cup Final, as well as a fourth-place finish in the Scottish League. He then became the manager of Preston North End in March 1953, and took them to the 1954 FA Cup Final, where they were beaten by West Bromwich Albion.

He returned to Rangers in August 1954 where he would steer them to six Scottish League Championships, five Scottish Cups, and four League Cups. He also took the club into European football for the first time, guiding them to two European Cup Winners’ Cup finals in 1961 and 1967, both ending in defeat.

Symon was Rangers manager when they lost to Berwick Rangers in the Scottish Cup on 28th January 1967. When Symon was sensationally sacked by Rangers in November 1967, he was told of the decision by an accountant, ‘the board having neither the courtesy nor the courage to sack him in person – even though Rangers were then leading the domestic league table’. Despite his success, the manner of his dismissal was a shock. Symon was sacked at the age of 58 after rejecting a move to make him general manager and let a younger man run team affairs.

After briefly serving on Dumbarton’s Board of Directors he was appointed manager of Partick Thistle in September 1968. Two years later he assumed the role of Thistle’s general manager.

He also played cricket for Scotland.


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