Alexander McNair (26 December 1883 – 18 November 1951) was a Scottish football player and manager. He played as a defender for Celtic and represented the Scotland national team in 15 official internationals between 1906 and 1920. McNair also represented the Scottish League XI 15 times. He then managed Dundee from 1925 until 1927.
|Full name||Alexander McNair|
|Date of birth||26 December 1883|
|Place of birth||Bo'ness, Scotland|
|Date of death||18 November 1951 67)(aged|
|Place of death||Stenhousemuir, Scotland|
|1908–1920||Scottish League XI||15||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
McNair began his career at Stenhousemuir. He played at inside right and was a regular goalscorer, helping the club win the Scottish Qualifying Cup in 1901 and 1902. He also played in the Stenhousemuir team that reached the Scottish Cup semi-final in 1903, losing 4–1 to Rangers.
In May 1904, McNair signed for Celtic. He initially played in a variety of positions, but when right-back Donnie McLeod left in 1908, McNair made that position his own. He was an integral part of the Celtic side spearheaded by Jimmy Quinn that won six successive league championships from 1904–05 to 1909–10. McNair had exceptional positional sense and ability to anticipate his opponents' moves. He was a precise tackler and had confidence in his ability to dribble the ball out of his own penalty area rather than rashly boot it forward. He was a calm and composed personality, and his demeanour earned him the nickname 'The Icicle'. Willie Maley, the Celtic manager, described McNair as "The coolest, most intelligent player I have ever seen."
In his 21 years at Celtic McNair played a total of 641 games for the club in major competitions, winning the league championship 12 times and the Scottish Cup six times. He played his last game on 18 April 1925, a 1–1 draw with Queen's Park. He was 41 years old and is the oldest player ever to play for Celtic. McNair's appearances, trophy and caps totals might have been even higher had it not been for the interruption of World War I when the League continued but the Cup and internationals were suspended, considering that his success at club level and selection for Scotland continued after the conflict.
He received a benefit match in 1921, in which a combined Rangers/Celtic team played against a Scottish League team (the league also selected Celtic players John McFarlane and Tully Craig, who scored all their team's goals in a 3–1 win).
McNair became manager of Dundee in June 1925. His first two seasons saw Dundee finish mid-table and then fifth. However, after a poor start to season 1927–28, McNair left Dens Park in October 1927. He then left full-time participation in football to become a stockbroker, but still kept some involvement in the game by working as a referee supervisor.
- Scottish Qualifying Cup: (2)
- 1900–01, 1901–02
- Central Combination: (2)
- 1900–01, 1901–02
- Stirlingshire Cup: (1)
- Scottish league champions: (12)
- Scottish Cup: (6)
- Glasgow Cup: (7)
- 1906–07, 1907–08, 1909–10, 1915–16, 1916–17, 1919–20, 1920–21
- Glasgow Charity Cup: (9)
- 1904–05, 1911–12, 1912–13, 1913–14, 1914–15, 1915–16, 1916–17, 1917–18, 1919–20
- War Fund Shield: (1)
- Forfarshire Cup: (2)
- 1924–25, 1925–26
- List of footballers in Scotland by number of league appearances (500+)
- List of Scotland national football team captains
- List of Scotland wartime international footballers
Notes and references
- The source lists 16 matches, but the first cap in 1908 is counted twice; McNair played in defence, but the forward position was occupied by Jimmy McMenemy.
- "Alec McNair "The Icicle" bio". Celtic Wiki. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Scotland player Alexander McNair (including unofficial matches)". London Hearts Supporters Club. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- 45,000 view the charity 'national match, Sunday Post, 9 June 1918 (via Partick Thistle History Archive)
- "SFL player Alexander McNair". London Hearts Supporters Club. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
- League International: England v. Scotland, The Glasgow Herald, 2 March 1908
- "Alec McNair". Historic Warriors (History of Stenhousemuir FC). Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- Campbell, Tom; Woods, Pat (1987). The Glory & The Dream. Grafton. pp. 354–358. ISBN 0-586-20005-3.
- "Alec McNair". Celtic FC - Facebook. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- Potter, David (2012). The Celtic Miscellany. The History Press. ISBN 9780752490595. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- Scottish League Select's Victory, 5 January 1921 (via The Celtic Wiki)
- Ross, David (14 November 2011). Gaffers. lulu.com. pp. 358–359. ISBN 978-1470927103. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- "Alec McNair". Vintage Footballers. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- ""The Icicle" Alec McNair – Celtic Historian is trying to locate any of Alec's descendants". Yard Breaker. 20 September 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- "The Central Combination". SFHA. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
- "The 500 Club". ACSOM. 19 December 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- Association football | War Fund Shield–Final Tie, Glasgow Herald, 6 May 1918
- "Alec McNair". SFA. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
- "1924/25 Forfarshire Cup Final". Dee Archive. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
"1925/26 Forfarshire Cup Final". Dee Archive. Retrieved 13 April 2021.