BILL “BUCK” MCCARRY (1938-2018)
Everyone at Stirling Albion is saddened to hear of the passing of our former player Bill McCarry, known to all at his clubs as Buck.
He worked as a miner in his native Clackmannanshire before signing full-time forms at Brockville. His football career started with Alva, then Sauchie Juniors and he made his first-team debut at right-back against East Fife at Bayview on April 16th, 1958. Bill had big shoes to fill, taking over from the legendary Alex Parker. Although Falkirk lost 2-1, Bill kept his place for the remaining games against Queen’s Park and Motherwell.
National Service with the 1st Battalion Black Watch meant that games were few and far between for Bill, but his versatility showed when he turned out at centre-half and right-half. One of his colleagues while on duty for Queen and Country was another footballer – the famous Jim Baxter. The two became great friends and Jim was Best Man at Buck’s wedding. Buck’s powerful physique made him a difficult opponent for any centre-forward as he dominated in the air and on the ground. He was a key member of the Falkirk team that won promotion in 1960/61 and was used in a variety of positions as the club consolidated its place back in the top flight.
After 79 league games for Falkirk, and still only 24 years old, he signed for St Johnstone and went on to become a real Saints legend. There were plenty of Falkirk connections at Muirton in those days, and team-mates included Jimmy Harrower, Jim Kerray and Bobby Kemp. He became a regular in a great Perth side under Willie Ormond and could play either at centre-half or centre forward. His Muirton Park career saw him notch up over 300 appearances and he became a big fans’ favourite. The highlight of his St Johnstone career was an appearance in the League Cup Final on October 25th, 1969 at Hampden Park against Celtic. John Lambie was in the Saints side as well, but Buck’s day was spoiled by a badly gashed knee and, despite battling on through great pain, had to admit defeat at the break and was replaced by Gordon Whitelaw.
Buck saw out his career with Stirling Albion and he gave the same 100% commitment to the team as he always had done. Bob Shankly signed him in 1971 and recognised his ability to lead a side by example. He relished a challenge and he more than held his own against Celtic in a League Cup tie at Parkhead, when he faced a young Kenny Dalglish in his prime. Incredibly fit, Buck was a real powerhouse and he was an inspiration to the younger players at Annfield. After his playing days were over, he worked in the brewery trade and often made deliveries to pubs in Falkirk. While most delivery men rolled the beer barrels into the cellars, Buck carried them in resting on his broad shoulders – much to the amazement of the customers.
Buck was a great favourite with supporters at all his clubs and was a highly-respected and valued colleague by his former team-mates. He was Best Man at Ian Hunter’s wedding and the two maintained their friendship over the years. Alex Duchart was another who kept in touch and the three met up to share memories of times past. Although struggling with a lengthy illness, Buck lit up at these reminiscence sessions and shared amazing stories of past exploits. One classic was when Buck was warned after pulling Aberdeen keeper Bobby Clark back by his jersey. Buck protested his innocence to the referee, despite having a piece of the jersey in his hand.
Another remarkable story came after the Falkirk team returned to the town after an infamous 9-1 drubbing at Fir Park in a League Cup tie. Clearly, the Bairns fans were less than pleased at the result and some decided to give a group of players some “advice”. When they saw Buck get out the bus, and starting to head in their direction, they scarpered as fast as they could!
Buck McCarry would have been 80 in December this year, and he will be spoken about with great affection in football circles and will be fondly remembered by older supporters of Falkirk, St. Johnstone and Stirling Albion. For fans in Perth, he was an absolute legend and his passing means another member of the great side managed by Willie Ormond has gone.
The thoughts of everyone at Stirling Albion are with Bill’s family and friends at this sad time.
Service of Celebration for Bill’s life will take place at St Serf’s Church, Tullibody on Tuesday 22nd May at 11am thereafter to Tillicoultry Cemetery. Family flowers only please.
Retiral offering for Dementia Scotland. Roy & McIntyre Funeral Home, Glenochil, 01259 769995.