Western Wildcats Hockey Club

Western Wildcats Hockey Club - Internationalists 31-40

31. N.G. Menzies

Neil Menzies arrived at Western in 1984 having previously played for Perthshire, Aberdeen University and Ruthrieston, and was already an established internationalist.  He had represented GB and was unlucky to miss out on a trip to Pakistan in the run-up to the 1984 Olympics due to illness.  A player of exceptional skill and tactical awareness, his fitness, dedication and reliability ensured a lengthy international career.  He was a midfield mainstay of the Western side for some 15 years, and integral to the club’s first major honour – the Scottish Cup win in 1986. A highly adept indoor player, he was perhaps unlucky not to add to the 5 indoor caps he won when at Ruthrieston. He almost merits ‘paragon’ status, but we like our midfielders to chip in with the odd goal.   Neil is now involved in coaching at club and national level.

36. G. Thomson

Gary Thomson was already an accomplished goalkeeper when he joined Western outdoors in 1990 from Uddingston H.C. having already been playing indoors with the club for the previous three years. His outdoor caps were all with Uddingston but he continued as a regular in the Scottish Indoor Squad winning a bronze medal in the European Championships in 1987.  Indoor hockey was his first love and Gary was an outstanding exponent of this format. He was a crucial and busy member of the Western Indespension team which for many years participated in the vibrant Scottish indoor scene, including a competitive league and exciting cup  competitions.   Unfortunately indoor silverware never came his or Western’s way.  An outstanding shot stopper and quick off his line, he made opponents work to score against him.  He was never shy in letting his defence know what was required in any situation.  Outdoors though, Gary retired a happy man in 1997 with a Scottish Cup Win in 1996 followed in 1997 by our first national league title and a European Cup Winners Cup B Division bronze medal in Cardiff in.  Gary came back, some years later, to help as first team goal keeping coach and then team manager.

39. M.H. Starling

Michael Starling was a talented young player, coming through the Western junior ranks and enjoying Scottish Cup success with Western in 1986 at the age of 18. He later became captain of the 1st team leading us to the 1991 Cup final before departing for Kelburne later in 1992.  First capped in 1991, he gained 31 outdoor caps finishing at the European Cup in Dublin in 1995.  Not the quickest, his languid style concealed technical brilliance, silky skills and excellent fitness.  He could pass off either foot and the indoor forwards often had Michael to thank for an easy “lay in” to the net.   His strength was invaluable at penalty corners both indoors and out, with an impressive conversion rate.

Michael gave up hockey altogether after Dublin and has since moved to Perth, Australia where he now lives and works. He has found “the love” again and has recently been picked to represent Australia Over 40’s veterans.

32. R. Hunter

Bobby Hunter joined Western in 1972 after a prominent hockey career at Glasgow University.  A skilful, cerebral midfield player, he was a master of creating time and space for himself.   A feature of his game was the range and accuracy of his passes, but he also contributed regularly to the team’s goals tally.  He was highly competent in the indoor game.  International recog- nition came late to this genial maths teacher, with selection at full-back for the 1979 European Nations Championship. 

34. N.R. Sturrock

Niall Sturrock joined Western in 1973 and is arguably our longest-serving player.  His introduction to hockey was at Grove Academy, Dundee, and he too undertook the PE course at Jordanhill College.   Playing mostly at full back or sweeper, his astute positional sense and under-rated pace made him a real asset.  An excellent striker of the ball, he had a respectable record of short corner conversions, most notably in the 1986 cup final.  He was also a classy indoor player.  First capped in 1981 it wasn’t until 1985-86 that he consolidated his place in the Scotland side.  It is in the world of hockey coaching though, that Niall has established an international reputation.  He has taken on coaching assignments across the globe with particular input in developing countries, and was appointed an FIH Grade I coach in 2007.  He is currently head of Sport and Recreation at Strathclyde University.

38. R.J. Philp

  Roddy Philp was an integral part of Western’s progress from also-rans to serial winners in the 1990’s.  An early beneficiary of the club’s youth coaching scheme, he showed drive and determination to improve his skills and fitness levels to force his way into the international arena where he amassed 27 outdoor caps and 11 indoor.  Initially a forward, his versatility allowed him to be comfortable in a variety of positions, and well capable of carrying out a specific role if required.   But it was his will-to-win and the effect this had on those around him which marked him out as an exceptional leader.  During his stint as captain between 1994 and 1998 he set new standards in his quest for success, and the club was amply rewarded.  Hugely enthusiastic about indoor hockey, he worked hard to get Western up the rankings but a national trophy proved elusive.

The archetypal club man (like his father), Roddy must rank as one of the club’s greatest ambassadors, establishing links with clubs and individuals in all quarters.  Despite a job move to the south of England he maintains a keen interest in the club’s progress.

40. G. Moore

Gordon Moore was already an established international when he joined Western from Kelburne in 1998. He was capped a total of 32 times for Scotland, his first international being against Ireland in Dublin in 1995.   He came to Western already a league winner with Kelburne and brought a positive winning attitude and no shortage of self belief.   His skill, directness and fierce shot made him a prolific goal-scorer and a huge asset to the team, especially in season 1998-99 where a 100% league record was achieved.  Personal highlights include his hat trick that season in the Scottish Cup Final against Dundee Wanderers (3-3 at full time; Western won 5-4 on penalty strokes), and his final European A Division tournament for Western at Bloemendaal in 2001.

 Gordon continues to play in the English Northern Premier League for Oxton H.C. on the Wirral.

33. M.Callaghan

Malcolm Callaghan’s route to Western in 1975 was via Dundee and Jordanhill College.  As a junior with Dundee Wanderers his innate technical ability and dedication to practice soon marked him out as a special talent.  He was our first ‘proper’ indoor player, and has a special place in the club’s annals as our first indoor cap.  He moved to Edinburgh C.S. to further his prospects, but his caps record of 6 outdoor and 9 indoor caps is a meagre representation of his skills.  Comfortable in most positions, he was perhaps a victim of his own versatility. 

35. J.C. Aitken

In 1978 yet another Dundonian came to Glasgow for the PE course at Jordanhill College.Jim Aitken arrived as a fit if raw youngster, but developed into an efficient midfield player who forced his way into the 1981 Scotland squad via the under-21’s.  Although he only won one cap, this was against Pakistan – none of your Macedonia or Burkina Faso for our Jim.  Shortly after this he took up a post at Dundee University and continued his hockey with Menzieshill.  He has had a highly successful career in university sport and admini- stration, and was awarded an MBE in 2010 for his work at Edinburgh University.

37. C.P. McLeod
 Callum McLeod joined Western in 1985, moving from Perthshire to attend Jordanhill College. He was already earmarked as a prospective international, and won his first cap in 1987, playing in the European Nations Championship in Moscow that year along with Neil Menzies.  Over the next eight years he won over 40 full outdoor caps and 20 indoor caps (the exact totals are not known) before retiring prematurely in 1993. His last game was against Egypt.  A European indoor Euro bronze medal in Birmingham in 1991 was another highlight.

Callum moved to Edinburgh in 1989 to continue his studies and joined Edinburgh CS (MIM) playing there for five years before returning to Western as player coach on and off for most of the next 11 years.  It was his vision, technical ability and coaching skills both as player and coach which led Western to seven cup and seven league titles over those years, a feat that some could only have dreamed of in the preceding 90 years. The club qualified for Europe 12 seasons in a row and many of those trips were on Callum’s watch.  He was always keen to learn and bring new insights into how to prepare and compete at the highest European level.  His obvious coaching abilities and achievements have perhaps tended to overshadow his talent and commitment as a top class player, and some would argue that he should have been at the heart of the Scottish midfield for the whole of 1990’s.  Still, Scotland’s loss was Western’s gain.   Callum is continuing his work as the Performance Manager for the SHU.