I found this bit on the Cardenden Local History Group website....
Born in Kirkcaldy in 1909, John Thomson lived with his parents and his
brothers and sisters at 27, Balgreggie Park, Cardenden. He died in Ward 5,
Victoria Hospital, Glasgow, at 9:25 pm on Saturday, 5th September, 1931 at
the age of 22 years.
Between the posts at Parkhead
He was the Prince of Men
John Thomson came from Bowhill
John Thomson put Bowhill on the map. As Celtic's goalkeeper he is
remembered to this very day for his goal-keeping prowess.I was only nine
years old when that tragic accident happened at Ibrox. Rangers were playing
Celtic. It was during the second half and five minutes had gone from the
restart when the ball was swung into the Celtic goalmouth. John Thomson
left his goal and dived to a 50/50 ball with Sam English, the Rangers'
centre-forward. Tragically, John lay still on the field and had to be
carried off, badly injured. Later that evening, he died in the Victoria
Hospital, Glasgow. The game ended with the score, Rangers..0 Celtic..0.
The funeral to Bowhill Cemetery took place on Wednesday, 9th September, and
was the largest I have ever seen. Thirty to forty thousand people paid
their last respects. Two special trains left Glasgow for Cardenden; people
walked all the way from Glasgow and slept the night on the Crags and along
by the bing just to be there on the day of the funeral; football supporters
came from all over the country. The Bowhill Pipe Band and the Bowhill
Silver Band were in attendance. An aeroplane landed in the Daisy Park and I
think it belonged to one of the national newspapers. The crowd along the
route from 27, Balgreggie Park to the cemetery was packed tight, some even
clambering up on to the roof tops. The coffin was carried by Celtic
players. Even to this day I remember one of the wreaths which was a piece
of green turf with white goalposts made of white flowers. Celtic has never
forgotten John Thomson. When they are playing in Fife they make a point of
paying their respects at his grave and usually they lay a wreath.
It was by chance that John Thomson came to be playing for Celtic. One
Saturday John was playing for Wellesley Juniors against Denbeath Star and a
Celtic Scout came through to watch the goalkeeper of Denbeath Star and he
was so impressed by John's skill that it was he who was signed by Celtic.
His debut for Celtic was against Dundee at Dens Park...where it was said he
made 20,000 friends that day ...and Celtic won 3-1.
You can read about John Thomson's footballing career but there are still
people in Bowhill who can tell you about his life away from the football
field. Alex Reekie, a friend of mine, who served his apprenticeship as a
joiner with Sandy Arnott recalls how during the 1926 Strike he often had a
chat with John Thomson at the Coup at the Jamphlars Pond when Alex would be
over burning the sawdust and shavings from the joiner's shop and John would
be spreading the ashes from the ash-carts.
When I was in the RAF during the Second World War, the lads from Glasgow
and one from Whitburn made me promise to bring them back some granite chips
from John Thomson's grave when I returned from leave. It must have cost
quite a bit to replace all the granite chips which were removed by Celtic
supporters over the years! Another friend treasures a horseshoe draped in
Celtic colours which was given to John to bring him luck during a Cup
Final. I remember John walking down through Bowhill on a Sunday going to
church and he would be dressed in plus-fours.
Only now in 1993 has a street been called after him...Thomson Court. Why
have they waited so long?
In the old part of Bowhill Cemetery, not far from the gate, you can see the
memorial(jpg 19.8Kb) erected in his memory.
The inscription reads:-
SCOTLAND'S INTERNATIONAL GOALKEEPER
who died 5th September 1931
aged 22 years
The result of injuries received at Ibrox Park
beloved son of John and Jean Thomson.
"Honest and upright he played the game
Beloved and respected he made his name".
France 1930 England, Wales, Ireland 1931
English League 1929-30-31
Irish League 1929
WITH CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB
Scottish Cup Medals 1927-31
Glasgow Cup Medals 1927-28-30
This memorial was erected by public subscriptions
from friends and admirers the world over.
"They never die who live
in the hearts they leave behind".
many thanks to Tom Kirk for this contribution.
The same website gives this astonishing list of professional footballers
who hailed from the small mining town of Cardenden....
John ThomsonGoalkeeperCeltic and Scotland
*A. BlakeFull BackCrewe
T. GilliesFull BackLeith Athletic
P. MartinFull BackDundee United
W. KirkerFull BackSouthend
*J. McFarlaneWing HalfCeltic and Scotland
*H. McFarlaneWing HalfHibernian
*W. BlakeWing HalfAirdrie
*A. HerdWing HalfHearts and Scotland
*W. AirdWing HalfSt.Bernards & Sc.League
J. MurrayCentre HalfPlymouth Argyle
A. ArnoldCentre HalfDundee United
M. PatrickWingerYork City
R. ChristieWingerPartick Thistle
W. InnesWingerDunfermline Athletic
H. ClarkWingerDundee United
*Alec HerdInside ForwardManchester City and Scotland
*W. FaganInside ForwardCeltic and Scotland
A. KirkInside ForwardArbroath
D. McCormickCentreLeith Athletic
James Russell?Raith Rovers/Dundee Utd/Preston North End
Alex James?Raith Rovers
1945 - 1995
NamePosition PlayedFootball Club
W. MathiesonFull BackRangers and Scotland
G. RobertsonWing HalfAberdeen
K. BainWing HalfDundee and Scotland U/21
W. FinlayCentre HalfEast Fife
*P. AirdCentre HalfHibernian and Scottish League
W. JohnstoneWingerRangers and Scotland
T. HutchisonWingerCoventry and Scotland
A. MackieCentre HalfCowdenbeath
D. StarkWing HalfRaith Rovers
*R. FaganInside ForwardWolverhampton
N. MillerInside ForwardWolverhampton
R. DuncanWing HalfSouthend
J. BrownWing HalfRaith Rovers
G. TaitWing HalfDunfermline Athletic
NamePosition PlayedFootball Club
Sailor HunterFull BackMiddlesborough
D. BlakeFull BackCowdenbeath
J. DuncanWingerLochgelly United
Contributed by John (Lanky) Murray