Player profile

Robert Neill

Robert Neill

Birthdate: 24 September 1875
Birthplace: Govan, Glasgow, Scotland
Date of death: 2 March 1913
Other clubs: Ashfield (1891-94), Hibernian (1894-96), Rangers (1897-1904), Airdrieonians (1904-05)
Bought from: Hibernian (loan) / Hibernian
Signed for LFC: on loan, April 1895 / May 1896
International debut: 21.03.1896 vs. Wales
International caps: 2/2 (at Hibernian and Rangers) - 03.02.1900
Liverpool debut: 27.04.1895
Last appearance: 10.04.1897
Debut goal: 19.12.1896
Last goal: 27.03.1897
Contract expiry: April 1895 / April 1897
Win ratio: 37.04% W:10 D:9 L:8
Games/goals ratio: 9
LFC league games/goals: 22 / 2
Total LFC games/goals: 27 / 3

Player profile

Glaswegian centre-half, Robert Neill, was probably our shortest-ever player in that position, at 5 foot, 4 inches (165 cm.). Neill was loaned to Liverpool from Hibernian as they were missing several regulars in the Test match against Bury in the 1894/95 season. Liverpool lost 1-0 and were relegated to the Second Division. Neill continued his career at Hibernian and made his international debut against Wales on 21 March 1896 where he scored two goals in a 4-0 win. Liverpool bought the twenty-year-old Neill in May 1896 after Hibs suffered a 3-1 loss to Hearts in the Scottish Cup final. Following his arrival he was so described by the Athletic News: "Neill is a clever little half back, quiet and unassuming in style, but very quick and effective." Liverpool had just made an immediate return to the First Division and finished in a creditable fifth place in the 1896/97 season. Neill finally replaced Joe McQue in the first 11 after being in the reserves for the first six weeks of the campaign, said to be certainly the most expensive reserve in Liverpool's ranks. Neill scored two League goals for Liverpool, with one more coming in the FA Cup against West Bromwich Albion in February 1897.

The Scotsman returned to his homeland after just one season because of family bereavement and had quite a successful career with Rangers where in seven years he won four League Championships and one Scottish Cup. He made 109 appearances for Rangers and scored 28 goals. After retirement, he became a restaurateur. According to the Dundee Courier "he had a most winsome manner, and he was a prime public favourite. He was beloved by his clubmates, and admired by his opponents for the beauty and fairness of his play." In 1909 the Montreal Daily Witness reported that Neill was along with other footballers from the British Isles working on the construction of the new Congregational Church in Pointe St. Charles in Montreal. "Thick-set and sturdy, with the arm of a Hercules, it is easy to understand why Robert Neill occupied a prominent place in the Association game in 'Bonnie Scotland'." The Montreal newspaper conducted an interview, a pretty rare one for a Liverpool footballer from the 19th century. “I played football for seven years. The dear old Glasgow Rangers was my team, and I also played for Liverpool previous to that. Edinburgh Hibernian also claimed me for some time," Neill said. "My most exciting match took place in 1897, when for Liverpool I played in the semi-final of the English Cup. We were defeated by a narrow margin.” Apparently Neill was still turning out for local sides in some capacity. “I am somewhat tired of football, though I have played for Westmount here and the M.A.A.A. [Montreal Amateur Athletic Association]. Still, I may take it up again." Four years later Robert Neill died in his hometown of Govan, Glasgow in March 1913, aged 37.

Appearances per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 22 4 0 0 1 27
1894-1895 0 0 0 0 1 1
1896-1897 22 4 0 0 0 26

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

Total Opponent
3 Aston Villa
3 Nottingham Forest
2 Wolves
2 Burnley
2 Bury
2 Preston North End
2 Sheffield United
2 Stoke City
2 Sunderland
1 Derby
1 Blackburn Rovers
1 Sheffield Wednesday
1 Bolton Wanderers
1 Everton
Total Competition
22 League
4 FA Cup
1 Test Match

Goals per season

Season League FA LC Europe Other Total
Totals 2 1 0 0 0 3
1894-1895 0 0 0 0 0 0
1896-1897 2 1 0 0 0 3

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

Total Opponent
1 Derby
1 Burnley
Total Competition
2 League
1 FA Cup
Total Open play/Penalty
3 Open play

Milestone Appearances

# Date Against Stadium Competition
1 27.04.1895 Bury Ewood Park Other

Milestone Goals

# Minute Date Against Stadium Competition
1 0 19.12.1896 Derby Baseball Ground League