“The Penalty King”, Johnny Aitkenhead

1949 Johnny Aitkenhead, Blantyre footballer

1949 Johnny Aitkenhead, Blantyre footballer

Johnny Aitkenhead was born at 35 Hunthill Road, Blantyre on 8th October 1923. Descended from the well known Blantyre builders family, a sporting chap, he opted to be involved in football from a young age. He was an accomplished player in his Calder Street School team and was competent enough to be noticed and selected for the Scottish School Boys International Team, (an accolade for any young boy in itself!)

Driven by his passion for the game, he decided to embark upon a career and attempt to become a Professional football player, something he succeeded in. Upon leaving school in 1937, he played for his local amateur team, Blantyre Academicals. In 1939, he was still too young to go off to WW2, escaping those horrors, only be being slightly too young.

At 5 foot 6 inches, he played as a winger and from 1941 until 1946 he was officially part of the Queen’s Park Football Club, themselves short of players in that period. In those wartime years however, Johnny didn’t appear in any game and subsequently has a no goals record during his time there. In 1946 he was transferred to Hibernian Football Club and in 3 years of being at that club appeared 22 times, scoring 10 goals. Unable to claim a regular game because of the Hibs “Famous Five” forward line at the time, he was again transferred, this time in 1949 to Motherwell Football Club, and it was there he made a name for himself. In his 8 years at Motherwell, he played 170 games, scoring 49 goals. His skill meant that in 1951 and 1952, he played Internationally for just one year, capped on 3 occasions. Johnny ended his football career at Hamilton Academicals, joining them in 1957 at the age of 34. He played 11 games there with 4 goals.

At Motherwell, he is recognised in history as being an expert in penalty kicks. Cool, composed, he received the nickname “The Penalty King” as he seldom failed to score. His record of scoring 40 consecutive penalties for the club is still very impressive.

Johnny died on 29th March 1987.

Johnny Aitkenhead

On socia media:

Margo Clayton Three generations of the Bowie family have supported Motherwell fc because of this man!

Elizabeth Quinn Barbara Aitkenhead…… This is your dad!!!!!!!!!!

Barbara Aitkenhead Sure is and l have some great pics of you dancing with him at someone’s 21st birthday party. Taught us loads inc how to kick a ball lol.

Barbara Aitkenhead It is Liz and it brings a tear to my eye that he never got to enjoy his grand kids. Adam just looks like him in the wee pic.

Eleanor Aitkenhead Mine too Liz

Lesley McDougall Adam is your dads double in the picture x

Libby Blair Fantastic xx

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  1. I seem to remember John teaching a lot of aspiring players at Morriston YM in the 1960’s about how the game should be really played.

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