Charlie Johnstone

Following some info provided by ex QoS Programme Editor, Bruce Wright, this is a short article on the talented veteran who gave Queens seven years service following World War 2.

Charlie Johnstone was born in Larkhall on 6th November 1911. He was playing junior football for Blantyre Vics from whom he joined Motherwell. He made his debut for the `Well first team in season 1933/34 when he was elevated from the reserves to play for a much depleted first team in a 2-1 defeat to Clyde. His next game brought his first goal in senior football when notching in a 3-1 win away at Falkirk. His last game of the season was against Queen of the South. This would be no easy challenge for Motherwell as this was the Queens team to produce the highest ever top division league finish for the Doonhamers, ending the season fourth. However this Motherwell side were no push over either. Scottish Champions two seasons before, they ended the 33/34 season two places above Queens in second place and were the only serious contenders that season to Rangers. Thus the 2-1 win for Queens in this game at Fir Park was a more than welcome victory.

Johnstone played a total of six first team games for Motherwell before heading South. He spent two seasons from 1935-37 at Doncaster Rovers followed by one season at Mansfield Town. Johnstone then returned to Scotland to play for Dunfermline in season 1938/39.

With World War 2 bringing an interruption to league football on a national level, Johnstone turned out for Rangers during the war. During his time at Rangers he played alongside the likes of Bill Shankly and Matt Busby v England at Wembley in January 1942. He thus became one of a number of Queens players of that era to gain representatives honours of some sort in their careers being joined by team mates, Billy Houliston, Dougie McBain and Jimmy McColl, Bobby Black, Jimmy Binning, Jim Patterson and Dougie Sharpe. Also, while he never crossed the line to represent Scotland on the pitch, Roy Henderson was another of Johnstone`s team mates to attract international selecter`s attention - Henderson was Scotland reserve goalkeeper six times.

Related to Johnstone`s contribution in the war, he later received a letter from Clementine Churchill, wife of war Prime Minister, Winston Churchill,  thanking him for helping out with the "Aid to Russia Fund".

After the war Johnstone joined the club for whom he was to play longest. Queen of the South. In Johnstone`s time Queens gathered three league finishes in Scotland`s top ten. There was a Scottish Cup semi final run in 1950 where Rangers needed two games at Hampden to see off Queens. Indeed in the quarter final replay against Aberdeen at Pittodrie, it was Johnstone who scored the winner when QoS came from a goal down to win 2-1. And there was also the Scottish B Division (as the second tier of the Scottish football pyramid was then known) championship in 1951. 1950/51 was also the first season where Queens played in the League Cup semi finals. It was a scorcher from Johnstone that opened the scoring in that semi before Queens went down 3-1 to Hibs at Tynecastle.

Johnstone was at Palmerston from 1946 to 1953 making 217 appearances and scoring 39 goals. He then retired from football at the age of 41. Queens gave Johnstone a testimonial in August 1953. Queens won 3-1 against Rangers.