Connaught Series: Toronto Scottish FC win three Canadian titles
Posted on 27 August 2017 in Around the Soccer World
Toronto Scottish FC were the best in Canada's east from 1931 to 1933: three-time eastern champions in Canada's inter-provincial playdowns; twice Dominion of Canada Football Champions, first in 1932 and then again in 1933; and finally international winners in a challenge match between amateur champions from Canada and USA.
They were also the second three-time Dominion champions (having won their first Connaught Cup in 1921) and the third back-to-back winners, following in the footsteps of the Norwood Wanderers (1913 and 1914) and Westminster Royals (three-time winners in 1928, 1930 and 1931).
After losing the 1931 Dominion final to Westminster, Toronto Scottish FC won the following year with Andy Stevens the heart of their attack. After missing much of the 1931 playdowns through injury, he led 1932 Connaught Series with seven goals in six matches. He scored in both wins against the Fort William Canadian Legion, in both a win and a loss against Montréal Blue Bonnets, and in both wins (three goals) against North Shore United FC in the Dominion final.
Wrote Peter MacRitchie of Stevens, his “speed, his deft footwork, and deadly accuracy were ever a source of worry to (North Shore) who could not cope with his rushes.”
Toronto Scottish FC were not done. After winning an unofficial North American title between Canada and USA in June 1933 (a 2:1 win over Stix, Baer and Fuller of St. Louis), Toronto went on another roll just a month later in the 1933 Connaught Series playdowns to capture their second consecutive Dominion title.
After Toronto eliminated McIntyre Mines and Montréal CNR, they traveled shorthanded to Winnipeg where they met Prince Albert City Reds in the Dominion final. With only 11 players healthy for travel, Toronto played a cautious game over the first two matches before picking up the pace in the series finale.
The two most notable players missing were regular captain Billy Somers (injured) and goal-scoring star Stevens (bereavement after the passing of his mother). Picking up the pace, Bill McManus won the tournament goal-scoring title (10 goals in nine matches) while Hector MacDonald (who first won a Dominion title in 1921) played the hero’s role as he scored three of Toronto’s five goals against Prince Albert.
Amazingly, Toronto Scottish FC did not win the Ontario Cup in 1932 or 1933, but they were provincial winners in 1931. In all, they won five Ontario Cups from 1918 to 1931, including in 1921 when they won the Connaught Cup with fullback Geordie Campbell the hero of the Championship.
STORY OF THE 1921 CHAMPIONSHIP
Toronto Scottish FC won their first Dominion of Canada Football Championship in 1921, winning the two-match, total goals series 4-0 over visiting Ladysmith FC from Vancouver Island. In the first Championship to feature teams from coast to coast across seven provinces, Toronto eliminated Fort William in the quarter-finals, Montréal CPR in the semi-finals, and then Ladysmith FC in the Dominion final.
Hector MacDonald and Teddy Young were the stalwart goalscorers throughout the playdowns while Harry Anderson recorded three assists in the final round. Hero MacDonald set a record with 10 goals while goalkeeper Smith set a record with five clean sheets in six matches.
According to Toronto newspaper The Globe, “much of the honour of winning the cup must go to the versatile Geordie Campbell, as his sound judgment and sterling play on the field has been the means of putting the required confidence into the teammates to bring home the spoils.”
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING GOAL • HECTOR MacDONALD
Toronto’s Hector MacDonald scored the series-winning goal in the Championship final, the lone goal with an assist from Harry Anderson in a 1:0 win over Ladysmith. MacDonald scored the opening goal in both matches of that 1921 final series.
TOP SCORER • HECTOR MacDONALD
Toronto centre forward Hector MacDonald scored a record 10 goals in six matches during the 1921 Championship, a record that stood seven years. MacDonald scored six goals in a match against Fort William.
CONNAUGHT CUP • CAPTAIN HARRY ACOURT
After the final match, Dominion of Canada Football Association president Dan McNeil presented the Connaught Cup to Toronto’s 33-year old captain Harry Acourt. President McNeil also presented 10-karat gold medals to the captain Acourt, who then distributed the ‘spoils’ to his Toronto teammates.
STORY OF THE 1932 CHAMPIONSHIP
With the Dominion final back in Toronto, Ulster Stadium was the venue for Toronto Scottish FC to claim their second Dominion of Canada Football Championship in the summer of 1932. After eliminating Fort William Canadian Legion and Montréal Blue Bonnets in successive playdowns, Toronto Scottish FC won the Dominion final over North Shore United FC.
After losing the 1931 title to back-to-back winners Westminster Royals FC, Scottish FC returned a more polished team in the 1932 series. They posted five wins and one draw in six matches, including a trio of clean sheets by goalkeeper Hugh Wallace.
Centre forward Andy Stevens was the heart and hero of the Toronto attack, scoring three of five goals in the Dominion final against North Shore. Johnny Rogers and Jimmy Winning were the two other scorers in the final. Captain Billy Somers was “a tower of strength” in his position at centre half, shutting down the North Shore attack.
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING GOAL • JIMMY WINNING
Jimmy Winning scored the series-winning goal of the Championship as Toronto swept the best-of-three 1932 final. Winning capitalised on a loose ball moments after North Shore goalkeeper George Lindsay stopped standout Andy Stevens.
TOP SCORER • ANDY STEVENS
Toronto’s “deadly accurate” centre forward Andy Stevens scored seven goals in six matches, including three in the final two matches. North Shore United’s Johnny McNichol ranked second with six goals.
CHALLENGE TROPHY • CAPTAIN BILLY SOMERS
After the final match, Tom Holland, president of the Dominion of Canada Football Association, presented the Challenge Trophy to Toronto captain Billy Somers. As noted in the Toronto Telegram, Toronto “Controller James Simpson, on behalf of the Mayor, complimented both teams.”
STORY OF THE 1933 CHAMPIONSHIP
Toronto Scottish FC became the third team to win back-to-back Dominion of Canada Football Championship titles when they won it all at Carruthers Park in Winnipeg. They also became the second team to win their third Championship, eliminating both McIntyre Mines and Montréal CNR before they defeated Prince Albert City Reds in the 1933 Dominion final.
Despite winning only three of nine matches, Toronto were the last team from the pre-War era to go undefeated throughout the Connaught Series. By the time they reached the final, however, they were reduced to just 11 players with no alternates as Billy Somers was injured and Andy Stevens stayed home after the death of his mother.
Playing a conservative game, Toronto was almost content to draw Prince Albert in the first two matches. They then let loose in a 3:0 win to capture the Championship. Three-time winner Hector MacDonald was the hero of the series, scoring three of Toronto’s five goals.
CHAMPIONSHIP WINNING GOAL • HECTOR MacDONALD
Toronto’s old reliable Hector MacDonald scored the series-winning goal of the 1933 Championship final. After back-to-back draws, Toronto won the third game 3:0, with MacDonald breaking the ice in the 15th minute.
TOP SCORER • BILL McMANUS
Toronto’s 23-year old outside left Bill McManus scored 10 goals in nine matches during the 1933 Championship. Calgary’s Bill Yoxall ranked second in the Championship with seven goals in five matches.
CHALLENGE TROPHY • CAPTAIN DAVIE WEIR
After winning the title, John Easton of Winnipeg, former president of the Dominion of Canada Football Association, presented the sterling Challenge Trophy to Toronto Scottish FC captain Davie Weir.
In celebration of our nation's 150th anniversary, the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame pays tribute to the early years of our Championship: the Connaught Series from 1913 to 1939. Every Sunday from May through September, Canada Soccer remembers the players, legends, teams, and champions from a golden era of football in the Dominion.
In Canada's 150th year, Canada Soccer will crown their 150th national champions across all adult and professional competitions since 1913. The 2017 competitive season will crown the Futsal Canadian Championship winners in April, the professional Canadian Championship winners in June, and the amateur National Championships women's Jubilee Trophy and men's Challenge Trophy winners in October.