ARCHIBALD Clark Robertson was born at 37 Main Street, Busby in 1929 and despite suffering from polio as a boy, he stuck in at school and ended up going into further education where he gained a BSc in chemistry and became an Associate of the Royal Technical College, Glasgow.

And he was a man who showed in his early years at the helm of Cowden that he knew a thing or two about tactics.

Through Cowden club historian, David Allan, we look at this man who was to pose problems for a lot of big clubs as manager of smaller units. He embarked on his footballing career with Clyde at the age of just 17 in August 1947 when he signed straight from school – Eastwood Academy. Archie played for the Academy and the Boys Brigade but as was common at the time briefly signed forms for junior side Rutherglen Glencairn in case he didn’t make it as a senior. He could then be reinstated as a junior despite never having played a match for Glencairn – although he did have a couple of trial games for them. He was spotted by Clyde playing in a Boys Brigade representative match. Archie played as a part-timer but still made it to the top of the game in Scotland.

Clyde didn’t rush Archie’s development as he continued his studies. He played in their ‘A’ team and several English sides showed an interest in him before he had even played for Clyde’s first team.

Archie made his debut in 1949/50 and played a few games in 1950/51 when Clyde were relegated. This relegation actually proved a boon to Clyde. In B Division they fielded an irresistible forward line of Buchanan, Robertson, McPhail, Baird and Ring, all of whom went on to earn representative honours. They were runaway champions, scoring over 100 goals. Eleven of those goals came in Cowdenbeath’s record defeat of 11-1 albeit Cowden won the return fixture 3-2. Clyde also won the B Division Supplementary Cup, the Glasgow Cup and the Glasgow Charity Cup in this great campaign.

Back in the top flight, Archie Robertson’s clever play won a host of admirers. He was an inside forward of guile and possessed pulverizing shooting power. He looked slow but his individual gait was used to good effect to flummox defenders. In September 1954, he gained his first international honour when he was selected to play for the Scottish League v the Irish League in Belfast. He heard the news at his workplace, the National Coal Board lab at Cowdenbeath Workshops where he worked as an area analyst. He analysed coal, coal dust, mine air, sewage, etc in his job. Archie lived in digs in Cowdenbeath and trained at Central Park – as did other well-known players such as Bobby Collins of Celtic and (for a time) Ian McColl of Rangers.

Said David Allan: "Archie made his full Scotland debut in a 3-0 win over Portugal in 1955. He made four further international appearances, scoring the opener in a 4-1 win in Austria, playing against Puskas’s Hungary, and also grabbing the first goal in the 3-2 World Cup qualifying victory against Switzerland at Hampden in November 1957. His final appearance for Scotland was at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden when he played in the 3-2 defeat by Paraguay. Archie by this time had shown himself to be a deep thinker about the game. He and Tommy Docherty were sent by the SFA to spy on Paraguay before Scotland played them. "But the selectors never even asked to see their report which confirmed Paraguay were “rough and fit and good”. Scotland then picked a forward line made up of the slim and the small and seemed to draw undue confidence from the fact that one Paraguayan player wore a hairnet. The robust Paraguayans saw off the Scots.

"At Clyde though, Archie enjoyed even greater success. In 1955, in the first ever televised Scottish Cup final, Clyde played Celtic at Hampden after Archie had scored the only goal of the semi final v Aberdeen. Jimmy Walsh, who also trained at Central Park in Cowdenbeath, put Celtic ahead and there were only two minutes left when Archie went to take a corner.

"Archie later recalled this famous Hampden moment, ‘Normally I try to flight my flag kicks to the far post, but the second the ball left my foot I knew it wasn’t going there. The Hampden swirl took over and Johnny Bonnar ran to his near post. He tried to clutch it but it slipped out of his grasp and into the net’. Then in the replay Tommy Ring’s goal gave Clyde the Cup. Archie shouldn’t have even played in the first game as he had a bad ankle and strapped it up without telling anyone. Clyde were then able to work on his injury to get him fit for the replay".

Wen on David: "Life was always topsy turvy at Shawfield though and the Cup winners of 1955 were relegated in 1956. They were Second Division champions again in 1957 and won the Scottish Cup once more in 1958. In 1956, Archie married a girl from Clarkston and brought her through to Fife. They moved to live at Netherley in Brucefield Avenue, Dunfermline, and in the next few years had two daughters.

"Archie left Clyde in 1961 and joined a struggling 2nd Division Morton. Archie helped rejuvenate Morton and they finished 3rd in the Second Division twice in a row. His knee though was giving him problems and he did not play in Morton’s record breaking 2nd Division championship success in 1963/64. Morton also reached the League Cup final that season where four goal Jim Forrest ended their dreams as Rangers won 5-0. Archie though scouted the opposition for Morton in that campaign and had drafted a detailed dossier on Rangers having spied on their home league game with East Stirlingshire. Archie also led a session with the players who watched a film show with footage and tactical analysis of that Rangers match.

"1964 was to be the dawn of a new era at Central Park as Harry Colville stood down and Archie Robertson was appointed as Cowden manager. Archie was still working in Cowdenbeath and was now a Fuel Technologist. He also ran the Lumphinnans Boys Brigade and one of his first actions was to sign Andy Rolland, who had at one time played in his team at Lumphinnans BBs. In October, Archie Robertson decided that a midfield general was require to help the team and promptly registered himself as a player.

"The clever Robertson scored 3 goals in 5 games before a recurrence of his old injury finally ended his playing days. He had scored 197 goals in 466 matches for his 3 clubs.

"While he was at Central Park, Archie Robertson went down for a coaching course at the FA’s Coaching School in Lilleshall. Some who were there felt Archie was actually better than the Lilleshall coaches. Archie ended up telling them things and making his own points. He also used to tie them in knots with his convoluted ‘what if’ questions on the laws of the game.

"The players found working with Archie a revelation. The things he taught were things the players had never even thought about before. He was into 4-2-4 and 4-3-3, introduced overlapping full backs like Bobby Wilson and Andy Rolland, tried out a sweeper system, and drilled the players on throw in, free-kick and corner routines.

Cowden came on leaps and bounds under Archie and he laid the foundations which allowed Andy Matthew to take Cowden back into the 1st Division in 1970. In January 1968 though, Archie Robertson moved to Shawfield to boss his old club Clyde, after Davie White had moved to Ibrox to be Scot Symon’s assistant. He agreed to take on the full-time manager’s post back at his first love and also gave up his other job at the NCB. Cowden chairman, Charlie Gronbach, paid tribute to the departing manager saying that his waygoing was inevitable and that a man of Archie’s abilities would go far in the game.

"Archie took Cowden captain, Jim Burns, to Clyde with him and there were some talented players at Shawfield such as Harry Hood. The part time side though didn’t find life easy and wasn’t well supported. Archie began to rebuild a new young team but they were relegated in 1972. Archie though saw his charges bounce right back and win the 2nd Division Championship in some style in 1973.

"However, within just a couple of weeks of the next season, Archie Robertson resigned abruptly as Clyde manager. It was a big shock and many felt Archie had grown tired of handling the problems of running a part time club. His comments on his departure were rather evasive as he stated, ‘I am now a free agent and have adequate time to find out what my plans will be’. And rather cryptically, ‘I feel this is the right time. There are those of you who know me …’.

"His only involvement with senior football thereafter was a spell scouting for Tottenham Hotspur. He fell back on his academic qualifications and became a chemistry teacher at Hunter High in Calderwood, East Kilbride. He also naturally took charge of the school team and one of his players was a young lad named Ally McCoist. Archie mentored the youngster in his development as a footballer. He then took his young protégé to the St Johnstone Boys Club trials and the rest as they say is history.

"Unfortunately, Archie Robertson would not live to see the young schoolboy go on and achieve so much success in football – a great regret for Ally who was still at school and took it hard when Archie died. Archie Robertson died aged just 48 on 28 January 1978 from motor neurone disease. His passing was mourned throughout Scottish football".