Airdrie's Greatest Left Midfielder - Billy Wilson
18th March 2016
With a fantastic 80% of the overall vote, you have named BILLY WILSON as Airdrie's greatest ever left-midfielder.
Billy Wilson arrived at Broomfield in May 1967 as a Scottish Junior Cup winner with Kilsyth Rangers. He had been part of the side that had beaten Rutherglen Glencairn in front of 22,000 spectators and alongside Drew Jarvie and Jimmy Green, he signed for the Diamonds. Wilson and Jarvie made an immediate impact, becoming first team automatic selections.
In just over a decade he made over 400 appearances (taking friendlies into account) scoring 64 times. It was to be more as a supplier of goals that Billy would make his name, sometimes on the right but more from the left. In only his second season as a professional, as the Diamonds were building an excellent side, he provided Marshall and McPheat with the chances that took Ralph Collins’ side to an unbelievable seventh place finish in the top league. Wee Billy was a mainstay at Airdrie throughout the successful years that followed.
He played in the Airdrie side that went all the way to the 1971 Scottish Cup semi-final, scoring in a fabulous 3-3 draw against a multi talented Celtic side at the same venue as his Junior Cup success. They lost out in the replay to the eventual winners. One of his finest games came as Airdrie chased and earned a Dryborough Cup place, weighing in with goals himself but setting up chance after chance for his team-mates as they ran up seven goals defeating Fergie’s Falkirk. He tormented the Bairns rearguard who were happy to hear the final whistle. His talents were at the heart of the Texaco Cup success the club enjoyed, and while even though he saw team-mates Goodwin, Jarvie and Busby earn big moves in the early seventies, Billy remained to play a critical part in Airdrie's 1974 Championship winning success after their relegation. He was into double figures in goals that season, but there were no statistics kept of the assists in a season when Ian McMillan’s side scored over a hundred league goals. Season 1974/75 saw another return to Hampden for a Scottish Cup final date and defeat by Celtic. Just before that final, at Ibrox when Rangers were celebrating winning the league for the first time in ten years, big Peter McCloy was rolling the ball inside his penalty area, unaware wee Billy had come back on to the park behind him - Billy collected the ball and put it into the net to spoil the party. Season 1975/76 brought Spring Cup success, while Billy’s experience was of great value to the club in his remaining couple of seasons, educating the youngsters in the same way as he had enjoyed in 1967.
His departure in 1978/89 also led to his retiring from playing. Those who watched him play were always very vocal in letting other club’s fans know ”We’ve got Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy Wilson ON THE WING, ON THE WING!”
There was no greater sight in the sixties and seventies than when this one-club man graced the Diamond.