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Aberdeen Football Club Heritage Trust - Player Profile
Billy Smith Squad Index
Information:
1954-55 Squad Number:
3
Position:
Left Back
Birthplace:
Aberdeen
Nationality:
Scottish
Height:
5' 10
Weight:
11st 2lbs
Signed:
18/07/1949
Career History:
Woodside Thistle
Sunnybank
Aberdeen 18th July 1949, Freed 30th April 1957
Third Lanark 8th June 1957, Freed 30th April 1958
Devronvale 2nd August 1958
Retired 1967
 
Profile:
Billy was part of the Aberdeen side that claimed the club's first league championship in 1955. Aberdeen-born Billy joined the Dons from Sunnybank in 1949 and he went on to establish himself in the successful reserve side and also complete his time with the national service. Although he had been signed as an inside forward, Billy made his first team debut as a left back against East Fife on 2nd January 1952, replacing the legendary Don Emery in the side after Aberdeen had suffered three straight defeats.

As Aberdeen embarked on their league campaign in 1954, manager Dave Halliday and trainer Dave Shaw were keen to get a settled defence in place so the Dons could launch an assault on the top honours. Billy Smith was selected as the left back, alongside captain Jimmy Mitchell and the famed half back line of Allister, Young and Glen. With Scotland international Fred Martin in goal the Aberdeen rearguard was as tough as they come and provided the foundation for league success later that season. Billy was an ever-present in the side up until a fateful collision in the Dons Scottish Cup semi final meeting against Clyde at Easter Road in March 1955. Billy broke his leg in that game and he went on to miss the Dons closing matches of the season as they went on to lift the Scottish league title. Billy played in 25 of the Dons 30 league games that season and he went on to play 93 competitive matches for the club in his spell at Pittodrie. When Smith returned to action in 1956 after missing the entire 1955-56 season, he reverted to a right back role in competition with an ageing Jimmy Mitchell. Billy later moved on to Highland league side Deveronvale and he was back at Pittodrie, in 1961 as he almost inspired Deveronvale to a Scottish Cup shock at the Dons expense.

Reflecting on his Pittodrie career, Billy will be remembered as a tenacious defender who gave everything for the cause. Testimony of that came when the legendary Gordon Smith of Hibernian and 'Famous Five' fame hated playing Aberdeen as he would get little or no change out of namesake Billy who was often given the task of man-marking the Hibernian player. Former Dons keeper Fred Martin commented; "Gordon (Smith) hated playing against Billy as he knew he would be up against it. Billy was all over him like a rash. His gangly legs were everywhere and he always did well against the bigger players with reputations." Billy emmigrated to South Africa after finishing his playing days and resided in the Johannesburg area until he passed away on 24th April 2009.


Senior Aberdeen Debut: show all appearances
Date Result Competition Venue Att. Age at Debut Type
02/01/1952
Aberdeen 2-1 East Fife
Div 1 (Old) 20,000 Start

Appearances
Season League League Cup Scottish Cup Europe Total Other
  App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals App Sub Goals
1956-57
8
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
8
0
0
1
0
0
1954-55
25
0
0
6
0
0
5
0
0
0
0
0
36
0
0
3
0
0
1953-54
9
0
0
6
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
15
0
0
4
0
1
1952-53
24
0
0
4
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
30
0
0
4
0
0
1951-52
4
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4
0
0
4
0
1
Totals:
70
0
0
16
0
0
7
0
0
0
0
0
93
0
0
16
0
2
Total Appearances/Goals: 93 0