Stirling County and Scottish rugby loses a legend with death of Stewart Hamilton

Second-row led Stirling County to the Scottish Championship in 1995 and was unlucky never to be capped

Stewart Hamilton captained Stirling County to the Scottish champions ship in 1995.
Stewart Hamilton captained Stirling County to the Scottish champions ship in 1995.

SCOTTISH rugby has lost another of its great characters with the death of Stirling County, Glasgow and Scotland ‘B’ second-row Stewart Hamilton, arguably one of the best players never to wear the dark blue in a full international.

“He went on one or two tours, was and is popular across the country, but, he, for some reason, never persuaded the powers that be that he should be capped,” said Matt Vallance on this website, when selecting Hamilton in his best ever uncapped team back in December 2019.

Hamilton was part of the Stirling County side which climbed through the leagues from Division Six to become Scottish champions in 1995, when he was captain. Late taking up the game at 22, he played on at top flight club level into his 40s for Stirling County, the club he served throughout his playing career apart from three seasons with Heriot’s in the late 1980s.

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Speaking to The Herald newspaper towards the end of his career in 1995, he reflected on having never quite reached the international stage.

”That remains a major regret. I felt at the time that I was capable of playing for Scotland,” he said. “When I saw the likes of Jeremy Campbell-Lamerton getting a cap, I just knew that I was a better player but I didn’t get the final nod.

”That was why I went to Heriot’s. I got a phone call from Andy Irvine. He was obviously a rugby hero and when somebody like Irvine rings you up and asks if you’d like to come down to Goldenacre, then you’d be daft to say no.

”I was loyal to Stirling, just as I am now, but I was loyal to myself, too, and I really wanted that cap. Stirling were stuck in the second division and I reckoned that first-division rugby would give me the final boost I needed.”

A full obituary will be published in due course.

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About David Barnes 3909 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Scratcher I played with Hammy in Edinburgh borders, Scottish classics, outstanding, committed player, enjoyed every moment on the park, not to mention when we left the park for a libation
    Sorely missed.

  2. He was just hammy to us , came thru u18 s at stirling , he was just a man you were in awe too till you got to know him and he became even more of a giant.
    the county have lost legend , even that is too small a compliment
    sitting here and struggling to take it in

  3. It says at lot about Hammy that, given the level he should have been given a chance to play at, he still enjoyed his association with Edinburgh Borderers, and one of his claims to fame was the fact he played in Borderers famous win against Scotland in their last warm up game before the 1991 World Cup. A sad loss.

  4. He didn’t stop at Stirling, playing a number of years at Hamilton in the mid nineties – including a perfect season to win Division 7. A rugby man through & through who will be missed by all who knew him!

  5. Top class player and a lovely man. Part of a top class Stirling County where I played mini rugby in my youth. Was worthy of a Scotland cap.

  6. One of our game’s great stalwarts and most certainly deserved a shot on the big stage. Ferocious on the pitch and a true gent and character off it. A player and a man I greatly respect.

  7. Gutted to hear this he was an absolute legend. Had privilige to play alongside and against a few times and alongside was defo much more fun. Certainly should have been capped. Thoughts with Hammy’s family & friends and all at Bridgehaugh.

  8. Terrible news – so very sad.
    RIP Hammy – great guy, a huge figure in Scottish club rugby, and a mainstay of Caledonia at their best.

  9. An absolute County legend. Very proud to have known him and played rugby with him. What a player – deserved caps, not just a cap.

    Also gave a few years sterling service to Hamilton Rugby club.
    Will be sorely missed. RIP Hammy.


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