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.
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.