Jimmy Hay

Scottish Rugby is saddened to hear of the death of former Scotland team doctor Jimmy Hay, who passed away at home in Glasgow on Tuesday (10 January). He was 76.

James Hugh Hay was born and brought up in Ayr and was both school captain of Ayr Academy and captain and stand-off of the school’s first XV at a time when Ian Ure (the Dundee, Arsenal, Manchester United and Scotland football midfielder), Mike Denness (the England cricket captain) and Ian McLauchlan (the Scotland rugby captain and British Lion) were among his team-mates. Safe to say, it was a fine school side.

He played his club rugby for Ayr, though that took a back seat during his medical studies at Glasgow University.

As a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of both Edinburgh and Glasgow, Jimmy worked for the NHS initially in residence at the Glasgow Royal and Western Infirmaries, then the Victoria Infirmary on the south side of the city, and for the majority of his professional career, at the Royal Alexandra Infirmary, then Hospital, in Paisley. In amongst all of that, he was a police surgeon in Glasgow for more than 25 years. He kept working until 2008.

His family, rugby and golf (where he was a member at Haggs Castle and Royal Troon) were the huge passions in his life – that and being an avid reader of the history of the First World War.

As a surgeon, Jimmy helped professional and amateur athletes in a wide variety of sports – from football to motor racing, tennis to superbikes. For a period, Scottish Ballet even sought his services in prolonging the careers of their most prized assets.

But, with four sons who shared his love of sport and rugby in particular, Jimmy found his medical skills most regularly called upon at both school and club rugby matches – Balgray, Colinton, Dumbreck, Old Anniesland, Millbrae et al. Then, after duty as Glasgow District doctor, he stepped up to the national team in 1991.

Later that year – with a fellow debutant, physiotherapist (as he was then) James Robson – Jimmy was team doctor on the Scotland tour to North America.

He was in that post again on the 1993 Scotland tour to the South Pacific, where it would be fair to say he was in his element, caring for the players diligently at the same time as he was the epitome of a good and popular tourist.

The respect and affection with which he was regarded by players on that tour saw him nicknamed Medic One.

Scotland coach on that tour, Richie Dixon, said: “Jimmy was not just a good doctor. He was a great tourist, had a wonderful way with the players and was great for morale. It’s impossible to think about Jimmy without smiling.”

Scottish Rugby extends its sincere condolences to Jimmy’s wife Marjory, sons Kenneth, Andrew, Alasdair and Graeme, their families and all his friends.

His thanksgiving service will take place at Sherbrooke St. Gilbert’s Church in Glasgow (G41 5AD) on Friday 20 January at 1pm, when club ties will be the order of the day.

Written by
Graham Law