is a Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
former football player. McNaught holds the Raith Rovers record for the number of appearances with the club of 657 between 1941 and 1962. McNaught was club captain and at international gained five full Scotland caps and six Scottish League caps. McNaught's son is European Cup winning footballer Ken McNaught
Ken McNaught is a former Scottish footballer who played for Aston Villa from 1977–1983 and was part of their Championship winning side of 1981, European Cup victory in 1982 and won the European Super Cup in 1983 against Barcelona, scoring one of Villa's goals in the latter final.McNaught's father...
But for the war, McNaught may have been a player of his home town club Queen of the South
Queen of the South Football Club is a Scottish professional football club founded in 1919 and located in Dumfries. The club currently plays in the Scottish First Division, the second tier of Scottish football. They are officially nicknamed The Doonhamers, but usually referred to as Queens or QoS...
. The stylish full back or half back was spotted playing in army football by a Raith Rovers official who wasted no time in signing him. He went on to form part of the half back line that is still iconically revered at Raith Rovers along with Andy Young and Andy Leigh.
With the resumption of national league football in 1946-47 after the end of World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, Raith were in Scotland's second tier. They improved season on season with finishes of sixth and fourth before being promoted as B Division champions in 1949. From then they stayed in Scotland's top flight until after McNaught's 1962 departure. The highlight of the 1950s golden era was undoubtedly the 5-1 destruction of Rangers at Stark's Park in December 1956. It was the peak of the greatest Raith Rovers team in 30 years and, for a while, they looked genuine championship contenders, eventually finishing in fourth place, their highest position since 1922, surpassing the fifth place of 1952 and one that has not been bettered since. Rovers were relegated the season after McNaught's departure to Brechin City.
In McNaught's time Raith had runs to the Scottish Cup semi finals in 1951, 1956 and 1957 as well as a quarter final defeat to Rangers in 1950 that required two replays. The crowd of 84,640 to watch the 1951 semi final 3-2 defeat to Celtic at Hampden Park in Celtic's native Glasgow is the largest ever to see a Raith Rovers game. Cup runs weren't exclusive to the Scottish Cup. Raith made it to the 1948-49 Scottish League Cup Final where they went down 2-0 to Rangers.
There was more to McNaught's game than just composure and elegance. Jim Baxter
James Curran Baxter was a left-footed Scottish footballer who played as a midfielder. He is regarded by some as the country's greatest ever footballer...
later commented of his "Iron Man" captain from his earliest days in professional football, "I would never have made it in today's circumstances. I needed bastards like Carmichael, Buckard, Ferrier, Herdsman and McNaught. Young players like I was would simply tell them to get stuffed and take their talent elsewhere. I owe them."
Hearts legend Willie Bauld
William "Willie" Russell Logan Gavin Chalmers Bauld was a footballer who played for Newtongrange Star, Heart of Midlothian, Edinburgh City and the Scotland national team.-Heart of Midlothian:...
's tributes to his opponents were legion and seldom. Bauld though professed a great admiration for Willie McNaught as the man who gave Bauld his toughest games. The then veteran McNaught was fondly remembered by Jim Menzies as a real gentleman. Tom Dawson played with McNaught in retirement with Fife all-stars commenting, "The guy that amazed me in those games was ex-Raith and Scotland star Willie McNaught. Even at the age of 52 he would just stroll through games."
McNaught gained 5 full international caps for Scotland.
| # || Date || Opponent || Result
|| October 21, 1950
|| Wales 1 Scotland 3
|| November 1, 1950
|| Scotland 6 Northern Ireland 1
|| December 13, 1950
|| Scotland 0 Austria 1
|| April 5, 1952
|| Scotland 1 England 2
|| November 3, 1954
|| Scotland 2 Northern Ireland 2
McNaught also represented the Scottish League six times and was a winner on all six occasions. This was 2 wins against each of the English League, the Irish League and the League of Ireland.
- Scottish B Division Championship - 1949
- Scottish Cup semi finalist - 1951, 1956, 1957
- Scottish League Cup finalist - 1949