The original Neilston FC were members of the SFA and therefore a senior team rather than a junior side. They were also members of the Renfrewshire FA. The first record of Neilston playing was on the 24th November 1877 when they lost 1-0 away to Barrhead Thistle in a friendly match.
Unlike Neilston Victoria and Neilston Juniors who would both play at Brig O’Lea, the original Neilston FC played at Broadlie Park, shown on the map below, which was situated between what is now Station Road and Kirkstyle Crescent. The cattle show was also held at Broadlie Park in the 1880’s.
In addition to the Renfrewshire FA Cup, Neilston regularly competed in the Scottish 2nd XI Cup. Clubs of bigger stature such as Rangers, Celtic, Hibs and Hearts would enter their reserve sides (2nd XI) into this tournament while their first teams played in the Scottish Cup.
On the 28th February 1885, Neilston managed to make it through to the Scottish 2nd XI Cup semi final where they travelled east to face Heart Of Midlothian’s second XI at Tynecastle Park. The original Farmer’s Boys fought hard but lost the match 2-0, both goals coming in the second half. From the newspaper report below, we seemed to have made an impression with the large Edinburgh crowd!
Neilston first competed in the Scottish Cup itself in 1884 losing 4-1 to St Mirren in the 1st round. The club would enter the Scottish Cup in the following eleven seasons managing just one 1st round win in 1885 beating Greenock Southern 10-1 away from home before losing to Port Glasgow Athletic in the 2nd round round after a replay.
Two months after that 10-1 win, Neilston faced Linwood side Clippens in the Renfrewshire Cup and had one of their finest moments winning 24-0 at Broadlie Park.
On Hogmanay 1887 Neilston had the honour of being the first team from outwith Ireland to play Linfield in Belfast, the match finishing 3-3.
The end for Neilston FC came on the evening of Tuesday August 12th 1902 when at the annual SFA Committee meeting in Glasgow the club failed to pay their membership subscription and were no longer members of the SFA.