The tragedy is that he was unable to enjoy the remarkable rise of Rangers as he succumbed to mental health problems probably induced by financial worries and he died in the Hawkhead Asylum in Paisley oblivious to what the club he had helped found had become.
In terms of ability Moses was the better player, but Peter was an organiser and co-ordinator and it is clear that Rangers needed his qualities in these early days when they were finding their feet.
He would make sure that the newly formed club played on the best pitch at Glasgow Green when Rangers were playing their formative matches by going down early and planting the goal-posts, such as they were in these days, and sometimes paying a younger boy to guard the spot!
Ranger historian David Mason said: “Peter would go down to Glasgow Green and reserve the best part of the field. He played for four years but he was also the great administrator of the team.
“He was match secretary, which was effectively the manager, and he was vice-president later so without Peter it’s arguable over whether we would have had a football team.
“I feel he was probably more important that Moses because of the organising and co-ordinating that he did at that time.”
Such are the inferior records of the 1800s, there is no exact birth date but it is generally acknowledged he came into this world in 1854.
He arrived in Glasgow around 1870 from the Gareloch – following most of his siblings – and set up a business with brother Harry in Berkley Street in the west side of the city and subsequently moved to Union Street in the city centre.
Harry played for Queen’s Park and sometimes guested for Rangers in friendly matches in the early days.
H & P McNeil was described as an establishment of “hatters, hosiers, glovers and shirtmakers”. However, it would now be classed as a sports shop, loosely speaking, as they sold kit for all sports and eventually sold leather footballs too.
He was in the team when Rangers played their first ever match in May 1872 when they fought out a goal-less draw with a team called Callander and he captained Rangers in their first competitive match on October 10, 1874 when Rangers defeated Oxford 2-0 in the first round of the Scottish Cup with Moses scoring the second goal.
Peter played in the left back position but he only featured in the side in the first four years of the club’s life and moved permanently into the administration side of the game.
Realistically he can be described as the first ever Rangers manager holding the role of match secretary, which is essentially the modern equivalent of manager, until 1883.
He was also treasurer of the SFA for a spell and was spoken of highly in the minutes of annual general meetings of the time. He then became vice-president of Rangers in 1886 but, perhaps as a direct result of the sports outfitters business failing, he resigned from the club in 1888.
Sadly, McNeil died on March 30, 1901 at the Hawkhead Asylum near Paisley aged just 47.
He was certified insane and had been sectioned. The pressures from financial problems had taken its toll on his mental and physical health.
Born: 1854, Rhu.
Honours won with Rangers:
Caps – 2 (Scotland)