Robert Beattie was born in Stevenston, Scotland, on 24th January, 1916. A skillful inside forward, Beattie played for Kilmarnock in the Scottish League before being transferred to Preston North End in October, 1937, for a fee of £2,500. He joined fellow Scotsmen, Andrew Beattie, George Mutch, Jimmy Maxwell, Tom Smith, Hugh O'Donnell, Francis O'Donnell, and Bill Shankly, in the side.
Beattie developed a great partnership with fellow striker, George Mutch. They did especially well in the FA Cup. Mutch scored a hat trick when Preston beat West Ham United in the 3rd round. Mutch also scored goals in the 4th round against Leicester City and in the semi-final when Preston North End beat Aston Villa 2-1.
In the 1938 FA Cup Final Preston played Huddersfield Town. This was the first time that a whole match was shown live on television. Even so, far more people watched the game in the stadium as only around 10,000 people at the time owned television sets. No goals were scored during the first 90 minutes and so extra-time was played. In the last minute of extra-time, Bill Shankly put George Mutch through on goal. Alf Young, Huddersfield's centre-half, brought him down from behind and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Mutch was injured in the tackle but after receiving treatment he got up and scored via the crossbar. It was the only goal in the game.
The First Division title went to the magnificent Arsenal side. Preston finished in 3rd place just two points behind Wolverhampton Wanderers. Beattie had a good season scoring 11 goals in 37 games. Top scorers were George Mutch (18) and Jimmy Dougal (14).
In October, 1938, Beattie won his firstinternational cap for Scotland. This very good Scotland side that included several players from Preston beat Northern Ireland 2-0. The following month he was in the team that beat Wales 3-2. However, it was the last game he played for Scotland.
The Football League programme was abandoned during the Second World War. However, Beattie did play in the final of the Football League War Cup against Arsenal. After a 1-1 draw at Wembley, Preston North End won 2-1 at Elwood Park. Beattie scored both of the goals in the final.
When league football resumed after the Second World War in 1946 Beattie was one of the four players who played in the first game for Preston against Leeds United that had played for the club before the war.
Robert Beattie died in 2002.