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Scotland’s one-cap wonders

Hibernian's Erich Schaedler, pictured before his only appearance for Scotland. Picture: SNS

Hibernian's Erich Schaedler, pictured before his only appearance for Scotland. Picture: SNS

  • by GRAEME ROSS
 

THE list of players to have received just one cap for Scotland is rather lengthy. Here we look at 22 “one-cap wonders” - including two players who each scored four goals during their sole Scottish appearance.

Forever destined to be a footnote in the back pages of Scottish football history, Scotland’s one-cap wonders deserve some recognition if only to highlight the inconsistencies of the national side’s selection process. Many “one-cap wonders” were unlucky with injury, or denied further caps due to the huge competition for places during Scotland’s golden football eras. For some unfortunate few, it was simply a mystery why they were never called upon again to represent their country. For example how, as in East Fife’s Henry Morris’s case, could you score a hat trick on your Scotland debut and never be capped again? There are many worthy candidates for a Scotland one-cap wonders hall of fame. Here are just 22 of the best:

Lord Kinnaird (Wanderers) - capped against England, 1873

Arthur Kinnaird was one of the most remarkable sportsmen of his time. Born in London of Scottish heritage, he played in a record nine FA Cup finals and was president of the English FA for 33 years. He also excelled at cricket and swimming and was a Cambridge blue in tennis.

Charles Heggie (Rangers) - capped against Ireland, 1886

Charles Heggie, a defender-turned-striker, joined Rangers in 1882 from local side Ailsa FC, remaining with the Gers until January 1887, when he joined St. Bernard’s. His form during the 1885-86 season - 29 goals in 31 games - prompted an international call-up, and Heggie lined up to face Ireland in Belfast, scoring four goals as the Scots hammered Ireland 7-2 at Ballynafeigh Park.

William Dickson (Dundee Strathmore) - capped against Ireland, 1888

Born in Crail in Fife, Dickson played for Dundee Strathmore before plying his trade down south. A striker who could also play at full-back, and would swap positions on a regular basis, Dickson notched 34 goals in 64 games for Aston Villa, whom he joined in 1889, and earned his only cap for Scotland in March 1888. Incredibly, like Heggie two years before, Dickson scored four goals in a crushing victory against Ireland, also in Belfast, at Solitude Park, with the Scots triumphing 10-2.

Sandy Brown (Middlesbrough) - capped v England, 1904

Played and scored against England in 1902 when 25 spectators were killed in the first Ibrox disaster. Although the game was played to a finish, the tragic events led to the match being struck from the record books. So Brown’s cap two years later was his only official cap. Glenbuck-born Brownalso scored in every round of the FA Cup for Tottenham when they won the trophy in 1901.

Davie McLean (Sheffield Wed) - capped v England, 1912

In an eventful 25-year career during which he scored almost 500 goals, McLean played for both Celtic and Rangers, scored in a Scottish Cup final for Dundee aged 37, and played his last match aged 44. He is also one of a select group of players to score a century of league goals in the top divisions north and south of the border.

Tom Bradshaw (Bury) - capped v England, 1928

If you are going to win a single Scotland cap, it may as well be in the most famous match in Scottish international history. “Tiny” Bradshaw starred at centre-half for the famous Wembley Wizards who routed England 5-1 in 1928. Not even a move to Liverpool where he became a legend helped add to his cap total.

Matt Busby (Manchester City) - capped v Wales, 1933

In spite of a playing career comprehensively eclipsed by his almost mythic role as manager and architect of the modern-day Manchester United, Busby was, an intelligent and thoughtful wing half. He won several war- time caps, but the matches were deemed unofficial.

Scot Symon (Rangers) - capped v Hungary, 1938

One of Rangers’ (and East Fife’s) greatest managers, Symon also represented Scotland at cricket. A constructive, skilled wing half, he lost his best years as a player to World War Two.

Jackie Husband (Partick Thistle) - capped v Wales, 1946

A Firhill institution who served Thistle as player, coach, trainer, physio, and all round mentor for 52 years, Husband was a forceful wing half whose best years were taken by World War Two, although he won three unofficial wartime caps.

Henry Morris (East Fife) - capped v Northern Ireland, 1949

A goal-scoring phenomenon in the late 1940s, Morris totalled 154 goals in just five seasons with East Fife. Morris netted a hat trick in Scotland’s 8-2 victory over Northern Ireland, but was never capped again.

Charlie Fleming (East Fife) - capped v Northern Ireland, 1953

Hot on the heels of Morris’s hat trick, inside-right Fleming scored twice on his debut and was never capped again. He is the Fifers’ third all-time goal scorer with 169 goals.

Willie Telfer (St Mirren) - capped v Wales, 1953

Telfer’s international demise was played out in front of 71,000 fans when, with Scotland leading Wales 3-2 at Hampden with two minutes to go, John Charles outstripped the centre-half to equalise. Telfer – no shrinking violet, was widely criticised for not fouling the gentlemanly Charles. Telfer claimed that he hadn’t fouled Charles out of respect, but a more prosaic reason may have been that he just couldn’t catch his opponent.

Alfie Conn Senior (Hearts) - capped v Austria, 1956

The No  8 of the celebrated Hearts “Terrible Trio” of Conn, Bauld and Wardhaugh, whose total caps numbered a miserly six, Conn was the powerhouse of the trio. Not even a goal 12 minutes into his debut with a trademark cannonball shot was enough to garner further caps.

Billy Ritchie (Rangers) - capped v Uruguay, 1962

Goalkeeper Ritchie became known as “half-a-cap Ritchie” due to his solitary Scotland appearance as a half-time substitute for Eddie Connachan in a friendly against Uruguay at Hampden. He immediately lost a goal but performed competently enough for the rest of the match.

Willie Hamilton (Hibernian) - capped v Finland, 1965

An inside forward of languid grace and consummate skills, Hamilton was an instinctive genius, but ultimately a lost one. Jock Stein, who considered Hamilton one of the finest talents he had ever managed, inherited him as Hibernian manager and remained a fan, awarding Hamilton his sole cap in his first spell as Scotland manager. However, a lack of self-confidence and self-discipline hindered the extravagantly gifted Hamilton. He died in 1976, aged 38.

Andy Penman (Dundee) - capped v Netherlands, 1966

A prodigious talent who made his Dundee debut aged 15, one of just two Scottish footballers (Jim Cruickshank being the other) to be capped at six levels (schoolboy, youth, amateur, under 23, league, and full). The teenage Penman was a star of the great Dundee side that won the old first division in 1961/62. A classy inside forward, Penman scored 200 career goals.

Erich Schaedler (Hibernian) - capped v West Germany, 1974

The son of a German prisoner-of-war who settled in Scotland, it was fitting that the hard-tackling left-back won his only Scotland cap in West Germany. Just months before they were crowned world champions, Willie Ormond’s side acquitted themselves with credit in Frankfurt losing 2-1. Schaedler died in tragic circumstances in 1986.

Paul Wilson (Celtic) - capped v Spain, 1975

Born in India to a Scottish father, Wilson displayed great courage as he faced racism on a regular basis as a left-sided attacker with Celtic in the 1970s. His international career lasted 15 minutes as a substitute, but he will be remembered as the first player of Asian ethnicity to be capped by one of the four home nations, and as the only non-white footballer to play for Scotland in the 20th century.

Johnny Doyle (Ayr United) - capped v Romania, 1975

Reversed the trend of players suddenly becoming international class after being transferred to one of the Old Firm. Doyle won his single cap as an Ayr United player, the last to do so.

Alex MacDonald (Rangers) - capped v Switzerland 1976

The most combative of midfielders, MacDonald was a key component of the successful Rangers sides of the 1970s, winning two domestic trebles and the European Cup Winners Cup. Blessed with a knack of scoring important goals in big matches.

Joe Craig (Celtic) - capped v Switzerland, 1977

Has any player made such an instant impact on his Scotland debut? Craig scored with a header two minutes after coming on as a substitute against the Swiss at Hampden with his first touch of the ball. In doing so, he became the subject of a quiz question loved by football anoraks everywhere. Namely, “Who scored for Scotland before he had even kicked the ball?”

John Kennedy (Celtic) - capped v Romania, 2004

Kennedy would have won many more caps were it not for a terrible injury sustained on his Scotland debut. Aged 20, the grandson of Jimmy Delaney was viciously fouled by Ioan Ganea in the 15th minute, resulting in shocking damage to his left knee. Despite several attempted comebacks, Kennedy was ultimately forced to retire.

• Is there anyone we’ve missed out who should be included? We couldn’t include every player with a solitary cap but if we’ve made a glaring omission, let us know in the comments below

 

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