It is not uncommon now for players to deliberate over which nation to represent, knowing their decision is final, but a select group of four Scotland internationals also played for a second country.
Two of them, Jack Marshall and Barney Battles, were capped by Scotland as well as USA, the former’s opponents tonight. The others were Joe Kennaway, who represented his native Canada before coming to Scotland in the 1930s, while Jock Aird was honoured by New Zealand after emigrating in the 1950s.
Barney Battles had an unusual pedigree, having inherited his skill from a father he never knew, a Scotland defender of the same name who died of pneumonia eight months before the youngster was born in the autumn of 1905.
Although schooled in Edinburgh, as a teenager Barney emigrated with his widowed mother to the USA and started adult life there. A precocious goalscoring talent, in 1924 he signed for Boston in the American Soccer League, a team known as the “wonder workers”, managed by the former Rangers player Tommy Muirhead.
He was just 19 when selected at outside right for the USA against Canada in Montreal the following summer, but was unable to make his mark in a 1-0 defeat.
When the fledgling game in America hit financial problems in 1928, Battles returned to Scotland to sign for Hearts, where he was an instant success. He set a new club scoring record in his first season and made himself particularly popular at Tynecastle for his knack of scoring against Hibs. In one memorable month, a series of local cup matches saw him hit no fewer than 11 goals against the Edinburgh rivals.
He set a new mark as the country’s top scorer in 1930-31 with 44 league goals – still the Hearts record – yet there were few opportunities to shine on the international stage at a time when Scotland could choose from great strikers such as Hughie Gallacher and Jimmy McGrory. Battles won just one cap for Scotland in 1930, scoring the equaliser against Wales in a 1-1 draw, but was more successful for the Scottish League, with 13 goals in just five appearances.
His progress was curtailed by a persistent knee injury which forced him to give up the game prematurely in 1936, after which he trained as a masseur, was a sports journalist and ran a pub in his native Newhaven. He died in 1979, appropriately enough on 15 November, the date of today’s international.
The American league of the 1920s was heavily populated with Scots, and Battles had come up against an uncompromising defender called Jack Marshall, a former Scotland captain who had an extraordinary career which included a cap while with a Welsh non-league side, a game for the USA and regular fallings out with the authorities.
Born in 1892 near Baillieston, where his miner father worked at the Braehead pit, the Marshall family soon moved to the Ayrshire coalfields at Saltcoats. Jack followed his father underground, but found an escape from the mines through football, initially with Saltcoats Victoria, where he did well enough to play trials for the junior international team and for Rangers Reserves. Then, in August 1914, after only three games for Shettleston, St Mirren signed him.
War had just broken out but, as a miner, Marshall was saved from military service and he established himself as one of the country’s top right backs through the war years. He won a medal as Saints defeated Hearts in the final of the Victory Cup in 1919 and, a few weeks later, made his debut for Scotland in a Victory International against Ireland, although it was not considered an official match.
Saints gave him a benefit match as a reward but he wanted a greater stage and fell out with the management when Middlesbrough tried to sign him. Marshall insisted on a share of the fee, refusing to play for Saints until he got his way, and duly went to Teesside in November 1919.
Soon dubbed the “ferro-concrete full-back” by the English press, he made over 100 league appearances for Middlesbrough in four seasons and was called into the Scotland team for six consecutive matches.
After captaining the nation to an impressive 3-0 win over England at Hampden which clinched the 1921 British Championship, a new comic called The Dandy gave away a colour card with his picture.
Marshall’s temperament made him a difficult employee, however. In 1921, the FA banned him for four weeks for playing football in Scotland during the close season then, early in 1923, Middlesbrough suspended him for going home without permission. Despite an apology from the player, they placed him on the transfer list at a substantial fee. With no takers, he took the radical step of signing for Llanelly in the Southern League, to avoid the transfer fee. The little Welsh club had ambitions to reach the Football League and, three decades later, would try it again by signing Jock Stein.
Marshall was their star signing and he led Llanelly to FA Cup triumphs over two Third Division teams before they lost to Fulham. To general surprise, the Scotland selectors picked him to face Wales at Cardiff in February 1924 but, if they thought he could be a trump card against his “local” side, the gamble failed. Partnered at full-back by Jimmy Blair of Cardiff City, Scotland lost 2-0. Marshall was clearly well off the pace and he remains the only Scotland cap in the modern era to play for his country while with a club outside the senior leagues.
Now aged 32, his international career was over – or so it seemed. He returned to Scotland that summer to pack his bags as he was one of many British players lured across the Atlantic by the prospect of steady work and paid part-time football.
He had been recruited by Brooklyn Wanderers, where he found the slower pace suited him just fine, and he enjoyed a five-year swansong, during which he was considered one of the outstanding players in the American Soccer League.
After one season in Brooklyn, Marshall had two more at Newark, whose owner Tom Adams remarked: “That fellow is worth his weight in gold to any team if he did nothing more than free kicking.” The highlight of his US career was a call-up in 1926 against Canada and he even scored a rare goal in a 6-2 victory at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field.
In a strange quirk, the Canadian goalkeeper was Joe Kennaway, who would later play for Scotland after being recruited by Celtic.
Then it was back to Brooklyn for a year and, finally, to Bethlehem Steel, where, even in the twilight of his career, the local paper enthused: “The players are rejoicing over the success in the satisfactory negotiations which will bring Jock Marshall, without a doubt the greatest right back in the country, to the Bethlehem team.”
The reporter added: “In soccer the great Marshall ranks with such great baseball stars as Cobb, Sneaker, Wagner and a host of others.”
Marshall was 37 when he retired from football in 1929 but, unlike many players, did not return home. He settled in New Jersey with his wife and six children, remaining there until his death in 1964.