Gordon Strachan ‘can end 53-year wait for win’

SCOTLAND legend Davie Wilson is backing Gordon Strachan to end a 53-year wait and lead the nation to a home win over the Republic of Ireland tomorrow night.
Davie Wilson: Played in the last Scottish home win over Republic. Picture: SNSDavie Wilson: Played in the last Scottish home win over Republic. Picture: SNS
Davie Wilson: Played in the last Scottish home win over Republic. Picture: SNS

Incredibly you have to go back to 3 May, 1961 to find the last time the Scots claimed victory over the Irish on their own territory. With Wilson in the line-up the Scots swept to a 4-1 triumph at Hampden, when Rangers team-mate Ralph Brand scored twice and Arsenal’s David Herd also grabbed a double.

It was a Scotland team that was peppered with legends of the game – Jim Baxter, Billy McNeill, Eric Caldow and Paddy Crerand – and they won the return game at Dalymount Park in Dublin 3-0 four days later.

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Agonisingly the Scots failed to qualify for the 1962 World Cup Finals in Chile when, having finished their qualifying group level on points with Czechoslovakia, they lost a play-off match 4-2 after extra time in Belgium.


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Wilson, who was inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame two weeks ago, said: “I can’t believe we haven’t beaten the Republic at home since 1961 but I’m convinced we will do it on Friday.

“It’s going to be a great game but the reason we will win it is because of Gordon Strachan. It may sound simple but Strachan is like many of the top managers – he knows football inside out but he also knows how to handle people.

“You can see how the national team has improved under Gordon and you can see how the players have responded.

“Remember a lot of these players played for the former manager and didn’t reach the same levels.

“He is like Fergie and Walter Smith in many ways because he has the same ability to get the best out of players while also possessing the tactical know-how.”

Wilson, who scored 10 goals in 25 Scotland appearances, recalls the game with the Irish back in 1961 as cathartic in more ways than one.

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It is difficult to comprehend now, but Scotland had lost 9-3 to England at Wembley on 15 April that year with virtually the same team.

Wilson, who scored two goals in that Wembley humbling, said: “It was horrendous but winning against the Republic the next month was a big boost and they had some decent players like Johnny Giles and Noel Cantwell of Manchester United.

“Ralph scored two great goals and Davie Herd got the other two.

“We were comfortable that night and it was similar a few days later in Dublin.

“I honestly felt we had a good team at that time and I have to say the Czechs were the luckiest team in the world to reach the finals.

“We were winning the play-off match in Brussels 2-1 with only a few minutes left when our keeper Eddie Connachan of Dunfermline dropped a corner and their striker Adolf Scherer scored.

“They then beat us 4-2 in extra time and ended up reaching the World Cup Final where they lost to Brazil.

“It’s amazing to think what might have happened if Eddie hadn’t dropped that corner.”


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