Alan Pattullo's Euro 2020 diary: Who is Scotland's youngest ever internationalist? Clue - it's not Billy Gilmour

It was nice to return for a hopefully brief stopover at home while covering Scotland at Euro 2020 and find a copy of a much-anticipated book waiting on the doorstep.

Andy Mitchell’s The Men Who Made Scotland: The Definitive Who’s Who of Scottish Football Internationalists 1872-1939 has recently been published and is a must-have for Scottish football fans interested in the international team’s origins.

The plan is for Scotland to head back to their base in the North-east of England to prepare for the last 16 – though this is dependent on a win against Croatia this evening.

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What better reading material for the train journey back down to cover their extended adventures than Mitchell’s tome, which contains comprehensive biographies of every one of the 615 internationalists who represented Scotland in 188 matches before the Second World War. It’s a treasure trove of information.

Andy Mitchell’s The Men Who Made Scotland
Andy Mitchell’s The Men Who Made Scotland

As Mitchell pointed out on Twitter recently, some people have pointed out that Billy Gilmour is a little on the small side for international football, but the shortest ever Scotland player was George Key, also of Chelsea, at 5 ft 3in.

Key has an entry in the book. It is an update to Doug Lamming’s seminal Who’s Who of Scotland Internationals published in 1987 and which Mitchell helped research. Compiled in the pre-internet age, there were inevitably many gaps. Mitchell has set about correcting errors and returning those internationalists “lost to the wind” to their rightful place.

There have been several major revelations to emerge from Mitchell’s assiduous work, including the case of John Lambie. Interestingly given Gilmour’s full debut last Friday at the age of just 20 and one week, Lambie holds the record for youngest internationalist.

He was previously thought to have made his bow aged just 17.

But Mitchell has established that while Lambie, who played for Queen’s Park and London Caledonians, is still Scotland’s youngest player, he was 18 when he made his debut in 1887 against Ireland.

He had called off from the earlier game in question at the last minute but was recorded as having played, one of the many mistakes, including wrong players being credited with caps, identified by Mitchell.

The Men Who Made Scotland by Andy Mitchell is available on Amazon, price £11.45.

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