SFA presents cap to star defender Wilson’s widow

Wilson's widow Doreen, SFA President Campbell Ogilvie and Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark. Picture: SFA
Wilson's widow Doreen, SFA President Campbell Ogilvie and Scotland Under-21 coach Billy Stark. Picture: SFA
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THE widow of former Scotland player Alexander Wilson says her late husband would have been embarrassed by the belated recognition afforded him by the SFA this week.

Buckie-born left-back Wilson, who spent his entire club career with Portsmouth, made just one appearance for Scotland in 1954.

Until 1975, caps were only presented to players who appeared in British Championship matches. In 2006, the SFA board decided to award retrospective caps to anyone who missed out. Wilson died at the age of 76 three years ago but after research conducted by local Buckie historian Neil Smith, his widow Doreen was contacted and attended Hampden to receive the commemorative cap from SFA president Campbell Ogilvie and Scotland under-21 coach Billy Stark.

“I just wish he was here to see this. He would have loved coming to Hampden,” said Mrs Wilson. “He was a very modest man, however, so I’m not sure he would have enjoyed all of the attention. Alexander never mentioned it. He did talk fondly of his time with Scotland and treasured his international blazer badge, but there was no mention of an actual cap.”

Wilson, who made 381 appearances for Portsmouth between 1949 and 1967, was named in Scotland’s preliminary squad of 22 players for the 1954 World Cup finals in Switzerland. But to reduce costs, the SFA decided they would take just 13 players, basing their selection on performances in friendly matches in Norway and Finland the month before the finals.

Wilson was handed his Scotland debut against the Finns in Helsinki’s Olympic Stadium. Scotland won 2-1 and one newspaper report read: “Wilson had a shaky start but improved rapidly and finished a confident player. He showed a remarkable turn of speed and frequently the Finns were astonished at his powers of recovery.”

But Wilson was left out of the final 13 and never played for Scotland again. The following year, he helped Portsmouth to third place in England’s top flight. He was awarded a testimonial on his retirement in 1967.

Historian Smith said of his recognition by the SFA: “This was never my intention when I set out to find out about players from Buckie who went on to play at a higher level. It has been a fascinating story to uncover. I’m delighted we have been able to come to Hampden to receive this honour. It would have been even more special if he was here in person to receive it.”