The other day I was on the phone to my pal Mickey Lawson and, as always, the talk was football. As a teacher I had spent a lot of my life coaching kids and he asked me who was the best schoolboy I had seen.
I said: “I am refereeing the final of the Edinburgh schools six-a-side under-15 tournament at Meggetland. One of the teams was Carrickvale, who had a boy who gave me a hard time nipping at me throughout the game.
“He was incredibly confident, mature beyond his years and a helluva player. I decided to give him a little leeway as I was in awe of his ability”
“I know who you are talking about”, says Mickey. “ 1970 – a Sunday afternoon and, as usual, there is a gang of us having a kickabout at Union Park at CarrickKnowe. A young lad, about 17, asks if he can have a game. ‘Of course’, we say and he joins in.
“After about two minutes the ball lands at his feet. He picks it up. ‘Listen’, he announces to the throng. ’Fitba is no about running all over the place like mad men. You all have to calm yourselves down and play with a bit of composure’. The advice went unheeded.”
1984 – management course at Largs. Team manager Jock Stein is present and he and I are having a stroll. He is reminiscing about the 1982 World Cup.
After mentioning that he did not fancy Alan Hansen he says that Scotland does have one special player and went on to wax lyrical about him. It was the young lad Mickey and I had been reminiscing about. His name is Graeme Souness.
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