IT may have earned a bad rep of late for off-the-field incidents and the substandard quality fare on the field, but the game of Scottish football has many enticing secrets. Did you know, for instance, that a Dundee United player once took home an Oscar during a glitzy Academy Awards ceremony? Or that an acclaimed Italian international was, in fact, born in Scotland? How about the time a Scottish side made it through to the semi-finals of that most English of competitions, the FA Cup?
These revelations, and more, are collated in an all-encompassing new tome which stands as the definitive guide to the sport north of the Border. The Encyclopaedia of Scottish Football, compiled by David Potter and Phil H Jones, boasts a wealth of little-known trivia about clubs, players and matches of years gone by.
So here’s an A to Z of some fascinating facts you may be surprised to learn …
An Anglo, or Anglo-Scot, refers to players who play for Scotland but are based in England. A traditional bone of contention, no Anglo-Scot ever turned out for the national side prior to 1896, when a trial match was arranged beween so-called Home Scots and Anglo-Scots prior to a Scotland-England game. Such trial games continued up until the 1950s, with the Anglo-Scots side occasionally supplemented by such players as Patsy Gallacher, an Irish national.
One New Year’s Day derby meeting between Hearts and Hibs saw commentator Rex Kingsley decline to mention the heavy fog which was threatening to have the match abandoned altogether. The reason was that the tie, in 1940, occurred during wartime, and authorities ruled that the Germans should not learn of the weather conditions. An enterprising Kingsley employed two boys as runners to stand behind each goal at Easter Road and tell him what action was taking place.
Some 33 players have had the honour of captaining the Scottish national side on more than five occasions. The individual to wear the armband most was George Young (pictured below, on left), a centre half with Rangers known as Corky, who captained his country no less than 48 times. He is followed by Billy Bremner (39), Gary McAllister (31), Barry Ferguson (28) and Graeme Souness (27). When Jimmy Stephen captained Scotland in their first international tie after the Second World War, he had not previously been captain of any club.
Many players have enjoyed memorable debuts, but none more so than James Dyet, a youngster who turned out for King’s Park – a now defunct Stirling team – against Forfar Athletic in Division Two on 2 January 1930. His team won by a resounding 12-2 scoreline, with Dyet scoring a remarkable eight goals. Celtic’s Joe Craig, meanwhile, had a striking debut for Scotland against Sweden in 1977, scoring a goal before he had even kicked the ball. Brought on as a substitute in the 76th minute to earn his one and only international cap, he headed a goal three minutes later.
The most-famous travelling Scot from football’s early years was Johnnie Madden, who played in Celtic’s first-ever game in 1888 before going on to turn out for Dumbarton, Dundee, and Tottenham Hotspur. In 1905 he emigrated to the then Czechoslovakia, where he coached and played for a newly founded team called Slavia Prague. Charles Miller, a Scot born to a Scottish father and Brazilian mother, was influential in the development of the game in Brazil, helping form the Sao Paulo Athletic Club and the Liga Paulista.
It may be the most traditional English competition of them all, but several Scottish clubs have been represented in the famous knockout contest. No less than eight sides from north of the Border took part before the practice was brought to an end in 1887. Queen’s Park took part in the inaugural FA Cup in the 1871/2 season, and were given several byes because of the long distances they had to travel. The reached the semi-final stage without playing a game, but had to pull out of their replay against Wanderers following a scoreless draw in the first game after they could not afford to travel south.
It is unlikely anyone will break the record for the most goals scored by a single player in a game, an honour which belongs to John Petrie of Arbroath and has been unchallenged for over 125 years. During a game against Aberdeen Bon Accord in 1885, Petrie netted 13 goals in a 36-0 win. While contemporary accounts suggest the scoreline and Petrie’s prowess are genuine, the validity of the fixture has been called into question, with evidence suggesting Aberdeen Bon Accord were in fact Orion Cricket Club.
The home of Scotland’s national team it may be, but evidence suggests the venue has connections with a famous English parliamentarian hero. In the 17th century, John Hampden refused to pay taxes to Charles I, and a street in Glasgow’s Mount Florida area, Hampden Terrace, was named after him, with the stadium later taking its inspiration from the street. Hampden has actually gone through three incarnations, and was the first stadium to incorporate a press box.
While fatal injuries in the Scottish game are rare, several players have died as a result of action on the field. Celtic’s John Thomson remains one of the most tragic figures, with the goalkeeper dying after an Old Firm game in 1931 where he sustained a fractured skull following an accidental collision with Sam English of Rangers. He died in the city’s Victoria Hospital the same evening.
The Scottish Junior Football Association, formed in 1886, is an independent organisation from the SFA, and governs the junior game across Scotland. Many of Scotland’s most famous players started their careers at junior clubs, including Dave Mackay (Hearts and Tottenham Hotspur, pictured after he captained the latter to win the 1967 FA Cup) and Alex Young (Hearts and Everton), who played for Newtongrange before making the step up to the seniors. Sir Sean Connery played for Bonnyrigg Rose in the early 1950s.
The Honourable Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird, known as Lord Kinnaird, was one of the English game’s figureheads, serving as president of the Football Association for 33 years. However, the son of Baron Kinnaird of Rossie Priory in Perthshire actually won a cap for Scotland, playing in the second international in 1873 at the Oval. He won five FA Cup medals with the Old Etonians and the Wanderers. In later life he became Lord High Commissioner of the Church of Scotland.
The practice of one club lending a player is commonplace, but few would believe that once upon a time, Rangers loaned one of their number to their fiercest rivals. The unlikely deal took place in 1906, when Celtic’s goalkeeper, Davie Adams, injured himself playing in a benefit match for a Rangers player. With a guilty conscience, the Ibrox side offered Celtic their reserve-goalkeeper, Tom Sinclair, and he went on to have eight shut-outs for the east-end side, even winning a medal after helping Celtic win the Glasgow Cup Final.
The high-profile post of manager of the Scottish national team has been occupied by 18 men, two of whom – Andy Beattie and Jock Stein – held the office twice. The position did not exist prior to 1954, with selectors picking the team, arguing that the players they chose ought to be sufficiently talented without the need for tactical talks or discussion. Beattie, a successful player for Scotland and Preston North End, became the first national manager for the 1954 World Cup.
Controversy surrounds the nicknames attached to some of Scottish football’s clubs. Some believe, for example, that Dunfermline Athletic are known as the Pars because it was originally a term of abuse, a shortened form of “paralytics”, which was a reference to their poor form on the field. Similarly, it is believed that Dundee United earned the nickname of the Arabs after a harsh winter in 1963 which left their pitch resembling a desert.
As well as playing for Dundee United, Neil Paterson is the only Scottish footballer to have won an Oscar. The former captain of the Tannadice side became a sports journalist and after the Second World War wrote several acclaimed novels, including The China Run and Behold Thy Daughter. In the 1950s he turned his hand to screenplays, and won recognition in Hollywood for his script for Room at the Top, a 1959 feature starring Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret (pictured) based on John Braine’s book. Paterson won the Academy Award for Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium the following year.
Scotland claims to have staged the world’s first-ever penalty kick when, four days after its introduction, a player known only as McLuggage converted a spot kick for Royal Albert against Airdrieonians in the June 1891 Airdrie Charity Cup final. One of the game’s most-gifted penalty takers, meanwhile, was Johnny Hubbard, a 1950s Rangers player, whose success rate of 54 goals from 57 penalties earned him the nickname, “Johnny on the Spot”.
Arguably the most influential Scottish club of all time, Queen’s Park may be the Scottish League’s only amateur outfit, but it has made a major contribution to the development of the game. Founded in 1867, it helped formulate tactics and rules, and when Scotland played England in 1872 in what is believed to be the world’s first international fixture, the club supplied all 11 players for the Scotland team.
Born in 1849, Henry Renny-Tailyour remains the only man to have represented Scotland at both football and rugby. A colonel in the British Army who was raised in India, he scored Scotland’s first-ever goal, and won the FA Cup with the Royal Engineers in 1875. His rugby cap came in 1872 against England at the Oval. A talented Victorian sportsman, Renny-Tailyour also played cricket for Aberdeenshire and Kent.
While the Scotland side may not have qualified, let alone triumphed, at a major international competition for several years, a team representing Shetland achieved worldwide recognition in 2005 by winning the football tournament that forms part of the Island Games. The team beat Guerney 2-0 on home soil at Gilbertson Park in Lerwick. The Shetland FA, founded in 1919, is affiliated to the Scottish Amateur FA, and the annual tournament between Shetland and Orkney for the Milne Cup dates back to the same year.
Once a regular fixture in the calendar, the idea of a Scottish team going on a tour of a foreign country now extends only to a handful of games in moneyspinning locations such as the US. But in 1898, Queen’s Park became the first Scottish club to tour, visiting Denmark in what officials described as a “missionary commitment” to further the game abroad. In the early 1920s, Celtic was criticised by elements of British society for touring Germany at a time when many wanted to “hang the Kaiser.”
Celtic hold the record for going the most games undefeated (62), albeit in the somewhat unreal circumstances of the First World War. After losing 2-0 to Hearts at Tynecastle on 13 November 1915, they did not suffer another loss until 21 April 1917, when Kilmarnock won by the same scoreline at Parkhead. Two teams have completed a league season undefeated (Celtic in 1897/8 and Rangers in 1898/9), although only 18 league games were played in a season during the 1890s, rendering their feats less impressive.
While serious incidents have been relatively few in number in recent years, some early games saw widespread trouble. In 1909, for instance, the Scottish Cup final replay between Celtic and Rangers saw an orgy of violence after the crowd suspected the game had been deliberately drawn so as to ensure another large gate following yet another replay. Stones were thrown, fires were lit and firefighters were even attacked, shocking Edwardian Scotland.
While less than athletic players can still expect to be ridiculed by the crowd for their waistlines, the largest Scottish footballer, according to records, was playing in the 1920s. Jock Hutton, who played for Aberdeen and Blackburn Rovers, tipped the scales at 13st 6lb, and played ten times for Scotland in an era when the nation dominated the Auld Enemy. The slightest player was probably Patsy Gallagher of Celtic, who was little more than eight stone in weight when he began playing in 1911.
The youngest player to have represented his country is John Lambie, a Queen’s Park star who was aged just 17 years and 93 days when he appeared for Scotland as captain in their 7-2 defeat of Ireland in Belfast in 1866. The youngest player to have turned out for a club, however, is Ronnie Simpson, above, who was 14 years and 234 days old when he played in goal for Queen’s Park in 1945.
The African nation, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, were the opposition during Scotland’s first win at a World Cup finals tournament. Peter Lorimer and Joe Jordan scored in a 2-0 victory in their opening match at the 1974 finals in West Germany.
• The Encyclopaedia of Scottish Football by David Potter and Phil H Jones is published by Pitch Publishing Ltd