The 19th of May marked the anniversary of the first time Daniel ‘Danny’ Fergus McGrain and William ‘Sandy’ Pullar Jardine were paired together in a Scottish side. Although, both were natural right backs, it was to Danny’s credit that he was able to switch wings almost seamlessly.
It was Willie Ormond who first put them together, Danny was on his third cap having been paired with Willie Donachie over the previous Home International games but was switched to left back to accommodate Sandy Jardine on the right, winning his fifth cap. Sadly, it was not a winning start as Scotland lost to England one nil. This game also marked Colin Stein’s last game for Scotland as he came on as a sub for Peter Lorimer; Willie Morgan made way for Joe Jordan to win his first cap that day too.
Danny and Sandy were paired together for two more games that summer, which saw further defeats to Switzerland and Brazil. However, it was game number four that set Scotland alight and cemented their partnership as Scotland finally qualified for the World Cup by beating Czechoslovakia, on that unforgettable night at Hampden in September, 1973. They both played together in the away tie in Bratislava in a meaningless 1-0 defeat. This was followed by a credible draw against World Cup hosts West Germany at Hampden with Jim Holton scoring the Scotland goal. Over the next few games, Erich Schaedler, Donachie and David Hay were all played at left back with Sandy. The latter game against Wales saw Sandy Jardine score from a penalty in a 2 nil win.
However, they returned for the big one which saw us beat England 2 nil in front of a jubilant Hampden crowd which was wowed by the performance of Jinky Johnstone that day.
Two World Cup warm ups games against Belgium and Norway followed with mixed fortunes, both games ending 2-1, with the Belgians getting the better of us once again.
Then it was time for the Majors with Sandy and Danny playing in all three of our World Cup games. After, the World Cup was over Danny McGrain was diagnosed as having diabetes which in time, in his inimitable fashion, he conquered but in meantime Alex Forsyth of Manchester United took his place including a 2-1 defeat to Spain in a Euro qualifier on a cold cold night at Hampden that I might have mentioned before. Danny returned for the away game against Spain where the Scots fought out a one all draw but in terms of qualifying the damage had been done. Danny and Sandy played for the next five games and both were in attendance the day we got pumped 5-1 by England. Nuff said.
It would be just under two years before Willie Ormond picked Sandy Jardine again. Sandy came on as a sub for Ronnie Glavin, in what would be Willie’s last game in charge. Ally McLeod also used Sandy as a sub a couple of more times, before getting the band back together again for a home World Cup qualifier against Czechoslovakia (who else?), which of course we won 3-1.
Danny missed the next game, the decider at Anfield against Wales and indeed the whole of 1978 World Cup campaign through injury. Sandy would flit in and out of the team and had slipped down the totem pole with Stuart Kennedy of Aberdeen being preferred but did in fact play in that nightmare of a game against Iran in Argentina.
So was that the end of the road for the Danny and Sandy show? Well no, there was one last hurrah. Jock Stein had chosen Sandy on quite a few occasions at the start of season ’79-’80 and indeed made him Captain for a few games. On 21st November, 1979 Danny returned to the fold to play alongside Sandy for the last time. Unfortunately it was against Belgium (do we ever beat them, even when they’re ordinary?) and saw Scotland go down 3-1 at Hampden as our hopes for Euro 1980 went down the tubes.
Sandy won his 38th cap that night and had captained Scotland on 9 occasions. Danny would go on to win 62 caps and captained the side on ten occasions.
Their record of playing together wasn’t one of invincibility and indeed they only played 20 games as a pairing, but they were together on some of our greatest nights. It was the magic of having two great overlapping full backs in the side at the same time, which made those times so exciting, even coming from either side of the Old Firm, they transcended the divide, as both were gentlemen and played with heart for their clubs and country and we loved them for it.
First posted on Facebook 20th May, 2015
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