With Aberdeen having a revitalised season under Derek McInnes and finishing a good second to Celtic, it’s maybe time to look back at a time when the Dons began to rule supreme under Alex Ferguson as he was known then. This is a great photo and it taken from Shoot magazine in the early 80’s. It is a clipping so I don’t have the exact date but the narrative suggests it’s ’80 – ’81. The season after their first Premier title.
The premise is 17 Aberdeen players at the time who represented Scotland at all levels from Bobby Clark, Full International to Alan Lyons (schoolboy). Although all would not progress to full international status there were still some great players who made major contributions to the Aberdeen or other clubs around the country. In total this line up achieved 328 full international caps between them. Never mind the fact two of them actually got to manage the national team
The line-up is as follows; Neil Simpson (Youth) – Neil would win a total of five caps. Neale Cooper (Youth) – Neale never achieved full caps but did represent the Under 21’s a total of 15 times. Alex McLeish (Full) – Alex of course won 77 caps for the National team and managed them also. Jim Leighton (Under 21’s) – Jim progressed to become a Scotland legend gaining 91 caps in total. Bryan Gunn (Youth) – one of Norwich City’s fans favourites, Bryan had to leave Aberdeen to gain his full international caps, winning 6 in total. Bobby Clark (Full) – Bobby was coming to the end of his career and had won 17 caps for Scotland from1967 – ’73. Dougie Bell (under 21’s) – Dougie’s career never quite hit the heights of some of the others and he was quite nomadic with spells at Rangers, Hibs and Shrewsbury among others. Mark McGhee (Under 21’s) – Mark gained 4 caps in total scoring two goal including one against England in a one all draw in 1983. Of course Mark is the assistant manager to WGS at the moment with the Scotland Squad. Happy Birthday to Mark on the 25th of May when he will be 58. Drew Jarvie (Full) – Drew had won all his 3 caps in 1971 when he was an Airdrie player, although Drew was a sub in all three games, which we incidentally lost. Front Row; Andy Watson (Under 21’s) – another one whose career didn’t pan out all that successfully, after leaving Aberdeen Andy had periods with Leeds. Hearts and Hibs. However, Andy was one of Alex McLeish’s assistants in the Scotland set-up having worked with McLeish at Motherwell, Hibs and Rangers too. Stuart Kennedy (Full) – Stuart won eight caps in total, however injury would see him retire form the game early in 1983. Alan Lyons (schoolboy) – Alan is perhaps the one player in the picture that didn’t really make the grade it would seem. However, in fairness to him, he was well liked at Montrose where he ended up after some seasons at Forfar. Indeed, in the Montrose website he is one the ‘Links Park Legends’. Willie Miller (Full) – there’s not a lot needs to be said about the grouchy man of Scottish football, suffice to say he won 65 caps in total. Gordon Strachan (Full) – again not a man I need to go into any detail about. Gordon won 50 caps in total. Next up, Eric Black (Youth) – Eric would only win 2 full international caps and perhaps merited more, his caps came as a Metz player and both were substitute appearances However, Eric did score the opening goal of Aberdeen European Cup Winners Cup triumph in 1983 against Real Madrid in Gothenburg. Andy Dornan (Under 21’s) – Andy never established himself at Aberdeen and moved on to Motherwell and Walsall and stopped plying by 1990 it seems. Last but not least John Hewitt (Under 21’s) – John never gained a full international cap but had good career with Aberdeen with the highlight being the winning goal in Gothenburg.
I am not sure if any other team other than Old Firm ones could produce such a picture and a caps total like this and even then perhaps not. It would be interesting though to have a similar photo of the Dundee United team a few years later, as they would have gave this team a run for their money in terms of International players although again the caps count would come nowhere near this.

David Stuart

First posted on Facebook 25th May, 2015