Happy Birthday to Andrew Stuart Murray McCall to give him his full name. Stuart will be 51 on June 10th. Born in Leeds, England but with a mouthful of a name like that Stuart, due to his Father’s Scottish heritage would play for Scotland with a passion and desire that no one would fault. Despite being picked for the England Under 21’s at one stage Stuart would make his debut for Scotland against Argentina at Hampden on 28th March 1990. Scotland won one nil due to a Stewart McKimmie goal. Also making their debut that night were Craig Levein and Robert Fleck, however it would be Stuart who would make the quickest impact and would play in all five of the pre-Italia ’90 friendlies.
By the time of the World Cup, he was an established part of the midfield, starting against Costa Rica in Genoa alongside Jim Bett, Paul McStay and Roy Aitken. The History (Misery more like) Books tell us that Scotland got beat one nil that day and were by then needing to win their next game against Sweden to remain in the competition.
I remember being in the Rock Garden in Queen Street that night and as Stuart McCall pounced on a loose ball to put the Scots in front all the bottles, beers went smashing from our tables as everyone jumped up to celebrate the goal. This would be Stuart’s only goal for Scotland but it is one that lives long in the memory. Mo Johnston added a penalty in the 81st minute and although the Swedes would score in the last five minutes to give us a nerve wracking end, we managed to gain our win.
Then came Brazil, a poor Brazil at that and what was jittery non-event of a game if I remember, which was settled by Jim Leighton fumbling at a shot by Muller and it was time to go home once more.
Stuart would play in all our group games in Euro’s ’92 and ’96 where Scotland gave a good account of themselves and perhaps with a little bit of luck might have progressed further. Stuart played in two of the opening qualifiers for the ’98 campaign in late ’96 and that was it, almost. Stuart was recalled to the Scotland team for a final time to play 21 minutes as a sub in a World Cup warm up against Denmark but would not make the squad for France ’98. Stuart won 40 caps for Scotland overall from 1990 to 1998.
Stuart has been part of Gordon Strachan’s coaching team and indeed was apparently responsible for the move that saw Shaun Maloney score against the Republic of Ireland last year.
So here’s to Stuart, all the best and remember we will always have the Rock Garden in 1990.
First posted on Facebook June 10th, 2015