Ex-Aberdeen and Fulham, Scottish Internationalist Graham Leggat passed away on August 29th at the age of 81. Graham generally played at outside right for the national team and in eighteen games was to score 8 times for Scotland including representing the side in the 1958 World Cup.
Graham was first capped as an Aberdeen player on 14th April, 1956 facing England at Hampden, playing alongside three of the Hibs Famous Five; Gordon Smith, Lawrie Reilly and Bobby Johnstone of Manchester City. Making his debut that day also, was John Hewie of Charlton Athletic, who passed away earlier this year. Graham put Scotland into the lead in the 60th minute but Johnny Haynes ruined a dream of a debut with an 89th minute equaliser.
Graham’s next game was against Wales at Ninian Park in October of ’56 where Scotland gained a two all draw with Lawrie Reilly and Willie Fernie of Celtic scoring. This was followed by Graham scoring the equaliser in a one each draw with Northern Ireland at Hampden a year later.
Timing is everything in football and although Graham never appeared in any of the qualifying games against Switzerland and Spain for the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, he returned in time for the two warm up games against Hungary and Poland with Scotland drawing with the Hungarians 1-1 in Glasgow and beating the Poles 2-1 in Warsaw. Eddie Turnbull of Hibs would also play in these games.
Although, Graham never scored in either game, he was picked to play in the first two games of the tournament in Sweden. Scotland drew one all with Yugoslavia with the late Jimmy Murray of Hearts becoming the first Scottish player ever to score at the World Cup. This was followed by a 3-2 defeat to Paraguay with Jackie Mudie and Bobby Collins of Celtic scoring the goals
Sammy Baird of Rangers took Graham’s place in the last game of the tournament with the Scots going down to a narrow defeat to France 2-1 with Baird scoring the goal.
As usual changes were made in the first game, following the World Cup and Graham, by then a Fulham player, was brought back in to face Wales in Cardiff again in October ’58. Making their debuts that day were John Grant of Hibs, Willie Toner of Kilmarnock, David Herd of Arsenal and Denis Law, then of Huddersfield making his debut aged 18.
Scotland won three nil with Leggat netting the first, followed by Law and Bobby Collins, then of Everton completing the scoring. Further games in the 1958-59 Home International series followed with a 2 all draw against Northern Ireland at Hampden with David Herd and once more the Mighty Atom Bobby Collins scoring. And then came a one nil defeat to England in April 1959 in which Graham played alongside the final player of the Famous Five; future Scotland Manager Willie Ormond.
Graham then hit a purple patch and would score in five consecutive appearances for Scotland. First up a 3-2 friendly win over West Germany in May 1959 with debutants John White of Falkirk and Motherwell’s Andy Weir both scoring in the first six minutes. Graham Leggat is instrumental in both these goals with White’s coming in eighteen seconds. (There is Pathe video of it and it is well worth watching and if we’re lucky the admin guy will post it).
After beating the Germans you may as well go to Amsterdam three weeks later and put the Dutch to the sword, which Scotland did with that man Collins scoring as well as Leggat in 2-1 victory.
Graham missed the next Scotland match; a one nil defeat to Portugal in Lisbon but returned for the Home Internationals in October. Beginning with a four nil defeat of NI in Belfast with Leggat hitting the opener and followed by goals from John Hewie, John White and George Mulhall of Aberdeen completing the rout.
This was followed by two one each draws with Wales (November ‘59) and England (April 1960) respectively with no lesser players than first John Charles and then Bobby Charlton scoring for the opposition. Graham would only play in the first four games of the new decade but had completed his scoring for the national side. After the England game, three friendlies followed including a 3-2 defeat to Poland at Hampden, a 4-1 defeat in Vienna and finally in June 1960 a three all draw in Budapest with Hungary.
Although, his time with national team had come to an end, Graham did create a little piece of history on Boxing Day 1963, when during a 10-1 humping of Ipswich Town he scored a hat-trick for Fulham in three minutes which was a English top flight record until Sadio Mane of Southampton scored a quicker one in the EPL last May.
Like many of us I never saw Graham Leggat play but it doesn’t mean we can’t all appreciate his service to the Scotland side. May he rest in peace and our thoughts go to his family at this time.
First posted on Facebook September 1st 2015