Derek Whyte will be 47 on August 31st. Derek had a fairly unique Scotland career. He gained 12 caps in total, all in a twelve year period between 1987 and 1999; he made the squads for both the Euros of 1992 and ’96 and also 1998 without making an appearance at either Finals.
Derek was first capped as a Celtic player in October 1987 coming on as a sub for Maurice Malpas in the second half as Scotland managed to beat our Belgian hoodoo with two goals from Ally McCoist and Paul McStay. (Perhaps when we play Belgium again we should arrange for Hamish Husband to be on holiday for that one too.) Also making his debut that night was Gary Gillespie of Liverpool whilst Stevie Clarke of Chelsea and Ian Wilson of Everton were also in the line-up.
Derek’s next game was away against Luxembourg in December of that year in the last of our Euro qualifiers, as a makeshift right back. Derek could be happy that Scotland kept a clean sheet. Not so much, that Luxembourg did too.
Fast forward two years and Derek was on Rous Cup duty coming on as a sub for Gillespie as Scotland beat Chile 2-0 at Hampden with goals from Alan McInally and Murdo Macleod. Jump another three years for Derek’s next appearance; again as a sub for Dave McPherson v USA in Denver as the Scots won one nil with Pat Nevin scoring the only goal. As stated Derek made the cut for the Euro Finals that year despite not featuring in any more of the warm-up games.
World Cup Qualifiers in October and November ’92 saw Derek, then a Middlesbrough player play the full ninety minutes against Portugal and then Italy with both games being played at Ibrox. Again Derek could be happy with clean sheets in both, unfortunately so could the Portuguese and Italian defences.
A pattern begins to emerge as Derek waits almost another three years and a Kirin Cup appearance against Japan in Hiroshima in May 1995. Derek came on as a sub late in the game for Colin Calderwood as we Scotland drew nil nil.
Derek started the following Kirin Cup game against Ecuador as the Scots won 2-1 with goals from John Robertson and Stevie Crawford. Cap number eight and this is the first time Derek has played in a team that conceded a goal, which came from a penalty.
Derek finally taste defeat in a Scotland shirt as the Scots go down 2-1 to the US in another Euro warm up. Incidentally, why have we gone to the US to warm up for a tournament in the Europe for two finals in a row? Gordon Durie scored Scotland’s goal that day.
The Euros ’96, another tournament, another squad and again no game time.Cap ten and Derek played against Latvia in a World Cup qualifier in October ’96. Again another clean sheet but fortunately goals from John Collins and Darren Jackson saw Scotland win.
Derek returns to the Scotland team almost eighteen months later in April ’98 as an Aberdeen player with an appearance in a friendly against Finland in front of a sparse crowd of 14,315 at Tynecastle. The game ended up one each with Darren Jackson scoring Scotland’s goal.
World Cup 1998, another tournament, another squad and again no game time.Derek’s final Scotland game was as one of six subs in the shock 1-0 win against Germany when Don Hutchison supplied the goal in April 1999 in Bremen.
So Happy Birthday to the unique Derek Whyte not only for all those Finals squads but one defeat in twelve and nine clean sheets for a defender must be quite pleasing too.
First posted on Facebook August 31st, 2015