Happy Birthday to David Hay who will be 68 today. Thinking back even though I was only eleven at the time David Hay was one of my heroes of the 1974 team. He was exemplary midfielder who was tough in the tackle but also had a greats burst of speed as he ran at defences. He looked as though he would be in the Scotland team for years but sadly it was not to be.

David was first picked by Bobby Brown in 1970. Bobby obviously felt it was time to move on from the remnants of the 60’s and Scotland’s failure to reach the World Cup in Mexico. He began to look for younger players and for the Home Internationals series of 1970, he brought in several  untried players and for the first game against Northern Ireland in Belfast; David was brought in at full back along with Billy Dickson of Kilmarnock, Willie Carr of Coventry and Derby’s John O’Hare. It would be O’Hare who would score the games’ only goal.

All four would play in the Welsh and English game with Hay being moved more into a midfield position. Although Scotland failed to score in both games they never conceded either. Hay in the book ‘Paradise Lost the David Hay Story’ by Ken Gallacher does talk about being booed by certain sections of the Scotland support at the time because he was a Celtic player, which is something other players of that era have voiced.

Hay played in five more games for Bobby Brown including Euro Qualifier defeats in Denmark, Belgium and Portugal and also in the defeat to Northern Ireland and the draw with Wales in the Home Internationals of 1971, reverting back to full back.

Tommy Docherty chose David in midfield for his first three matches in charge in late 1971, starting with a 2-1 defeat of Portugal at Hampden with O’Hare again among the goals and then the 1-0 win over Belgium at Pittodrie. John O’Hare would provide the only goal but this game also saw the introduction of fellow Celtic ‘Quality Street Kid’ Kenny Dalglish to the national side coming on as a sub for Alex Cropley in the second half. Hay would also play in a 2-1 friendly loss to Netherlands with Johan Cruyff among the scorers for the Dutch in Amsterdam.

However, Hay fell off of Docherty’s radar at this point and came back into the team under Willie Ormond in May 1973 for the first Home International lining up against Wales at Ninian Park. Cardiff. Pure Quality was added to the team that day with Daniel Fergus McGrain making his debut as a Scotland player also. Gorgeous George Graham netted a double as Scotland own 2-0. Scotland lost the remaining game to Northern Ireland (2-1) and England (1-0) to finish third in the Championship that year and this was followed that summer by two 1-0 defeats away to Switzerland and at Home to Brazil (my first ever Scotland game). However, better times were just around the corner for Hay and Scotland.

September 26th, 1973 and Scotland play Czechoslovakia and a win would take us through to the World Cup Finals and if you need to know more, then you’re on the wrong Facebook page.

Having beaten the Czechs at Hampden and qualified, Scotland then travelled to Bratislava a month later for a meaningless game. Meaningless or not I’m sure it was a very proud 25 year old David Hay who led the team out as captain that day. Scotland lost one nil.

Hay was given this honour again in March 1974, as the Scots lost 2-1 to World Cup hosts West Germany in the Waldstadion, Frankfurt

Scotland started the 1974 Home Internationals series with another defeat to Northern Ireland going down 1-0 at Hampden. However, they hit their stride with a 2-0 win against Wales a few days later with Kenny Dalglish and Sandy Jardine from the penalty spot and were unstoppable as they beat England two nil on the following Saturday. Joe Jordan is officially given as the scorer of the first goal although it is England’s Mike Pejic who gets the final touch, the other goal is a definite own goal from Colin Todd though.

It was a great boost to Scotland’s confidence and although there would be issues on the small tour prior to Germany including a defeat to Belgium, money issues, drinking sessions and the acrimony with the press by the time of first game against Zaire in the Westfalenstadion, Dortmund on June 14th, 1974, Scotland Hay were ready.

The story of that World Cup has been told many times but as I have said as an impressionable 11 year old it was David Hay that stood out for me; playing in all three games with great skill and desire. It did seem as though he had the chance to become one of Scotland’s great players along with fellow Quality Street Kids, McGrain and Dalglish but it never happened.

David moved to Chelsea in the summer of 1974, where bad luck would dog him for the rest of his short career with injuries, an eye operation on a childhood injury and even a family bereavement all preventing him from playing for Scotland again; by 1979 he was forced to retire from the game with knee injuries.

He had been one of my early heroes in a Scotland shirt and if fate had been kind to him, he would’ve won more than the 27 caps he did.

Happy Birthday and all the best David.


David Stuart