“BUT SCOTLAND’S OUTSTANDING PLAYER WAS GOALKEEPER —– ——-, WHO WAS IMMACULATE, IN FACT, IT WAS THE MOST CONFIDENT DISPLAY I’VE SEEN FROM A SCOTLAND GOALKEEPER IN THE PAST TEN YEARS”
Thus wrote, Jim Blair, the well renowned Evening Times reporter on September 8th, 1977, having just watched Ally MacLeod’s Scotland lose 1-0 to East Germany in East Berlin but who did he write it about?
It was one, Davie Stewart of Leeds United, playing in what was to be his only Scotland game. In the very next paragraph Jim goes on to explain how Stewart also saved a penalty. It seems a bit unfair that Stewart never played again if indeed his display was that good, after all Jim Blair had written that section in block capitals to emphasise how good he was.
I suppose one of Ally MacLeod’s weaknesses, could be he was too loyal to players and perhaps this was his downfall in Argentina, sticking with the likes of Don Masson, who had not had a great season with Derby County under Tommy Docherty and who performed badly at the Home Internationals and others.
But back to Davie Stewart and why he was given his chance to play for Scotland. It is perhaps unbelievable but Partick Thistle manager Bertie Auld had done the unthinkable and dropped Big Roughie for his “attitude”. I think this means, he was a lazy fat B. in training, which I find hard to believe . . . not.
Future Scotland goalie Billy Thomson, had taken over between the sticks at Firhill for a couple of games and so perhaps Ally felt he couldn’t rightly play Rough for a friendly when he couldn’t even get a game for his club. Mind you, it never stopped WGS playing Alan Hutton.
Rough was soon back as first choice for the Jags and indeed at the very next home game, a chant of “ If you hate Davie Stewart clap your hands “ was given a rendition or two. Needless to say I didn’t join in, self-loathing would come later in my teens but my friends were very vociferous shall we say. He was also back for Scotland’s next two games; two vital World Cup Qualifiers, the 3-1 home win against Czechoslovakia and the 2-0 defeat of Wales at Anfield where Rough performed heroics, in particular denying John Toshack late in the game.
As for Davie Stewart, I suppose it’s a bit strange that I talked about loyalty and Ally MacLeod after all, who was the first choice goalkeeper at Ayr United in the years that Ally led them; none other than the aforementioned Mr. Stewart playing over 200 games for them. Scotland qualified for Argentina but in his search for another goalkeeper, Ally chose to play Coventry’s Jim Blyth a couple of times in some games, rather than give Davie another chance and when it came to a third choice goalie, it was to veteran Bobby Clark of Aberdeen he plucked for his squad in South America.
Also, in the Evening Times that day, there was a piece on Martin Buchan refusing the Scotland captaincy, apparently Buchan did not want the publicity that would come with such a task. It also goes on to say that Buchan had fallen out with Willie Ormond after the 5-1 defeat to England in 1975, refusing to travel to Romania a week or so later. One can only assume it was because Frank Munro of Wolves had been chosen ahead of him.
There is also a report on the Under 23’s win against Switzerland at Tynecastle, with goals from Ian Wallace (2) and Davie Cooper and apparently a missed penalty by David Narey, perhaps he should have toepoked it!
Finally, the photo is of course the programme from the East Germany game with the letters emblazoned DDR, which of course meant Deutsche Demokratische Republik but perhaps for Ally it just meant Don’t Drop Rough!
David (no relation) Stuart