( This article was first posted on Facebook on 20th February, 2016)
David Speedie will be 56 today. David was a small but tenacious, hardworking striker who was well loved at both Chelsea and Coventry City in the 1980’s, he would also have stints at Liverpool, Blackburn, West Brom , West Ham and Leicester City among others.
It was Jock Stein who first picked Speedie for the National side throwing him in at the deep end against England in May ’85, in the first ever Rous Cup game starting up front alongside Steve Archibald. Richard Gough would score the only goal in the second half to give Scotland the cup.
Although, he would not play in the World Cup Qualifier against Iceland a few days later, he would start against Wales on that fateful night where Scotland qualified for the World Cup in ’86 but would sadly lose Jock Stein, starting up front with Graeme Sharp. Scotland drew one each, equalising from a penalty by Davie Cooper; it was given after Speedie had flicked the ball on and it struck the Welsh defender in the hand for the penalty award.
Alex Ferguson used Speedie as a sub in his first game in charge a 0-0 draw in a friendly with East Germany at Hampden coming on in the second half for Maurice Johnston. David also played in the second leg of the play-off in Australia as Scotland slogged out a 0-0 draw, following the 2-0 win in the first leg in December 1985.
For his fifth cap, David was once more given the nod to play against England in a Rous Cup match which Scotland lost 2-1 at Wembley in April, ’86.
Despite playing in this game, as the Scots headed to Mexico a month or so later he was not on the plane with the likes of Charlie Nicholas, Steve Archibald, Paul Sturrock, Frank McAvennie and Graeme Sharp getting the nod in front of him. Although, he did make the Panini Sticker set.
It would be two years later when David returned to the team under Andy Roxburgh, no longer with Chelsea but with Coventry City. David came on as a sub in a World Cup Qualifier in 1988 against Yugoslavia in October at Hampden. Mo Johnston had scored early in the game but Yugoslavia had equalised through Katanec before half time. The game finished 1-1.
David would also make a three minute appearance a couple of months later, three days before Christmas as Scotland played in Italy in Perugia in a friendly; which Italy won 2-0.
He would play in Scotland’s next game, in Limassol as Scotland toiled to beat Cyprus 3-2 with Richard Gough scoring the winner 6 minutes into injury time. This was really a vital goal as group rivals France could only manage a draw in Cyprus and effectively the one point difference allowed us to progress to Italia ’90 as runners up. Speedie had been replaced by Alan McInally in the 78th minute.
Another subs appearance at Hampden in April ’89 coming on as a sub for Gordon Durie in the home match v Cyprus followed; a game Scotland won 2-1 with goals from Mo Jo and Ally McCoist.
Rous Cup action would be David’s tenth and final game for Scotland but this time not against England but Chile as Roxburgh tried out a little and large strike force with McInally and Speedie. Rambo would score Scotland’s opener in 4 minutes, which was followed by a second half strike from Murdo MacLeod as Scotland ran out 2-0 winners.
That was it for David as Scotland progressed towards Italia ’90, he was seen as surplus to requirement although he would move from Coventry to Liverpool in January 1991 under Kenny Dalglish; his time at Liverpool was not that successful and another Scotland legend, Graeme Souness would soon move him on to Blackburn.
Happy Birthday David and all the best.
PS Further to this article I came across a piece that mentioned Speedie’s absence from the squad for Mexico. According to Speedie, Alex Ferguson told him he was going but then Kenny Dalglish made himself available and Speedie was left out. Fair enough but of course Dalglish dropped out and Steve Archibald was given his place even though he only manged 16 games for Barcelona all that season. Wonder if David still holds a grudge?