(First posted on Facebook in March, 9th, 2016)
Ernie McGarr will be 72 today. Goalkeeper, Ernie had a brief time in the limelight as for one season he disposed Bobby Clark as Aberdeen goalkeeper and was also capped for Scotland.
In season 68-69, he was given his chance as Aberdeen’s first choice, due to a perceived loss of form by Clark from then boss Eddie Turnbull. Ernie grabbed it with both gloved hands and did so well that he was picked for Scotland by Bobby Brown in September, 1969 to face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly in Dublin.
Luck was against Ernie as he was subbed after only twenty four minutes due to injury with Jim Herriot of Birmingham City replacing him. Scotland were leading one nil through a Colin Stein goal but within three minutes of coming on, Jim conceded a goal and that was how it finished.
Herriot played in the next game, Scotland’s vital World Cup qualifier against West Germany in Hanover, which was lost 3-2 and so was our qualifying hopes were over but McGarr was back in for the final game against Austria, which was lost 2-0 and so Goodnight Vienna and goodnight McGarr.
It is perhaps telling that for Scotland’s next International Bobby Clark was in goals as he had taken over once more at Pittodrie. As for Ernie, he would play for Dunfermline, East Fife, Cowdenbeath, Airdrie and Berwick in years to come. Happy Birthday Ernie.
Also sharing a birthday is another goalkeeper; Jim Stewart, who will be 62 today. Jim’s Scotland career is a bit of strange one and he was involved in the squads since 1974 but didn’t play until 1977 and only gained two caps in total. Kilmarnock goalkeeper, Jim actually made the World Cup squad in 1974 and was third choice goalkeeper as such. However, he never got to play for Scotland until three years later. Ally MacLeod gave him the second half of the friendly against Chile in Santiago in the summer of ’77. Scotland were winning 3-0 at half time but lost two goals in the second half and although they would win 4-2, perhaps Ally had decided at that point not to include him in his ’78 World Cup Squad but that man Bobby Clark would in a strange twist of fate.
However, Jim would get one more cap when as a Middlesbrough player Jock Stein picked him to play in his first game in charge. No doubt Jock gave the news to Alan Rough that he was being left out quite sensitively. “Hey, fat Bastard you’re dropped”. Once again, Jim would concede two goals as Scotland toiled to a 3-2 against Norway at home in a Euro Qualifier in October, ‘78 to start the Jock Stein era.
However, the aforementioned Rough returned as first choice under Stein in the next fixture and Stewart slipped out of the International scene and would go on to play for the Rangers, St. Mirren and Partick Thistle before serving quite a few clubs as goalkeeping coach and is currently serving in this capacity at Rangers.
Happy Birthday Jim.