(First posted on Facebook on March 11th, 2016)
Former Rangers goalkeeper Billy Ritchie, died today at the age of 79. Billy will be best remembered as the Rangers goalkeeper from the mid-fifties through to 1967 and made over 350 appearances for the club. He would also go on to play for Partick Thistle, Motherwell and Stranraer.
However, Billy was capped for Scotland on one occasion. This was in May, 1962 when he was given the second half against Uruguay in a friendly at Hampden. Eddie Connachan of Dunfermline started the game between the sticks, in what would be his second and final cap. A crowd of 67,181 had turned up; no doubt wanting to cheer on the side that had beaten England 2-0 at Hampden the month before. Scotland would score two goals but unfortunately by the time of those goals Uruguay had already sailed into a 3-0 lead.
The score was 2-0 at half time when Billy replaced Connachan and within two minutes Luis Cubilla had scored his second goal of the game, his first came on the stroke of half time.
There was a bit tension during the game and at one flashpoint it did look as though it was going to boil over but temperatures did cool eventually and no one was sent off. Scotland did stage a comeback with late goals in the last ten minutes from fellow Rangers players Jim Baxter and Ralph Brand but 3-2 was how it finished and thus ended Billy’s brief Scotland career. Scotland would continue with Bill Brown of Tottenham in the main over the next few years but the likes of Liverpool’s Tommy Lawrence, Adam Blacklaw of Burnley, Jim Cruickshank of Hearts and Campbell Forsyth of Kilmarnock were all given a chance also.
At this time our thoughts go to Billy’s family. Billy Ritchie rest in peace.