First posted on Facebook on April 20th, 2016
Happy Birthday to Lee Wilkie who will be 36 today. It’s always rather sad to be wishing Happy Birthday to someone who should with all things being equal still be playing football but Lee retired as he was just hitting the age of thirty.
He may not have been the greatest Centre Half that ever played for Scotland but during those dark days of insipidity that Berti reigned over Scotland, you always got the feeling that here was a fan that got lucky, someone who gave his all for the dark blue of Scotland.
Lee would gain eleven Scotland caps and all would come under Berti Vogts and as a Dundee player. He was first capped during a tour of the Far East, no not Leith or even Prestonpans but the actual Far East i.e. Hong Kong. Lee came on as a sub in a game against World Cup bound South Africa in May 2002 in the Happy Valley district of Hong Kong in the Reunification Cup. Scotland lost 2-0. However, Lee played the full game against a Hong Kong League Select a few days later as the Scots romped home 4-0. Yep, Jackie Chan, Hong Kong Phooey and several other people we gave your boys a hell of a beating.
He would then go on to play against Iceland in the second of our 2004 Euro Qualifiers in October, 2002 with fellow defenders Christian Dailly and Gary Naysmith scoring the goals in a 2-0 win for Scotland.
A couple of friendlies ensued including one in Portugal in an absolute downpour which perhaps should’ve been abandoned and saw a drenched Scotland lose 2-0 in Lisbon.
Lee scored his only Scotland goal when winning his sixth cap against Iceland in March, 2003 and a winning goal it proved to be as he popped up in the Icelandic penalty to header a Christian Dailly cross in to give Scotland a 2-1 lead. (Check the page as I will post it soon after posting this).
A Euro Qualifier defeat followed to Lithuania in Kaunas and a home friendly defeat to Austria followed a month or so later. Lee would also play on the home victory over the Faroes at the start of season 2003-’04.
Lee’s final two Scotland games are the epitome of the greatest highs of supporting Scotland and the lowest of lows. To be honest we had struggled through our qualifying group for Euro 2004 but we were seeded second and that’s where we ended up. What we wouldn’t have given to have Iceland, Lithuania and the Faroes in our group last year alongside Germany.
And so we made the play-offs and only the Netherlands stood in our way. The excitement that first game gave to the nation and the injection of hope as Darren Fletcher and James McFadden engineered that goal that gave us a one nil lead in the tie almost bordered on euphoric.
The come down from the humiliating defeat a few days still permeates the air every time we play a ‘big team’ it seems. The 6-0 defeat was to be Lee’s last game for Scotland as he and a whole bunch of others were found wanting to say the least.
Lee would suffer from injuries over the next few years which would hamper any return to Scotland duty, even though it looked at one point as a Dundee United player he might be given the chance.
So Happy Birthday to Big Lee and all the best.