First posted on Facebook May 5th, 2016

Happy Birthday Derek Parlane, who will be 63 today. Rangers’ striker Parlane played for Scotland 12 times, scoring one goal. It was Willie Ormond, who gave Derek his first cap, in what was Ormond’s second game in charge. After seeing an experienced team go down 5-0 to England in his first game; Willie gave debut caps to five players in his second, which took place at the Racecourse, Wrexham in May 1973.
As well as Derek, Ibrox teammates goalkeeper Peter McLoy and Derek Johnstone in a defensive role, Celtic’s Danny McGrain and Manchester United’s Jim Holton were all given their first caps.
However, it was to be George Graham, recently transferred from Arsenal to Tommy Docherty’s Manchester United who would score a double to give Scotland a 2-0 victory. Derek would be substituted for another Rangers legend Colin Stein, then of Coventry in the 80th minute.
Derek would miss the rest of the Home International Series but returned for two friendlies in June; the first in Berne, Switzerland, played at the wonderfully named Wankdorf Stadion, which Scotland lost 1-0. The second, was my first Scotland game as we played the mighty Brazil at Hampden on June 30th. In front of 78,181(the one was me!); it was Derek’s club teammate Derek Johnstone who scored the only goal of the game. Sadly it was for Brazil.
The World Cup in 1974 would come and go; without Derek as the return of Denis Law, the emergence of the Jordan and Dalglish partnership and others including Donald Ford of Hearts overtook him in the pecking order and although he was part of the original squad of forty; he did not make it in to the final 22. Although, the makers of football cards and stickers for the World Cup all included him it seems.
It would be February, 1975 before Derek would feature in the team again coming midway through the second half for Joe Jordan in early February in a Euro Qualifier against Spain in Valencia. Scotland grabbed a credible one each draw with Jordan scoring in the first two minutes and the Spanish equalising one minute after Parlane’s introduction. However, a home defeat to Spain the previous November, would be Scotland’s downfall in the campaign.
Derek played in a friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg in April which was drawn one each with Ted MacDougall of Norwich scoring and then played five games in May / June within the space of 18 days. (Rangers teammate Stewart Kennedy began his short Scotland career in the Swedish game.)
They started off with a 1-0 friendly victory over Portugal with Artur scoring an own goal for the victory. This was followed by an exciting game down at Ninian Park, Cardiff where Scotland lost two goals in quick succession to the Welsh in the first half. Early into the second half Derek dug in well at the bye line and crossed a ball over for Colin Jackson to head into the Welsh net. Bruce Rioch in only his second game would thunder in the equaliser in the 62nd minute from the edge of the box as the game finished 2-0.

A few days later and Derek scored his one and only Scotland goal in a 3-0 victory over Northern Ireland at Hampden with Ted MacDougall and Kenny Dalglish netting the others.
Maybe things might have turned out differently four days after that had they not played the Portuguese game as it does seem as if a bit of crazy scheduling was going on. Suffice to say Stewart Kennedy entered the Wembley arena unbeaten in a Scotland strip and left it with his reputation forever tarnished as the Scots lost 5-1.
As if that wasn’t enough a week later they had a Euro Qualifier in Bucharest against Romania. Jim Brown of Sheffield United earned his only cap in goal that day as the Scots gained a one each draw with a goal from Gordon McQueen in the last minute.
Derek’s next Scotland game would be in a Euro Qualifier against Denmark at home in late October ’75. However, Derek would only be given the last five minutes coming on for Ted MacDougall. Ted had scored the third Scottish goal that night following those of Bruce Rioch and Kenny Dalglish. (For those who are thinking that MacDougall must’ve scored quite a few for Scotland; his only three goals, in seven matches mind you, happened in these games mentioned already.) As for Derek that would be his last game under Willie Ormond.
He would make one final appearance; in Ally MacLeod’s first game in charge and once more in Wales at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham in May 1977. Ally’s Scotland career started rather sedately with a nothing each draw with Derek being substituted in the 74th minute for Kenny Burns, then of Birmingham City.
Interestingly cheapskate Dutch company Monty Gum did feature him in their 1978 World Cup set and apparently even their 1982 set!!
As for Derek he would leave Rangers in 1980 and move briefly to Leeds and then to Manchester City, Swansea, Rochdale, Airdrie, Macclesfield and even have stints abroad with teams in Hong Kong, New Zealand and Belgium.
Happy Birthday Derek and all the best.

David Stuart