First posted on Facebook May 7th, 2016
Happy Birthday to Scotland’s most famous dentist and of course Lisbon Lion Jim Craig who will turn 73 today . . . perhaps. Jim’s birthday is also listed as April 30th in places too. His Wikipedia page decides to be ambivalent and gives one date at the top of the page and another on the statistic bit on the side.
Jim belongs to that exclusive club of players who have won just one Scotland cap. Jim was an excellent over-lapping full back who served Celtic very well in over 150 games between 1963 and 1972. He had an eventful European Cup Final, giving away a penalty in only six minutes, which was converted by Mazzola for Inter to take the lead. However, it was Jim’s infield pass to his fellow full back Tommy Gemmell, that Tommy thundered the ball past Sarti for an equaliser in 63 minutes and the rest as they say is history.
Although everyone in the starting eleven in Lisbon would be capped, overall the Lisbon Lions were poorly served by the Scotland team as most would only win a few caps each, and in fact Bertie Auld’s three caps came in 1959 during his first period at Parkhead. As for Jim, his one cap came on November 22nd, 1967 against Wales at Hampden that doubled up as a Home International and Euro Qualifier. Two goals from Alan Gilzean and a third from Ronnie McKinnon saw Scotland overcome Wales 3-2. Looking at the games proceeding and after this, Scotland had a settled full back partnership in Eddie McCreadie and Tommy Gemmell, with Tommy’s absence perhaps being the reason for Jim’s inclusion on that night. Not only would this be Jim’s last appearance in a Scotland shirt but it was also the last of his 34 for Jim Baxter too.
Celtic did provide quite a few full backs for Scotland from the early 60’s through to the 70’s with the likes of Duncan Mackay, Jim Kennedy, Davie Hay, Jim Brogan and the wonderful Daniel Fergus McGrain playing as well as Craig and Gemmell.
So Happy Birthday Jim or even Happy Belated Birthday Jim.