First posted on Facebook on May 10th, 2016
Happy Birthday to Colin Stein who will celebrate his 69th birthday today. Colin is of course mostly associated with Rangers and indeed was one of the goalscorers in their European Cup Winners cup success of 1972. Colin was capped 21 times for Scotland, scoring ten goals; six of which would come against Cyprus.
Colin was transferred from Hibernian to Rangers in 1968 for what was a record transfer between two Scottish clubs at the time of £100,000. Given his scoring record for Hibs it is surprising that his first cap would come as a Rangers player. Colin was first capped in October, 1968 under Bobby Brown in a friendly against Denmark in Copenhagen.
Also winning their first caps were goalkeeper Jim Herriot of Birmingham City and Tommy McLean of Kilmarnock. Scotland won 1-0 thanks to a Bobby Lennox goal late in the second half.
Denis Law would return for the next game, Scotland’s first World Cup qualifier for Mexico 1970 against Austria at home. Scotland won 2-1 with Law and Billy Bremner grabbing the goals.
December would see Scotland travel to Cyprus next. Stein would line up alongside Alan Gilzean of Spurs in attack. They would both net a double with Bobby Murdoch of Celtic hitting the other as Scotland recorded a 5-0 win.
April, 1969 would see West Germany travel to Hampden in a Qualifier, again Stein would drop out for the returning Law. Bobby Murdoch would grab an 88th minute equaliser following a goal in the first half by Gerd Muller.
Stein would then return to the starting line-up after this and would play and score in the next five games for Scotland.
Scotland started the 1969 British Championships in May, down at the Racecourse Ground in Wrexham, in what was a bit of a ding dong of a game with Scotland emerging 5-3 victors. Stein would score the second goal with Billy McNeill, Gilzean, Bremner and Tommy McLean netting the other.
Next up in front of a massive crowd of . . . only 7,483 soaking wet souls Scotland drew 1-1 with Northern Ireland with Stein scoring Scotland’s goal. Apparently the double dunt of the game being televised and terrible weather hit the gate receipts quite badly.
Scotland then faced England in the final game of the Championships at Wembley. Stein would grab a goal but England grabbed four and a woeful day down at Wembley Way way was had.
However, happier times ensued seven days later as Stein would bag a hat-trick plus one, his teammates also scored four more between them with Eddie Gray of Leeds, Billy McNeill, Willie Henderson of Rangers and Tommy Gemmell of Celtic netting a penalty to give Scotland an 8-0 win.
September ’69 and Scotland would face the Republic of Ireland at Dalymount Park, Dublin in a friendly; Stein once more would score, making his tally eight in five games. However, Don Givens would score for the Irish for the game to end in a draw.
Law was out injured at this point and Colin was given a start against West Germany in Hamburg. Scotland needed to get at least a draw to have any chance of progressing to Mexico. Jimmy Johnstone gave them the prefect start with a goal in two minutes. However, a goal on either side of half time would see the Germans take the lead but Alan Gilzean would bring Scotland back into it. Heartache of course awaited the Scots, as Libuda put Germany 3-2 ahead in the 81st minute and with moments remaining Tommy Gemmell was sent off to further dent Scotland’s chances.
Stein would start the next two games on the bench; a 2-0 defeat in Austria followed by a one nil victory in Belfast over Northern Ireland with John O’Hare of Derby scoring. Scotland would fail to score in the next two games of the Home Internationals at home to both Wales and England. Both games ended 0-0 but Colin was denied a stonewall penalty following a lunge by Brian Labone of Everton in the England game, apparently the German referee was the only person in the Stadium that never saw it.
A few poor performances from Scotland at the start of their 1972 Euro Qualifiers, followed by a poor Home Internationals would see Bobby Brown resign from the manager’s post.
Tommy Docherty would take Stein to Brazil in the summer of ‘72 for the Independence Cup where Scotland would play Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and finally hosts Brazil in the Maracana. Stein would be given the final twelve minutes of the Czech match coming on for Denis Law; the game would end nothing each and this would be Stein’s only cap under Docherty and last as a Rangers player.
Willie Ormond would recall Stein in February 1973, now with Coventry City for his first game in charge starting him on the bench but he would only have to wait 19 minutes before coming on for an injured Willie Morgan. Perhaps Willie knew better as Scotland were already 3 down to England and the game would finish 5-0.
Stein’s last hurrah would be in the 1973 Home International series coming on as a sub in the 2-0 victory over Wales, starting in the 2-1 defeat at home to the Irish before a final ten minutes down at Wembley as Scotland suffered a one nil defeat.
Stein would return to Rangers a few years later and then move to Kilmarnock before winding his career down at Elgin City in the Highland League.
Colin’s hat-trick remained as Scotland’s last for almost 46 years when Steven Fletcher finally hit one against Gibraltar. He is still the only player in the modern era to score in six consecutive appearances for his country; a record he shares with Bob Hamilton from the 1900’s. Will we ever see that one broken and indeed he is still the last Scotland player to score four goals in the one game.
Happy Birthday Colin and all the best.