First posted on Facebook, June 17th, 2016

Who? I know I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one but when there’s no first team player with a birthday I sometimes look up the Under 21 players and see if I can find something interesting. Last week I almost wrote about Jim McNichol who as a Brentford player gained 7 Under 21 caps in the late 70’s. Jim’s claim to fame was that in May, 1987 he saved Torquay from relegation from the old English 4th Division. 2-0 down at half time to Crewe Alexander his team faced the drop but Jim scored from a free kick after the restart. In the dying seconds with tensions high the police brought in Police dogs to ensure there was no crowd trouble. One of the dogs Bryn, got a bit too excitable and attacked McNichol who would need 17 stitches to his leg but in the injury time added on for his treatment Torquay equalised in the dying seconds. Now that’s what they mean when they talk about taking one for the team.
Anyway, back to Graeme Hogg. What’s so interesting about him? Well, other than that he played for Manchester United and during a spell with Hearts he had his nose broken by team mate Craig Levein after an on-field dispute. Other than that not much. Graeme did achieve four Under 21 caps but what is interesting is the team that he played with in his first game for the Under 21’s.
Central defender Graeme lined up for the Scotland under 21’s for the first time in April, 1984 in Belgrade, This was second leg of the Quarter Finals of the European Championships. Scotland had won the first leg 2-1 with goals from Mo Johnston and Brian McClair.
The team to face Yugoslavia would win 329 full caps between them but would also have two players in their ranks who would probably, be among the best players never capped for Scotland. The line-up and Caps were Bryan Gunn (6), Stevie Clarke (6), Mark Reid (0), Richard Gough (61), Hogg (0), Maurice Malpas (55), Bobby Russell (0), Roy Aitken (57), Paul McStay (76), Mo Johnston (38). Subs would be John Hewitt (0) and Brian McClair (30).
Mo Johnston would score for Scotland but the Scots would lose 2-1 to take the tie into extra time and the game would end 3-1. Jock Stein at the time had complained about the timing of the game as some of the Scotland players had played two domestic games in the four days previous to the match.

Bobby Russell of Rangers would of course be an over age player for this tie and is often cited as one of the greatest players never to be capped by Scotland as is John Hewitt of Aberdeen.

As for Graeme he would play 81 times for Man. United before moving on to Portsmouth, Hearts, Notts County and Brentford.
Happy Birthday Graeme.