First posted on Facebook, 4th June
Lou will be 67 today. Lou started out as a Celtic player and was one of the so called ‘Quality Street Gang’ along with the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Danny McGrain and George Connelly. Lou would only play 58 League games with Celtic, winning six caps for Scotland during this time before going on to play for Manchester United and gaining another 18 caps for a total of 24.
His caps would come in stages from between 1972 to 1978. His first cap came under Tommy Docherty at Hampden, May 1972 against Wales coming on as a sub for Derby County’s John O’Hare in 56 minutes. Peter Lorimer would hit the game’s only goal sixteen minutes later.
Macari would keep his place for the England game a few days later which Scotland would lose one nil at Wembley. Following this in June, he played in all three games of the Brazilian independence Cup. Lou scored both Scotland’s goals in the opening match with Yugoslavia that ended in a 2-2 draw. Scotland would then go on to draw 0-0 with Czechoslovakia before losing 1-0 to hosts Brazil in their last match of the tournament.
Lou would play in the Scotland’s World Cup qualifying opener in Copenhagen in October ’72 and would score his third goal in six games after only 17 minutes; the perfect start to Scotland’s 1974 World Cup campaign. He was also vital in the third goal, back heeling the ball to allow Joe Harper to score. Scotland won 4-1.
It would be February 1973 before he would play again and circumstances had changed somewhat. Lou was now a Manchester United player with Tommy Docherty as his manager. Willie Ormond was now in charge of the Scotland team and gave Lou a starting berth in his first game in charge. Unlike a few from that first game Lou was not dropped by Ormond following the 5-0 mauling by England and played in Willie’s first four games in charge. The 1973 Home internationals were quite poor for Scotland with only a victory over Wales followed by narrow defeats to both Northern Ireland and England.
The 1974 World Cup would come and go without Lou’s inclusion and indeed it would be April 1975 before he was back in the team for a friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg. Lou would play the first 54 minutes before being replaced by Derek Johnstone of Rangers. The game would end 1-1 with Ted MacDougall of Norwich City bagging Scotland’s goal in the 86th minute.
Lou would then be involved for the next five games which would see Scotland play five games in a spell of 20 days; two wins, two draws and a goddamn awful defeat would be the net result starting with a 1-0 victory over Portugal at Hampden on May 13th in a needless friendly. The 17th and the 20th would see a 2-2 draw with Wales followed by a resounding 3-0 win over Northern Ireland. May 24th proved to be Stewart Kennedy’s last game in goals for Scotland and if you don’t why; google it!
The final game of the quintet was a European Championship Qualifier against Romania on June 1st. Thanks to a late Gordon McQueen goal Scotland came away with a credible 1-1 draw but by then any chance of qualifying was over.
Once more Lou was exiled to the International Wilderness but would return for Ally MacLeod’s second game in charge as a 69th minute sub for Joe Jordan as Scotland took on Northern Ireland at home. Scotland would win rather convincingly 3-0 and then it was onto Wembley ’77.
Although, Lou would not start he would come on for an injured Joe Jordan moments after Scotland had went into the lead through Gordon McQueen at the end of the first half. Lou would have a part to play in the second goal as his mistimed flick allowed the ball to slip through to Dalglish who would scrape the ball into the net. Scotland would win 2-1 and bedlam would follow as the fans invaded the pitch.
With Jordan out, Lou then found himself as part of Ally MacLeod’s team for the 1977 tour of South America. Once more Lou would hit a brace in the opening game on that continent, as Scotland beat Chile 4-2, a 1-1 draw with Argentina and 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the Maracana would follow.
Lou would not feature in the 3-1 World Cup Qualifier win over Czechoslovakia but would do so for the game at Anfield in October against Wales which saw Scotland win 2-0 and qualify for Argentina.
Lou did not feature in Scotland’s poor 1978 Home internationals but would return for the first game of the Scotland’s World Cup in Cordoba, Argentina, coming on for Bruce Rioch as part of a double substitution with Archie Gemmill replacing Don Masson as Scotland were struggling to get to grip with the skill of Peru having just lost a second goal.
Lou’s last Scotland game would be a few days later as they floundered to a 1-1 draw with Iran.
There has been a lot written about Scotland’s failure in the World Cup and Macari has often been quoted as one of the bad guys as he was doing some of the complaining about the SFA’s and MacLeod’s lack of preparedness going into the World Cup and also some of the rumblings over financial payments for players. The thing is; a lot of his statements were fact. Scotland’s living arrangements were a farce despite having been in Argentina the year before; MacLeod did not check out Peru or indeed Iran before the World Cup, so had no real idea of their play and as to the finances; the 1974 World Cup was also blighted by this and the SFA still hadn’t learnt four years later.
Lou would of course go on to play just over 400 games for Manchester United before leaving in 1984 and moving on to Swindon Town where he would eventually take his first step into management.
Happy Birthday Lou and all the best.