Posted on Facebook, June 7th, 2017
Kevin Kyle will turn 36 today. For many of us the fact that Kevin reached 10 caps for Scotland is a bit profound when you consider he won the same amount as the likes of Bobby Lennox. It is a reminder of those dark days under Berti Vogts when players could actually have played more for the national side than their club team. If you were a young player in an English Premiership club; then you seemed to get a free pass to the International scene and although Darren Fletcher eventually flourished there were the likes of Brain Kerr, Michael Stewart and Warren Cummings who never really cut it at the top English Premier level.
Kevin’s first cap came as a Sunderland player against South Korea in the Asiad Main Stadium, Busan in May 2002. Scotland lost 4-1 with West Brom’s Scott Dobie hitting Scotland’s consolation goal. Kevin came on in the 66th minute for Allan Johnston. He would play the first 80 odd minutes against South Africa, a few days later in the so called Reunification Cup as Scotland lost 2-0 in Hong Kong. This was followed up with a game against the hosts or rather a Honk Kong League XI who Scotland magnificently despatched 4-0 with Kevin scoring his one and only Scotland goal.
That’s as good as it got for Kevin in some ways for Scotland, he would win his fifth cap against the Faroes in Toftir in September, 2002 in a Euro Qualifier. Scotland were rather inept that day and lost two goals early and took a long time to get back into the game eventually equalising in the 83rd minute through Barry Ferguson. Kevin had rarely troubled the Faroes despite his height and physique.
He would play four more games for Berti but only in friendlies although his stock had begun to rise at Sunderland as he began to make the first team more often and indeed as ended up as their second top goalscorer in season 2003-04 with 16 goals in the championship.
However, he began to be blighted with hip injuries and these would plague him for the rest of his career. A poor period at Coventry eventually saw him come move north of the border to play for Kilmarnock. Kevin was recognised for his improved form and deservedly earned another cap for Scotland against Wales coming on in the second half for Steven Naismith. Unfortunately for Kevin this was to be manager’s George Burley last game in charge as Scotland were well beaten 3-0 in Cardiff.
Kevin would move to Hearts before spells with Rangers and Ayr United but his fitness levels were always hampered by injury and so he retired in 2014. He was in the news shortly after as he was discovered to be working as a cleaner with P&O Ferries to provide for his family.
Last year he was again in the news but for something more cheery as he had entered the BDO Scottish Open Darts tournament and although he didn’t progress too far he did knock out the number 9 seed before going out himself. Wonder how he did this year?
Happy Birthday Kevin and all the best.