First posted on Facebook, August 27th, 2016
Goalkeeper Eddie will turn 81 today. Eddie helped Dunfermline win the Scottish Cup for the very first time in May, 1961 in what was known at the time as “Connachan’s Cup Final”, such was the display he put on that day to deny Celtic. There can be very few Scottish goalkeepers ever that have been pitched in at the deep end as Eddie was for his first cap in November, 1961. Due to an injury to Spurs goalkeeper Bill Brown; Eddie was given the No.1 shirt for the vital World Cup Play-off against Czechoslovakia. The SFA did try and replace Connachan with the more experienced Lawrie Leslie of West Ham but having supplied FIFA with an original squad list naming Brown and Connachan, the Czechs would not allow this change to go ahead.
Scotland would lose four goals to two after extra time in Brussels but having read two contemporary reports of the game Connachan is not implicated in the loss of any goals. Both reports speak of the dirty tactics of the Czech players, the referee’s poor performance but mostly of the anonymous performances by Messrs. Law, Baxter and John White. Baxter is also blamed for the loss of one of the goals and apparently should have been sent off for a crunching tackle late in the game too.
As for Connachan, he would only play one more game for Scotland, as generally Brown was first choice around this time. He played in the ‘not so’ friendly against Uruguay in May 1962 but was only given the first half being replaced by Billy Ritchie of Rangers who would be winning his only Scotland cap that day. It is interesting to note that Luis Cubilla scored in the 45th minute and the 47th minute and so technically scored two goals in two minutes playing against two different goalkeepers. Uruguay won the game 3-2 despite a late rally by the Scots.
Having played 126 League games for Dunfermline, Eddie moved on to Middlesbrough in 1963 and would return to Scotland to play for Falkirk in 1966. He would finish his career playing football in South Africa, where I believe he still lives. Eddie was inducted into the Dunfermline Hall of Fame in March, 2007.
Happy Birthday Eddie and all the best.