First posted on Facebook, September 26th, 2016
Bobby will turn 71 today.Bobby gained 17 caps for Scotland as goalkeeper but never really got to establish himself as the number one choice.
However, in researching Bobby’s career you really get a sense of what a remarkable man he is. Bobby is of course famous as the Aberdeen goalie from the late 60’s through to the 80’s when he relinquished the role to Jim Leighton. He also held the record for not conceding a goal in consecutive minutes at 1,155 minutes which he established in season 1970-71. Edwin Van Der Saar of Manchester United would finally break this British record in 2009. Fraser Forster would break the Scottish record in 2014.
He would also manage to turn out for Aberdeen as a full centre half for two games when he lost his goalkeeping spot to Ernie McGarr in season ’68-’69.
As for Scotland, Bobby played his first game in 1967. Bobby who played for Queen’s Park previously replaced Ronnie Simpson who also played for Queen’s Park at one time as did the Scotland manager Bobby Brown. His debut was in a 3-2 win over Wales at Hampden in a Home International match in November 1967. Two goals by Alan Gilzean and one by Ronnie McKinnon earned Scotland the win.
Another cap, six months later in a nil nil draw with Netherlands in Amsterdam followed. It would be another 11 games before he was capped again with Ronnie Simpson, Jim Herriot of Birmingham City, Tommy Lawrence of Liverpool and even the aforementioned Ernie McGarr all taking charge between the sticks. However, his return in a one nil win over Northern Ireland in April 1970 was a one off as Bobby Brown went with another former Queen’s Park goalkeeper in Hearts’ Jim Cruickshank’s.
Bobby’s longest run of games came in Bobby Brown’s last six games in charge from April ’71 to June ’71. Unfortunately, Scotland lost five out of the six games and it’s probably indicative of the times that the team sent out to play England was: Bobby in goals, John Greig (Rangers), Jim Brogan (Celtic), Billy Bremner (Leeds), Frank McLintock (Arsenal), Bobby Moncur (Newcastle), Jimmy Johnstone (Celtic), Tony Green (Blackpool), Peter Cormack (Nottingham Forest), Davie Robb (Aberdeen) and Hugh Curran of Wolves. Subs that day were Frank Munro, also of Wolves and Airdrie’s Drew Jarvie. Scotland got beat 3-1 with Hugh Curran scoring Scotland’s goal. Happy Birthday Hugh, who will be 73 on 25th September.
Although, Bobby would be replaced by Bob Wilson of Arsenal in Tommy Docherty’s first game in charge. Bobby would play in 7 of Tommy’s 12 games in charge including the Home International series of 1972 and two games of the Brazilian Independence Cup that summer.
Bobby’s 17th and last cap came in Willie Ormond’s first game in charge as Scotland were pumped 5-0 in a miserable night at Hampden by England. This game was played to celebrate the centenary of the Scottish Football Association. On a snow covered Hampden pitch and with an orange ball, we got Sweet FA and the You Tube video does not make great viewing. Avoid at all costs…..
Bobby would of course be named in many Scotland squads in following years, mostly as the experienced third choice goalie and although he was not chosen for the 1974 World Cup Squad, he was picked for the 1978 squad.
Bobby had gained three caps as an Under-23 player, when he was 21. At the age of 31, Bobby gained the first of three Under-21 caps as he was pitched in as the experienced over age player for some of the early Under-21 games.
Bobby’s story does not end as his goalkeeping career finished, Bobby at 71 is still coaching at the famous University of Notre Dame in the US, where he is the head soccer coach.