First posted on Facebook October 1st, 2016
Scotland have only ever played one match on October 1st and it was way back in 1949. 1949 was a great year for Scotland as they won all four games they played including a 3-1 victory over England at Wembley. In regards to the 1949 match we will look at one player in particular.
Henry Morris has one of those unique Scotland careers, that is somewhat obscure but well worth remembering. I know sometimes if I mention any game before 1960 a lot of people just switch off and it gets one like and most likely from my wife and sadly sometimes if she’s missed it out, I log in for her and like it for her.
Anyway Henry Morris was a centre forward for the mighty East Fife in the forties and into the fifties. This was a golden age for East Fife as they spent ten seasons in the top flight and recorded three League Cup Victories and were Scottish Cup runners up too. Henry had scored sixty goals in their League winning season of 1947-48 and was given the chance to show what he could do for Scotland on October 1st, 1949 in Scotland’s first ever World Cup Qualifier against Ireland which doubled up as a Home International match at Windsor Park, Belfast.
It took Henry two minutes to make his mark and score Scotland’s first ever World Cup goal. This was quickly followed by another four by half time including a Willie Waddell of Rangers double and one each from Billy Steel of Derby County and Hibs legend Lawrie Reilly. Although the Irish hit back with a double quite quickly in the second half, Henry scored a second with 70 minutes on the clock. Ten minutes later and Jimmy Mason, the last Third Lanark player ever to be capped added another to make it seven. Morris rounded off the scoring in the 89th minute to his hat-trick and the game finished 8-2.
Henry is only one of 30 players ever to score a hat-trick for Scotland but remarkably his feat at Windsor Park was also achieved by Hughie Gallacher, Alex Scott and Denis Law. Sadly for Henry this would be his one and only appearance for Scotland and as for Scotland’s World Cup hopes; we did qualify but the SFA in a fit of hubris had declared they would only go as British Champions, sadly a one nil defeat to England at Hampden in April 1950 meant we would stay at home.