First posted on Facebook on September 29th, 2016
I recently bought this card on eBay depicting Pat McCluskey in a Scotland tracksuit top. It’s from the 1973 – ’74 A&BC Footballer set, which suggests it was taken around the time of Pat’s first game for the Scotland Under-23’s which came in March 1973 down in Wales. Scotland won a friendly 2-1 with Pat coming on, in the second half for Nottingham Forest’s John McGovern. Kenny Dalglish had scored in the first half but a Leighton James goal in the second half made it look as though a draw would be the final result, however a long throw from Pat in the final minutes would find Asa Hartford, who duly despatched it into the net to give Scotland victory.
Pat would go on to play for the Scotland Under-23’s six times; the last time being on 2nd September, 1975, when the Young Scots won 1-0 in Copenhagen through a goal by Willie Pettigrew. It would be the following night or more correctly the morning of the 4th September following the first teams’ victory over Denmark that would be his downfall as Pat was one of five players drinking ‘til four in the morning in the a Danish nightclub called Bonaparte, to which the police were called to. Perhaps it was ironic, that it was called that as one of Pat’s drinking partners was a small Scottish midfield general who finally met his Waterloo; Billy Bremner.
There was apparently also further infractions back at the team’s hotel where apparently McCluskey and Bremner were caught upturning the bed of a SFA member as a prank. Pat like all five players were banned for life and although the ban would be lifted in 1976 by then, Pat’s chance for a Scotland cap had passed him by.