Ally Hunter

First posted on Facebook, October 4th, 2016

Goalkeeper Ally Hunter will turn 67 today. Ally was a very good goalkeeper on his day but perhaps is remembered mostly for the goal he lost against Czechoslovakia that overshadowed many of the fine performances he had for Kilmarnock and Celtic.
He was first capped by Tommy Docherty in April ’72 in a friendly against Peru at Hampden. Also, making their Scotland debut were two players who would achieve a number of caps between them; Willie Donachie of Manchester City (more on Willie tomorrow as it’s his birthday) who would win 35 caps and West Brom’s Asa Hartford who would gain a total of 50 caps.
Scotland won 2-0 with John O’Hare and the returning Denis Law scoring the goals.
Docherty went with Bobby Clark of Aberdeen for the upcoming Home Internationals but Ally was given a run out during the Brazilian Independence Cup facing Yugoslavia in Belo Horizonte. Scotland drew 2-2 with Lou Macari providing the Scottish goals.
Clark would start in Scotland’s first game of the 1974 World Cup campaign; a 4-1 win in Copenhagen but was then dropped in favour of David Harvey gaining his first cap in the home game of the Danish double header. Scotland would win 2-0 but it would prove to be Docherty’s last game in charge after he deserted Scotland for the Manchester United job.
Willie Ormond did not immediately turn to Hunter; playing first Bobby Clark who shipped five goals against England and then Peter McCloy. Injury to McCloy would see Hunter come in for the Home International against England at Wembley. It is worth noting that due to injuries Ormond’s second choice goalkeeper at Wembley was Tom McAllister of Sheffield United who would never be capped by Scotland at any level.
Scotland lost one nil to England with Martin Peters scoring the only goal; by all accounts Hunter who was now at Celtic following a £60,000 move from Kilmarnock had played well, however Scotland would play two June friendlies that would see McCloy back in between the sticks.
On October 17th 1973, Scotland would play their most important match for years; the vital World Cup Qualifier that would see them head to the World Cup in 1974. Willie Ormond would choose to go with Hunter and for Ally this would be the apex of his career but in some ways perhaps a low point that would haunt him too.
Czechoslovakia took the lead when Hunter allowed an innocuous Nehoda shot to go across him and end up in the net. Thankfully for Scotland Jim Holton would restore parity and Joe Jordan would then score that memorable goal.
As for Ally, he was pilloried in the press for his mistake and Ormond would in future choose to go with David Harvey. Hunter’s career would also dip, as his confidence suffered and he would no longer be in the International limelight. He would leave Celtic in 1976 and soon drift out of the game.
Although, he was never involved in the ’74 World Cup, Ally still managed to get himself in some of the stickers and cards that year. More details of this can be found in issue 3 of the Scotland Epistles magazine or indeed in the Kindle version of the magazines.
Happy Birthday Ally and all the best.

David Stuart