This should be a good list of books on the Scotland football team. It won’t be an an exhaustive list but should put you in the right direction for some good reads. There will also be some biographies of particular players and hopefully should note chapters on their time with Scotland and also of photo content. However, as with every other section, keep checking back from time to time to see what’s been added.
They will be split into three sections;
- Scotland Books; those that deal specifically with nation team.
2. Autobiographies / Biographies of Scotland players / Manager etc.
3. Miscellany – this will be a mish mash of books that may touch upon the Scotland National team and players and therefore might be of interest.
And yes, just to be different/awkward we’ve listed them in chronological order then by title….
2014, Richard Gordon, Black & White Publishing Ltd., Edinburgh – A fascinating and insightful book which attempts to reveal how it all went wrong for arguably Scotland’s best ever team at a World Cup Finals.
2010 Graham McColl, Hachette Publishing, London – The ultimate Fantasy Football book whereby an alternative Scotland World Cup history begins with the SFA choosing to accept the invitation to compete in the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil and subsequently Scotland defeat Bolivia 3-0 before losing 0-1 to the eventual tournament winners, Uruquay. Initially the book poses some serious What if? scenarios [eg What if Bill Shankly had been our team manager at the 1958 finals? What if Matt Busby had managed us to the 1962 finals?] before getting totally carried away – we win the trophy in 1966 and 1978. It is pure escapism but enjoyable nonetheless.
2010 David Forsyth, Grange Communications Limited, Edinburgh -When the 2011 annual appeared Craig Levein was manager and so the pages were numbered four, six, zero….A photograph of the then SFA President George Peat was a bit of a bonus! It was the usual formulaic content though whilst this time we were told that the ones to watch were Murray Davidson [St.Johnstone], Kevin McDonald [Burnley], David Goodwillie [Dundee United] and David Wotherspoon [Hibs].
2009 Roddy MacKenzie, Grange Communications Limited, Edinburgh- By the time the 2010 annual came out Scotland were not going to the World Cup Finals in South Africa and as such the publication went heavy on a nostalgic look at great players and matches from the past including Alan Morton, Billy Bremner, Gary McAllister and Scotland’s 3-1 win over Spain in a World Cup qualifier in 1984. Looking ahead, there was Billy Stark’s next batch with special mentions for James Forrest [Celtic], Paul Hanlon [Hibs],Callum Booth [Hibs], John Fleck [Rangers] and Alex MacDonald – the Burnley striker who was on loan at Falkirk at the time. There was also a spotlight on five supporters so if anyone wants to ‘fess up, now’s your chance.
2009 David Potter, KnowTheScore Publishers, Studley, Warwickshire – The author puts forward his list of 50 greatest matches that Scotland have ever played dating back to 1872 and which includes no fewer than 27 against England! As well as wins against the Auld Enemy it includes famous victories over Wales, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and the C.I.S…..plus a draw with Brazil.Each match is re-evaluated, its story retold and its aftermath examined. The content is subjective but uplifting and no doubt a reprint would include other famous victories such as the demolition of those footballing Titans – Liechtenstein and Gibraltar.
2008 Roddy MacKenzie, Grange Communications Limited, Edinburgh-In the 2009 annual there was an A-Z of manager George Burley. Z was for Zero – the number of SPL matches he lost during his time as Hearts manager. Other ‘highlights’ included a review of our near-miss 2008 Euro qualifying campaign – apparently we were ‘A team re-born’ and Questions and Answers sections with several players in which it was revealed that if they hadn’t become footballers Barry Ferguson would have been a roofer, Stephen McManus a Fireman and Scott Brown a Bin man.Meanwhile an interview with Julie Fleeting reminded us that she scored over 100 goals for the Scotland Women’s team – kind of puts Law, Dalglish, McCoist etc in the shade doesn’t it?
2008 David Potter and Phil H. Jones, Knowthe score Books – A large A to Z 0f Scottish Football starting with Abandoned Games [including Scotland v Austria from 1963 when Scotland were leading 4-1 with eleven minutes to go] and ending with Zaire -now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
2008 David Clayton, Green Umbrella Publishing – A small A to Z of Scottish international football starting with Roy Aitken [57 caps and one goal between 1979 and 1991] and ending with Zaire [against whom Scotland recorded our first victory at a World Cup Finals in 1974]. The book also includes a DVD of the 1967 England-Scotland game.
2007 Brian Belton, Pennant Books, London – This trivia book concentrates on the National Team. Some of the information is now dated however the classic quotes from our players and managers remain timeless -”Hagi is a brilliant player but we are not going to get psychedelic over him.” [Andy Roxburgh].
2006 Adam Scott, SportsBooks Limited, Cheltenham – This small-sized publication claims to be the ultimate trivia book on Scottish football [ie not just the national team] and includes a recipe just in case someone asks ” Who ate all the pies?” Examples of Argentina 78 trivia include ‘The Scots’ kit featured flared tracksuit bottoms whilst three of the 22 man squad sported perms – Alan Rough, Asa Hartford and Derek Johnstone. Graeme Souness maintained that his hair was naturally curly’.
2006 Alan Rough, Headline Publishing Group, London – Two World Cups, 53 caps and 16 clean sheets for arguably Scotland’s best-loved goalkeeper. Great saves, dodgy hairstyles and contrived photographs – they’re all here.
2006 Dean P. Hayes, Mercat Press Limited, Edinburgh – Described as a complete Who’s Who of Scotland players since 1946 [until 2006] it is another great reference book which, for example, allows you to have hours of fun identifying all the one-cap wonders [Joe Craig, Mike Galloway, Doug Rougvie, Peter Canero etc etc] then debating why? As well as the basic match statistics there is also some interesting club and country narrative about each footballer – some meat on the bones so to speak.
2006 Graham McColl, Headline Book Publishing, London- ‘The full story of Scotland’s most famous What might have been campaign. In 1978 Scotland went to the finals confident that they had a world-class team, and were right in thinking so. And, after all, if you beat the runners-up, doesn’t that mean you are the winners?’
2006 Mark Porter, Baytreepress- Contains highly useful information on stadia, bars, restaurants, hotels, sights and phrases for Euro qualifying matches away to Lithuania, The Faroe Islands, Ukraine, France, Italy and Georgia.I still can’t understand how we managed to beat France home and away but failed to make it to the finals.
2006 Kevin Gallacher, 90 Minutes Publications, Blackburn, Lancashire- Kevin Gallacher won 53 caps and scored nine goals for Scotland appearing at the finals of Euro 92, Euro 96 and France 98. The book is part biographical, part general-observational and both interesting and insightful.
2005 Archie McPherson, Highdown Publishing, Newbury, Bekshire – BBC Scotland’s commentating legend Archie ‘Absolute Bedlam’ McPherson gives his take on Scottish football including six World Cup finals and ponders the possibility that he worked through a golden age which might never be repeated. Shurely not?
2004, John Cairney Mainstream Sport – This is a great book that charts the history of Scottish football and the Scotland International team via 100 of the greatest Scottish players. However, you are better off with the 1998 first edition in terms of photos as there are none in this cheap reprint (unless of course somebody tore them out of mine but I doubt it). Despite Darren Fletcher being on the front cover; no new players were added to the list instead there is an update on the current Scotland team of that era and the Youth teams etc. that’s a bit naff and contrived.
2004 David Potter, Tempus Publishing Limited, Stroud, Gloucestershire – A real [and therefore at times, painful] history of the Scottish National side. It is a well balanced read – no over the top glorifications and no wallowing in self pity, although I still find it incredible that Scotland [a] declined to go to the 1950 World Cup Finals in Brazil, [b] took only 13 players to the 1954 World Cup Finals in Switzerland when 22 were allowed and [c] didn’t have a manager at the 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden. We were pressing self-destruct buttons long before Argentina ’78. Wha’s like us, indeed.
2003 Forrest Robertson and David Ross, First Press Publishing, Glasgow -The official blurb says it all really- unforgettable games, historic events, superstars of sport and music, riots and infernos. Hampden has played host to Matthews and Maradona, Jinky and Jagger, Pele and Puskas, the Tartan Army and Tina Turner. The book does the evolution of Hampden justice and the photographs – many in colour – are excellent. The future of Hampden post 2020 may be uncertain but there is no denying that Scotland’s national stadium has been host to many magic moments and a fair number of them are captured in this superb souvenir publication.
2003 Ian Black, Black & White Publishing Limited – Ally’s Tartan Army, Doe a Deer, Cheer up Kevin Keegan, Nous Detestons Jimmy Hill, Everywhere we go, If I had the wings of an eagle and many, many more. A classic catalogue that puts Lennon and McCartney in the shade….
2001 [Second/revised version] Stuart Cosgrove, Canongate Books – This is the funniest, most enjoyable football book I’ve ever read – a real tonic during these failed qualifying campaigns of ours. As the publisher’s blurb says this is the first sadomasochistic history of Scottish football which takes a celebratory look at sex and scandal in the game both at the level of club and country through the lives of some of the losers, boozers and substance abusers who populate the nation’s sport – as well as via some of our greatest ‘athletes’ and managers of course [EG Jimmy Johnstone’s seafaring skills, Tommy Docherty’s love life and The Copenhagen Five]. Great photographs too of horrendous hairstyles, kipper ties and dodgy moustaches – and that includes some of the girlfriends.
2001 Richard Keir, Breedon Books, Derby –Anorak heaven [and a Godsend for fanzine Editors] as this is quite possibly the best Scotland reference book there is albeit one that needs updating although online information may discourage such an exercise.It includes every Scotland line-up – and that of their opponents- for a full international match as well as the venues, results, scorers and even goal times from the first game in 1872 to the end of season 2000-01.There is also a listing of each player to have played for Scotland [appearances, goals, date of birth and birthplace] as well as many other statistical listings such as all-time record appearance makers and goalscorers, managers and largest wins/defeats etc.
1999 Tom Duthie, Grange Communications Limited, Edinburgh – A succinct overview in words and pictures which ends just as the wilderness years begin.
1998 Tom Shields and Ken Gallacher, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh – Gallacher analyses the matches and provides insights into the players’ preparations whilst Shields records the hopes, hilarity and revelry of the Tartan Army.
1998 Andrew McArthur, Luath Press Limited, Edinburgh – An erratic world tour covering active service from 1992 to 1997. Places visited/invaded include Moscow, New York, Monte Carlo, Belarus, TheFaroes, Estonia, Latvia, Sweden and Finland.
1998 Graham McColl, Chameleon Nooks, London – Published in time for Scotland’s [brief] appearance at the 1998 World Cup Finals in France this ‘annual -like’ book gives an excellent review of Scotland’s qualifying campaigns then performances at the World Cup Finals of 1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986 and 1990.The book also contains some replica souvenirs from Scotland’s battle for international glory such as match programmes, the players’ travel arrangements for the 1958 finals, Ally MacLeod’s ‘press pass’ from 1978 and a letter from the Police to the Scotland fans at Italia 90.
1997 Ian Black, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh -What made this book different, insightful and interesting was of course the fact that the spotlight was on exploits of the long-suffering supporters for a change. I would never suggest that the supporters should take centre stage however I do think we have an important role to play and it annoys the hell out of me when we are patronised or taken for granted. Anyway, this book is accurately described on the back cover as being a glimpse into the occasionally surreal and often all-too-real ranks of a platoon of footsoldiers as they follow the team to venues such as Croatia, Cyprus, Iceland, Mexico and Spain and plenty more besides.
1993 Russell Galbraith, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh – On the 90th anniversary of Hampden Park, this history concentrates largely on big match details/reports.
1991 [First version] Stuart Cosgrove, Canongate Press, Edinburgh – This hilarious first version chronicling Scottish Football’s misdeeds and misdemeanors was published during our most recent golden age, indeed it was sandwiched between our appearance at the Italia 90 and Euro 92 finals.
1987 Andrew Ward, Breedon Books, Derby – A season by season review from 1872 to 1986 plus team line-ups, stats, player profiles and an excellent array of photographs. To an anorak in a pre-digital world this was manna from heaven.
1984 Kevin McCarra, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow and Polygon Books, Edinburgh – Perhaps the captions are the best way to give you a feel for this classic collection of images -EG ‘The Scotland party leaves for the 1954 World Cup’, ‘Denis Law soars above Bobby Moore to score against England’, ‘Bremner narrowly fails to score against Brazil in the 1974 World Cup’, ‘Gemmill scores the third’ and ‘Scotland celebrate Narey’s goal against Brazil’.
1972 Arthur Montford, An STV Publication, Glasgow – Commentating legend Arthur ‘Sensation/Stramash/Come on Scotland’ Montford oversees a review which includes the 1972 Scotland-England game at Hampden, an article on the ‘new’ Scotland manager Tommy Docherty plus some excellent colour photographs of the Scotland squad, Denis Law shaking hands with the Glasgow Lord-Provost as kick-off approaches plus The World of Sport team [Dicky Davies, Jimmy Hill, Pat Crerand and Jack Charlton] having a lunch break in their ‘Porta-Studio’ at the top of the then uncovered East terracing at Hampden.
1949 Various authors, Bonar Books, London -The cover price was seven shillings and sixpence [37.5 pence in today’s money] and the publication was ‘Dedicated to Scottish Youth’. Just four years after the Second World War, and with paper rationing still enforced, I suspect that this 96 page publication would be something to be treasured at the time. The annual includes player biographies [eg Willie Waddell of Glasgow Rangers and Jimmy Cowan of Greenock Morton], and a feature on Scotland’s tour of Canada and the USA plus a separate index for ‘Illustrations’ ie black and white photographs with the subjects being headed ‘Great Goal-keepers’, ‘Classic Centre Forwards’ and ‘Wizard Wingers’.These included Celtic stars and future internationalists Bobby Collins and Tommy Docherty.
There were also two 5000 word fictional soccer stories entitled ‘Good shot,laddie’ and ‘Send for Snowdrop’. With regards to the latter title, Snowdrop was not a Vinnie Jones type character, but the pet mouse of one of the schoolboy footballers whilst other characters in the story included Porky Robertson, Ticky Thomson and Mr. Muff – the referee. They just don’t write them like that anymore, do they? – and on reflection, perhaps it is just as well.
Autobiographies and Biographies
Ian St. John
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