The Scotland Epistles Football Magazine

Scotland Football Fanzine

Gordon Strachan Schoolboy


Came across this one of Scotland schoolboys and just had to share. As well as Strachan there’s future Man. United player Arthur Albiston.

Happy Birthday Peter Weir (January 18th)


Happy Birthday to Peter Weir, who will be 59 today. Peter was a typical winger in that some days everything he touched was gold as he would easily glide past players and put in the perfect cross and on others nothing would go right for him. Peter gained six caps in total for Scotland and surprisingly 4 of them were in his time with St. Mirren rather than the majority being with Aberdeen.
His first cap came under Jock Stein in the 1980 Home Internationals against Northern Ireland in Belfast, Scotland’s first game there in ten years. Also making his debut that day was fellow St. Mirren player Billy Thomson. This team also contained three future Scotland managers in Burley, McLeish and Gordon Strachan. However, with all that talent on display Scotland were beaten 1-0 to a Gerry Hamilton goal.
Peter retained his place for the game against Wales at Hampden five days later as the Scots won 1-0 thanks to a Willie Miller goal. Yes, that Willie Miller, who with McLeish and Paul Hegarty playing was in a more forward role.
Peter wasn’t picked for the England game a few days later with Roy Aitken of Celtic being brought in to bolster the midfield for the England game. This plan went awry as the English won 2-0 at Hampden. Roy incidentally is the last player to be capped for St. Mirren as he won his final cap as a Buddie in 1991.
Scotland played a couple of friendlies after the Home International series, Peter played in both; coming on as a sub in a 1-0 defeat to Poland in Poznan and playing the whole game in a 3-1 defeat to Hungary in Budapest.
It would be three years before Peter got his chance again due to John Robertson returning to international action and it would be as an Aberdeen player. Peter played in the game against Switzerland in a Euro Qualifier at Hampden in March 1983 which is famous for Charlie Nicholas’s goal on his Scotland debut.
Peter’s last game would be in December, 1983 and it was a case of back to where it all started as Scotland played Northern Ireland in Belfast. Once more the Scots were defeated, this time two goals to nil. Playing in his one Scotland game that night was Doug Rougvie of Aberdeen.
And so that was that, for Peter as Davie Cooper began to feature more and more in Jock’s plans. Peter would continue to play for Aberdeen up until 1988 and after a short time at Leicester City, return to St. Mirren and finally end his career down at Somerset Park with Ayr United.

Happy Birthday Peter and all the best.

Happy Birthday Alex Cropley (January 16th)

Happy Birthday to Alex Cropley who will turn 66 today.
Alex Cropley could on one hand be considered a very unlucky player due to injuries including leg breaks he suffered in his career but had he been playing a decade earlier he would not have played for Scotland at all.
Alex was born in Aldershot; I had always assumed that like Bruce Rioch who was also born there that he was an ‘army brat’ but no his father Jack was playing for Aldershot FC at the time. Alex started his football career at Easter Road and was part of Turnbull’s Tornadoes.
When Tommy Docherty became Manager of Scotland in 1971, he quite quickly took advantage of the rule that allowed players who were born outwith Scotland but of Scottish parentage to play for the National team. In his first game in charge he picked Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson to the chagrin of many a Scotland supporter and in some cases players but Alex Cropley was also given his debut. Doc’s first game was on 13th October, 1971 against Portugal at Hampden in a Euro Qualifier, having already lost to Belgium, Portugal and Denmark away, the Scots were out of the reckoning by this time. However, Docherty rallied the troops and Scotland won 2-1 with John O’Hare and Archie Gemmill supplying the goals.
Cropley held his place in the team for the next game, another qualifier taking place up at Pittodrie against Belgium in November 1971 with John O’Hare scoring the only goal of the game. Although, this was to be Alex’s last game for Scotland, he does hold two claims to fame. One; he was substituted in the second half to let Kenny Dalglish come on for his Scotland debut and two; he was in a Scotland side that beat bloody Belgium!
After leaving Hibs, Cropley went to Arsenal for £150,000 but within a month of his debut he broke a leg and indeed shortly after his return from that injury he broke his leg again. He would only make thirty odd appearances before moving to Aston Villa where incredibly he was to suffer a third leg break. Alex would retire from football aged 31.
Happy Birthday Alex and all the best.

Happy Birthday Craig Beattie (January 16th)

Happy Birthday to Craig Beattie who will be 33 today. It’s fair to say that Craig has played for one or two clubs since he left Celtic and seems to have become a “have boots will travel type of player” currently playing with Edinburgh City.
Craig was capped seven times for Scotland with his first coming under Walter Smith in a World Cup Qualifier against Italy at Hampden in September 2005, coming on as a sub for goalscorer Kenny Miller just after the Italians had equalised to make it one each, which was to be the final score.
A few days later, the Scots beat Norway 2-1 with Craig coming on in the 72nd minute for James McFadden. This is the game where Miller scored two goals in the first half and looked as though he would score a barrowload until he was injured shortly before half-time.
It would be March 2007 before Beattie would get another chance and this would be Alex McLeish’s first game in charge and indeed would be memorable for that one Craig Beattie moment we all recall, as he scored in the 89th minute to give us a victory over a stubborn Georgia team in a Euro Qualifier. Craig had come on for Kris Boyd, who had given Scotland an early lead, only for Shota Arveladze to equalise before half time and the second half seemed an endless, torturous one until Craig’s golden moment.
Another sub appearance and his last as a Celtic player at the Stadio San Nicola, Bari followed four days later with the Scots losing 2-0 through a double from Luca Toni.His first game as a West Brom player was in August, 2007 when he and Kris Boyd came on as a double substitution in the 68th minute in a friendly against South Africa at Pittodrie. It would be Boyd, three minutes later who would score the only goal.
Another struggle at Hampden in September, 2007 as the Scots were drawing 1-1 with Lithuania in a Euro Qualifier and Beattie and Shaun Maloney are brought in the 76th minute; Maloney had one touch ten seconds later and from the resultant cross Stephen McManus scored. A James McFadden goal a few minutes later made it look a better score than it really was.
Craig’s final game would be against Georgia in Tbilisi, where like in 2015 there would be no moment of magic for the Scots as we lost 2-0 and our chances of qualifying from the group went oot the windae as they say.
So Happy Birthday Craig and thanks for that one golden moment in March 2007.

Happy Birthday Joe Harper (11th January)


Happy 69th birthday to Joe Harper who had a short but colourful Scotland career. Joe was only capped four times for Scotland and three of them were against Denmark.
His first was in Scotland’s first World Cup Qualifier for 1974 as Scotland faced Denmark in Copenhagen in October 1972. Joe would come on as a sub for Jimmy Bone of Norwich and would make an impact scoring one and being involved in another. Scotland would win 4-1 with goals from Lou Macari, Bone, Harper and Willie Morgan.
A month later and Joe who was with Aberdeen at the time was given a starting berth against the Danes at Hampden by Tommy Docherty. Scotland would win 2-0 with goals from Kenny Dalglish and Peter Lorimer.
It would be once more in Copenhagen, three years later that Joe would gain his next cap under Willie Ormond. He would score the only goal in the European Championship win in September 1975.
That night however, Joe would go out for a drink with Billy Bremner and others and a small fracas in a nightclub, followed by hijinks back at the hotel, which didn’t involve Joe would see him initially banned from playing for Scotland. Joe at this point was playing for Hibernian.
His last cap came bizarrely in the 1978 World Cup, when Ally MacLeod brought him on in the game against Iran when most of us were screaming for Derek Johnstone to be utilised instead. Joe by this time was back at Aberdeen where he would remain until 1981.
Happy Birthday Joe and all the best.

Denis Law Scotland XI – 11 Davie Wilson


Out on the left wing and Denis Law’s choice as his number 11 is Rangers player Davie Wilson. First of all, Happy Birthday to Davie who will be 78 today. Davie played for Scotland 22 times and scored ten goals for Scotland. Denis described him as ” a really skilful left winger”, who “knew the way to goal”.
Couldn’t find a good picture of Davie by himself so here he is flanked by Willie Henderson and Alex Hamilton after the 1964 win over England at Hampden.

Denis Law Scotland XI – Jim Baxter


Really did you think Denis Law would pick his Scotland side from 1958 to 1990 without this guy? Midfield maestro Jim Baxter is number 10 in the team. Jim represented Scotland 34 times scoring three times including two at Wembley in 1963.

Denis Law Scotland XI – 9 Ian St. John


Next up in Denis Law’s Scotland team from 1958 to 1990 is the Saint. No, not Simon Templar but Ian St. John. St. John gained 21 caps scoring 9 goals in total and should have been played a lot more. Ian gained his first seven caps as a Motherwell player before moving to Anfield to become a Liverpool legend.

Denis Law Scotland XI – 8 Kenny Dalglish


At number 8 in Denis Law’s Scotland side is King Kenny, with thirty goals in 102 games, it’s not surprising Denis chose him.

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