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The Scotland Epistles Football Magazine

Scotland Football Fanzine

December 4th

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On this day in 1985 Scotland qualified for the 1986 World Cup after drawing the second leg of the play-off with Australia. Scotland led two nil from the first leg through goals by David Cooper and Frank McAvennie. How Frank and David Speedie contrived to miss this one I’m not too sure.
The line up for the game was ; Jim Leighton, Richard Gough, Maurice Malpas, Willie Miller, Alex McLeish, Roy Aitken, Graeme Souness, Paul McStay, Davie Cooper, David Speedie, Frank McAvennie. Graeme Sharp replaced Speedie in the 76th minute.

Happy Birthday Tosh McKinlay

First posted on Facebook December 3rd 201615326609_1835020440068659_6526298355829687903_n

Happy Birthday to Tosh McKinlay who will turn 52 today. Tosh gained 22 caps for Scotland, all coming in his time with Celtic. His first cap came in August 1995 in a Euro Qualifier against Greece at Hampden. It may have been Tosh’s big moment but that night was all about Ally McCoist and a Goalden moment. Ally came on for his first Scotland appearance in over two years and within a minute scored the game’s only goal and one that prove vital in qualifying for Euro ’96.
As for Tosh, he would gain his 5th and 6th caps against England and then Switzerland at the Euros and following this, began to find himself a regular part of the Scotland side not as full back but as a midfield player. He would take part in all of Scotland’s 1998 World Cup Qualifiers and can be seen in the photo enjoying the moment as Scotland have qualified at Parkhead in October ’97 following a 2-0 win over Latvia.
Tosh would have a minor part to play in the World Cup itself, coming on for Christian Dailly for the last five minutes of the Brazilian opener and would gain his final cap as a second half sub during the mauling by Morocco, in what is currently our last match at a major tournament.
Happy Birthday Tosh and all the best.

David Stuart

1st December

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Scotland have only ever played one game on this date and it was 45 years ago. Scotland would lose 2-1 with Johan Cryuff scoring the opener.
Photos don’t come much better than this one from that night. Two legends sadly no longer with us.

Happy Birthday Brian McAllister

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First posted on Facebook on November 30th, 2016

Happy Birthday to Brian McAllister who had a blink and you’ll miss it, three game Scotland career under Craig Brown in 1997. With Scotland playing a World Cup Qualifier in Belarus on June 8th, 1997, Scotland chose to play two warm up games so that the players weren’t too rusty going into the game.
The first was against Wales in late May at Rugby Park. Making their debuts that day were Christian Dailly who was with Derby County at the time and fellow Wimbledon player Neil Sullivan. McAllister had probably been scouted at the same time as Neil, although he had been with Wimbledon since 1989 he had found it hard to break into the team, however the 1996-97 season would see him play 23 games in total. Brian lined up in central defence alongside Dailly. Scotland would lose one nil to a John Hartson goal just after half-time.
He would be given the full game and come a week later he once more lined up next to Dailly in defence in the Ta’Qali Stadium in a friendly v Malta.
A goal from Christian Dailly and a double from Darren Jackson would see Scotland win but perhaps the loss of two goals would see Brian start on the subs bench for the Belarus game. It would be his namesake Gary McAllister who would score from the penalty spot early into the second half that would give Scotland the three points. Brian would come on for the last twelve minutes.
The 1997-’98 season would see Brian fall out of the limelight at Wimbledon and injury would hamper the rest of his career and see him quit in 2000.
However, those three games in the summer of ’97 would see Panini choose a photo of him for their 1997 SFL set and so future collectors of the stickers will be able to look at his photo and think “Who the hell is that?”
Happy 46th Birthday Brian and all the best.

David Stuart

Happy Birthday Gavin Rae

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First posted on Facebook November 28th, 2016

Happy Birthday to Gavin Rae who will turn 39 today. Gavin gained 14 caps in a Scotland career that spanned from being first capped under Craig Brown in 2001 to gaining his last cap in the George Burley era. He would play under four different managers but was never capped by Alex McLeish who signed him for Rangers in 2004. Eight of his caps came as a Dundee player and then 3 each both at Rangers and Cardiff City. Gavin did play in the play off match against Netherlands in 2003 but sadly for him; it was the second leg but he did feature in happier times coming on as a sub in the Kirin Cup win over Bulgaria in 2006.

David Provan R.I.P.

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First posted on Facebook on 26th November, 2016

Sorry to hear of the death of David Provan at aged 75 following a long illness. David played five times for Scotland on 5 occasions.
In the 1960’s there was a clear lineage of full backs that went through the decade, starting with the likes of Duncan Mackay of Celtic and Eric Caldow of Rangers and moving to Alex Hamilton of Dundee, Eddie McCreadie of Chelsea and Tommy Gemmell of Celtic, so it was rare for others to get that chance to shine. David Provan was given that chance on five occasions.
David’s first cap came in October, 1963 under Ian McColl as Scotland faced Northern Ireland in a Home International in Belfast. Scotland lost 2-1 with Ian St. John netting for Scotland, Alex Hamilton of Dundee played full back on the right to David being on the left.
They would be paired up a month later as Scotland and Denis Law in particular ran riot at Hampden against Norway with Denis scoring four goals and Dave Mackay hitting a brace to win 6-1.
Jim Kennedy of Celtic was then given a run in the team for a few games until Eddie McCreadie made his debut in April, 1965 and generally made the left back spot himself.
However, one surmises that injury kept Eddie out of the team in November, 1965 when Scotland faced Italy at home in a vital World Cup Qualifier and so Jock Stein drafted in Provan for the left back position, making their debuts that night were Ronnie McKinnon of Rangers and Bobby Murdoch of Celtic. However, it would be another Rangers player, who would grab the headlines as John Greig scored the only goal in the 88th minute to keep Scotland’s World Cup hopes alive.
John Greig had often been used as a full back for Scotland but with the side depleted by injuries for the away game against Italy; Greig was pushed into midfield and with the right full back position vacant Stein chose Provan once more. In an attempt to confuse the Italians, Scotland started with Ron Yeats of Liverpool wearing the number nine but those crafty Italians got wise to the act, that he was really a centre half and managed to get three past him and the rest of the Scotland defence in Naples. Goodbye World Cup ’66.
David’s final game came in John Prentice’s flawed idea of a line up, when he played a team made of home based players for a friendly v Netherlands featuring no Celtic players; the team who had just won the league. Scotland got pumped 3-0 at Hampden.
David would leave Rangers in 1970 for Crystal Palace where he would play only one game before going on to Plymouth Argyle for five seasons before returning to Scotland and playing briefly for St. Mirren. He would go on to manage for Albion Rovers for years in the late eighties and indeed would lead them to the 1988-89 Second Division Championship.
Rest in peace David and our thoughts are with your family at this time.

November 22nd

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First posted on Facebook on November 22nd, 2016

Scotland have only played one match on November 22nd and that was in 1967 against Wales in a match that doubled up as a Home International and a European Nations Cup Qualifier. Scotland had lost the previous game to Northern Ireland in October in Belfast, so would need to beat Wales at Hampden and then defeat England at home in April to qualify.
Bobby Brown gave debut caps to two players. Ronnie Simpson was replaced by another ex-Queens Park goalkeeper in Aberdeen’s Bobby Clark and Jim Craig of Celtic came in for his only Scotland cap replacing his injured teammate Tommy Gemmell. Scotland lined up as follows: Clark (Aberdeen), Craig (Celtic), Eddie McCreadie (Chelsea), John Greig and Ronnie McKinnon (both Rangers), Jim Baxter (Sunderland), Jimmy Johnstone (Celtic), Billy Bremner (Leeds United), Alan Gilzean (Tottenham Hotspur), Willie Johnston (Rangers) and Bobby Lennox (Celtic).
Gilzean would open the scoring in the 16th minute with Ron Davies equalising a couple of minutes later. Alan Durban would put the Welsh in front in the 57th minute but goals by Gilzean and Ronnie McKinnon would see Scotland win 3-2. The attendance for the match was 57,402.
Scotland would fail to beat England in April, ’68 drawing 1-1 and so would not reach the Euro Play-offs.
This night would also see the final Scotland game for Jim Baxter, only two months after his 28th birthday.
The photo is of Jim playing for Scotland against Wales in October, 1966

Alex Hamilton

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First posted on Facebook on November 21st, 2016

Born on this day 80 years ago was Alex Hamilton, a fine full back from the Dundee league Championship winning team of 1961-62. Alex played for Scotland on 24 occasions making his debut in November, 1961 in a 2-0 win over Wales, however a few weeks later he was to suffer disappointment with Scotland as they lost the World Cup play-off to Czechoslovakia 4-2 after extra time in Brussels.
Alex’s record against England though was something to be envied; played 4 Won 3 and drawn once. He won 24 caps in total in a 25 game sequence missing out on the 6-2 win at the Bernabeu in Spain due to injury.
Alex’s final game was a World Cup Qualifier defeat to Poland at Hampden
Alex is seen in the photo barefooted celebrating the 1964 win at Hampden with Davie Wilson and Willie Henderson. Behind them is goalie Campbell Forsyth and goalscorer Alan Gilzean with Jim Baxter head just over Hamilton’s shoulder. To the left is Jim Kennedy and John White.
Alex sadly passed away in 1990.

David Stuart

20th November

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First posted on Facebook on November 20th, 2016

On this day in 1963 Scotland faced Wales at Hampden in the Home Internationals. Scotland had already lost to Northern Ireland the previous month in Belfast; so needed a win to have any chance of winning that seasons championship.
The Scotland line up was as follows: Bill Brown (Tottenham Hotspur), Alex Hamilton (Dundee), making his debut Jim Kennedy (Celtic), Dave MacKay (Spurs / Captain), Billy McNeill (Celtic), Jim Baxter and Willie Henderson (both Rangers), John White (Spurs), Alan Gilzean (Dundee), Denis Law (Manchester United) and Alex Scott of Everton.
John White would score on teh stroke of half-time with Denis Law netting a second just after the restart. Barrie Jones would get one back for Wales in the 60th minute but it was not enough as Scotland saw out the day to send the 56.067 Hampden crowd home happy. Scotland would go on to beat England at Hampden in April ’64 to share the Championship with the Irish and England.
Making his debut in goals at the age of 18 was Gary Sprake who was a major part of the Leeds United team of the 60’s and 70’s. Gary sadly passed away last month.

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