Davie McLean
4 Sent Off
Why the 'Old Firm?'
Hall Of Fame


Q From Jayne Franklin: "How many times have Scotland qualified for the Finals of the European Championships?"

A Twice - but that's not quite as bad a record as it seems. Scotland didn't enter the first two competitions in 1960 and 1964. Missing the latter was a real mistake as the Scotland team of the day not only won at Wembley in 1963 but also crushed Spain 6-2 away and the Spaniards went on to win the 1964 tournament.

We also missed out in 1968 when the home internationals were used as the qualifying group despite beating England at Wembley and drawing at Hampden. A night of George Best genius in Belfast saw Northern Ireland beat Scotland, allowing England to slip in through the back door.

After that we never really looked like qualifying. Scotland concentrated on reaching the World Cup Finals and the European Championships always seemed to catch us during the rebuilding phase between World Cups.

That changed in 1992 when we qualified for the first time and took part in the Finals in Sweden. We lost narrowly to Holland and Germany and beat the former USSR (playing as the Commonwealth of Independent States).

That was the last time there were only eight teams in the Finals and is the only occasion that Scotland have reached the last eight of a major tournament.

We qualified again in 1996 and drew with Holland, lost to England and beat Switzerland, missing out on reaching the second stage on goal difference. Of course in both the 2000 and 2004 tournaments Scotland were beaten in the play-offs.

So, surprising as it may seem, we have performed far better in the past four tournaments than at any other time in the competition's history.


Q Alistair Jones is trying to find out: "When was the first time EVER that Rangers first fielded a team without a Scottish player in the Premier League?"

A This SHOULD be easy to answer but it isn't. Both the Rothman’s Football Yearbook and the Scottish League Review show the Rangers side in the match v Kilmarnock at Ibrox on May 23rd 1999 as having no Scots in the starting line-up.

However the web-based soccerbase says Colin Hendry played for the first half. That view is also shared by the Association of Football Statisticians.

You might think it impossible to have such a mix-up over a match that is only a little over four years ago but apparently not.

There were 48,835 people there that day and you would think most would know if the distinctive Hendry played or (as the annuals suggest) Stephane Guivarc’h.

Rothmans line-up: Klos, Porrini, Vidmar, Amoruso, Reyna, Van Bronckhorst, Albertz, Kanchelskis, Amato, Johansson, Guivarc’h

Soccerbase line-up: Klos, Porrini, Amoruso, Hendry, Vidmar, Kanchelskis, Van Bronckhorst, Johansson, Reyna, Amato, Albertz

If anyone was there that day and can prove for certain whether or not Hendry played the answer would be gratefully appreciated.

If it wasn’t that game then the first time it happened was March 4th 2000 v St Johnstone when the line-up at the start was Klos, Vidmar, Reyna, Amoruso, Numan, Kanchelskis, Van Bronckhorst, Tugay, Albertz, Rozental, Wallace.

The only occasion (at the time of writing) when Rangers have played no Scots at all during a match, including playing substitutions, was at Motherwell on October 19th 2003.

Four Sent Off

Q David Rooney wants to know "Who were the four Hearts players sent off against Rangers in 1996-97, what was the order they were dismissed in and can you clarify the rules regarding the number of players that can be sent off from either side during a match?"

A Back on September 14th 1996 Pasquale Bruno was the first to receive his marching orders a minute after the interval. He was followed by David Weir on the hour mark, Neil Pointon three minutes later and Paul Ritchie four minutes fater that.

Theoretically all 22 players could be sent off in a match. There is no rule stipulating a maximum. However, if a team is reduced to fewer than seven players for whatever reason, the match must be abandoned.

How the 'Old Firm' got that name

Q David Wallace asks: " How and when did Rangers and Celtic get the name the Old Firm?"

A At the start of the 20th century supporters of both sides were suspicious of the number of occasions that matches between the pair in cup competitions ended in draws, necessitating replays which proved lucrative for the clubs but costly to their fans.

The 'Scottish Referee' newspaper published a cartoon in its edition of April 16th 1904 depicting a man with a sandwich board emblazoned with the legend "PATRONISE THE OLD FIRM - RANGERS CELTIC LTD."

That was the first time the term appeared in print and it caught on from there. Those same suspicions led to the riot at the 1909 Scottish Cup Final. After two drawn games many supporters expected a period of extra time. When it became apparent that this was not forthcoming both sets of fans joined together in a riot which lasted a full two hours before order was restored.

Hall of Fame

Q James Strathie says: "Christian Dailly won his 50th cap against Holland at Hampden and entered the Hall of Fame. How do you go about finding out who else is in the Hall of Fame and is there really an actual Hall of Fame?"

A To find out who else has been honoured have a look at the SFA Hall of Fame It's been a while since it was updated as can be witnessed by the reference to Colin Hendry as the latest entrant.

The HoF was instituted in 1988 in honour of the then eleven players who had won 50 caps. While it took 116 years of international football to find eleven who reached that landmark, membership has more than doubled in the 15 years since. Dailly is the 24th player to win 50 caps.

Membership brings a gold medal, a lifetime invitation to Scotland home matches and a portrait hung in the SFA offices.

There isn't a physical Hall of Fame as such but the Scottish Football Museum has plans for one and its Director Ged O'Brien is aware of the need to recognise greats from the past when fewer games were played and it was virtually impossible to gain 50 caps over the course of a career.

From great games to the game's greats. If you have a query concerning Scottish football, this is the place to send it to.
We'll answer as many as we can but regret that we cannot respond individually to requests. So bookmark this site and look in regularly as questions and answers are frequently updated.


For old SFAQs click here


Davie McLean

Q Liz Dougal in Canada is looking for information on "Dave McLean, who played for Celtic. He was my mother-in-law's Uncle."

A David Prophet McLean was one of the stars of the first quarter of the 20th century. He was born in Forfar on December 13th 1887 and started his career with local clubs Forfar West End, Forfar Celtic and Forfar Athletic before signing for Celtic in May 1907.

Davie - a centre-forward - wasn't an automatic choice in the all-conquering Celtic side of the day but he turned out 28 times in the League, scoring 19 goals before leaving for Preston North End in the English First Division in November 1909. Under the prevailing rules he didn't receive a medal for his part in the two championships Celtic won while he was at Parkhead.

He was a regular at Preston, having played 49 League games and scored 25 goals by the time of his transfer to Sheffield Wednesday (known then as The Wednesday) in February 1911 for the substantial fee of £1,000.

During his spell with Wednesday he also won a cap for Scotland, playing against England in a 1-1 draw at Hampden in March 1912 in front of over 127,000 spectators. Davie also spent a few months back with Forfar Athletic before returning to Wednesday. By the outbreak of the First World War he had played 132 times in the League and had scored 88 goals. This, remember, at a time when there had to be THREE opponents between an attacker and the goal in order to be onside!

During the conflict he turned out as a guest player with Shotts-based Dykehead then Third Lanark before becoming one of the few to have played for both halves of the Old Firm when he joined Rangers in 1918-19.

He was a sensation in his solitary season at Ibrox, scoring 29 goals in just 24 matches as Rangers finished second in the League, just one point behind Celtic. Davie was the top scorer in the Scottish League that season.

He made a brief return to Sheffield in 1919 but after three matches moved on to Bradford Park Avenue, then a First Division side and he was their top league scorer with 18 goals in 1919-20. They were a team in decline though and suffered successive relegations in 1921 and 1922. Despite this Davie notched up a total of 49 goals in 85 league matches.

By now nearly 35 and playing at inside-forward many players would have thought their career was over but Davie McLean still had a good few seasons left in him and - after another brief return to Forfar - he signed for Dundee at the start of 1922-23 and ended the season as their top scorer with 22 league goals.

As Davie hadn't played in the Scottish Cup while with Celtic and the competition was suspended during WW1, his appearance in the Final for Dundee at the age of 37 in 1925 was an unexpected bonus so late in his career.

Davie put the Dens side ahead against Celtic after half an hour and they looked to be holding their lead comfortably until Patsy Gallacher sensationally equalised by somersaulting into the net with the ball between his feet.

Jimmy McGrory scored the winner for Celtic with just three minutes left and Davie was left with a runners-up medal to go with his Scotland cap. Scant reward for a remarkable player and a distinguished career.

By the time he left Dundee in 1926 he had amassed a further 114 appearances in the League and added 43 goals to his record. He also played 18 Scottish Cup ties for the Dark Blues and scored six times.

Davie McLean in his Dundee days

Davie returned home once more to Forfar Athletic who were now a Scottish Second Division side and made yet another 'debut' for the Loons, scoring in a 2-0 home win over Arbroath in August 1926. Incredibly, he played for more than five seasons for the Station Park side. His last match was on September 5th 1931, just three months away from his 44th birthday, in a Division Two match away to Arbroath which Forfar lost 2-0.

By then he'd added another 153 games and 76 goals (72 league, four Scottish Cup) to his tally. (My thanks to Forfar historian Barry Stevens for the information on Davie's last five years with the Loons).

It's impossible to give a precise figure as Scottish records weren't kept as diligently as English ones but it has been estimated that Davie McLean must have scored around 500 goals in total during his career.

He scored 162 goals in English league football, almost all in the top flight and well over 100 in the Scottish First Division. Records for his time at Third Lanark, Dykehead and the various Forfar clubs are incomplete but he is one of a select few to have scored over 100 goals in the top division in both Scotland and England.

His brother George, some ten years younger was also a notable player. An inside-forward, George too started out with Forfar before joining Davie at Bradford in 1921. He played 250 times in the Third North and Second Divisions, scoring 135 goals before finally getting the chance to play in the First Division with Huddersfield Town in 1930.

Huddersfield were always near the top in those days and George, now well into his thirties, played 120 league games and scored 44 goals, including being their leading scorer when they finished runners-up to Arsenal in 1934.

After that, George followed his elder brother's path back to Forfar to end his career at Station Park.

Davie died, aged 80, in Forfar on December 23rd 1967. George passed away in 1970.

Inter-League Matches

Q Jim McLaughlin reminisces about a vanished era: "I vaguely remember that during the early seventies there was an annual Scotland v England fixture between teams made up of players selected from the respective leagues. Could you please confirm the following:

Did any foreigners ever play for the Scottish/English team e.g Kai Johannsen, Scotland, Billy Bremner, England...........I know, I know, I cannot imagine wee Billy in an England Shirt either but it is just an example, forgive me.

When did the last fixture take place and what were the teams, score and attendance?"

A Inter-league games go back as far as 1892 when the Football League and the Scottish League first clashed in a 2-2 draw at Bolton. Even then there were four Scots in the 'English' side.

After the first few fixtures this practice ceased and apart from wartime it was the 1960s before Scots were again selected. Dave Mackay and Denis Law both played several times for the Football League. In Mackay's case he played against the Scottish League for an 'English' side which also contained two Welshmen!

Law represented them against other Leagues but not the Scottish League. He did however turn out against his fellow Scots for the Italian League during his spell with Torino!

Bremner never played for the Football League. Consider yourself absolved!

On the Scottish side there were non-Scots who played though not Johansen or any of the other imports from the continent. All non-Scots had a claim through parentage and these days would be eligible for the full national side. That wasn't the case in the inter-war period when players like Bob Ferrier of Motherwell and JB McAlpine of Queen's Park represented the Scottish League. These men had been born in England and that fact alone was enough to rule them out of playing for Scotland.

Celtic's 1930s goalkeeper Joe Kennoway somehow got round this rule and not only played for the Scottish League but also represented three countries - Canada, USA and Scotland - at full international level. One wartime oddity was Matt Busby, who never kicked a ball in Scottish league football, turning out for the Scottish League while a guest player with Hibs. Post-war, players like South African Johnny Hubbard turned out in inter-league matches.

There were also quite a few Scots who played for the Irish League. Most notably St Mirren's Johnny Deakin who played for the Irish League AGAINST the Scottish League while guesting with Glentoran during the war then played FOR the Scottish League against the Irish League in peacetime.

After a late flourish in the early 1960s these games began to slowly die. Spectator interest other than for the match with the Football League or rarities like the visit of the Italians had never been high and with the increasing demands on leading players of qualifiers for the World Cup and European Championships plus playing in Europe for their clubs there just wasn't room for these matches.

The last match against the Football League was in 1975-76 at Hampden:

Scottish League: Stewart (Kilmarnock), Rolland (Dundee United), Wark (Motherwell), Forsyth, Jackson (both Rangers), Miller (Aberdeen), Duncan, Bremner (both Hibs), Joe Craig (Partick), McDonald, McKean (both Rangers)

Football League: Shilton (Stoke), Cherry (Leeds), Mills (Ipswich), Doyle (Man City), McFarland, Todd (both Derby), Wilkins (Chelsea), Channon (Southampton), Greenhoff (Stoke), Currie (Sheff Utd), Tueart (Man City)

The English won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Trevor Cherry and the attendance was a paltry 8,874.

The last inter-league match

There was a myth about this fixture (usually trotted out after English defeats) that they didn't take the game as seriously as the Scots. A glance at the line-ups for this final fixture should dispel that notion.

Four of the English side (Mills, McFarland, Todd, Channon) turned out for their country in a full international against Scotland at Hampden that season. Just two of the Scots (Forsyth & Jackson) played in the same game - famous for Kenny Dalglish's goal through Ray Clemence's legs.

Jimmy Greenhoff was the only player on the English side never to earn a full cap. Next most inexperienced was Mike Doyle with five caps. Of the Scottish XI both Andy Rolland and Joe Wark failed to win full caps, Des Bremner, Joe Craig, Alex McDonald and Bobby McKean all won only one. Jim Stewart was capped just twice, Arthur Duncan six times and Colin Jackson won eight.

Only Willie Miller (65 caps) and Tam Forsyth (22) were regular internationals.

Compare the Scottish team (total 107 caps) with an English side (407 caps) containing players like Peter Shilton (125 caps), Ray Wilkins (84), Mick Channon (46), Mick Mills (42), Trevor Cherry (27) and Colin Todd (27) and you'll see that the English took the game seriously enough!

Since then there have been a few games featuring 'League' sides but these have involved lower division and part-time players.