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Q Bill MacLagan asks:"Is it true that Frank Haffey was photographed in front of Big Ben with the hands pointing at quarter past nine after Scotland lost 9-3 to England at Wembley in 1961?

Or is it a myth, as presumably the team was on the way back home by then?If true did the pictures appear in the newspapers of the day? Any help very much appreciated."

A I’ve always assumed it to be true - maybe because its such a good story. But possibly it is just that - a STORY. The only definitive way to check would be to look at the Sunday papers for April 16th 1961 - the day after the game. As Bill points out, it isn’t very likely that the team would be strolling around central London more than four hours after the match finished.

However, where Frank Haffey is concerned, there’s always a twist. I came across a piece by Frank Keating in The Guardian over a year ago which adds another element to the story. Keating says:“When the team boarded the train at King's Cross, Haffey was happy to enter into the spirit of things when Fleet Street photographers invited him to pose, arms outstretched, under a large sign that read platform "NINE".”

Hmmm... Again, it sounds like the kind of story which SHOULD be true. I can’t say that I know what King’s Cross looked like in 1961 but having had the misfortune to be stuck there on innumerable occasions over the past thirty years, I know for a fact that trains from that platform all head out in the direction of Cambridge. Also, while Keating may be an entertaining writer he is not always reliable.

Of course it may have been very different in 1961 - the station was refurbished in the late sixties. But in the absence of photographic proof, perhaps this aspect of the Haffey story should be regarded as having the same veracity as that platform’s other claims to fame - that it is the burial place of Boadicea and the departure point of the Hogwarts Express!

We’ll leave Frank for now with details of some of his more memorable post-Wembley appearances for Celtic:

Feb 62: Puts a free kick into his own net!
Mar 63: Throws a pass-back between his legs!
Apr 63: In a Scottish Cup semi-final, fluffs his attempted clearance straight to an opposition player who scores!

Frank Haffey - the legend lives on!

Q BignoseJohn asks: "When was the last home international played?"

A 100 years after the first! The Home International championships started in 1883-84 and came to an end on May 26th 1984 when Scotland drew 1-1 with England at Hampden in front of a crowd of 73,064. The attendance, although almost capacity, was the smallest since before World War One! Scorer for Scotland was Mark McGhee. Tony Woodcock netted for England.

Scotland: Leighton, Gough, Albiston, Wark, McLeish, Miller (Capt), Strachan (McStay), Archibald, McGhee (Johnston), Bett, Cooper

England: Shilton, Duxbury, Sansom, Wilkins, Roberts, Fenwick, Chamberlain (Hunt), Robson (Capt), Woodcock (Lineker), Blissett, Barnes

Managers Jock Stein and Bobby Robson both agreed not to pick any players from Liverpool, who were facing a European Cup Final four days later.

All four home nations ended with three points. Goal difference gave the last ever title to Northern Ireland with Wales second. A suitable two-fingered salute to the 'Big Two' who had unceremoniously dumped their neighbours from the fixture list after a century!

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