EVER since The Hon. Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird, of Wanderers, and
Lieut. Henry Waugh Renny-Tailyour, of the Royal Engineers, were picked
international football match -- against England in London in 1873 --
just a mere trickle of ''outsiders'' have been given the same privilege.
The Hon., later to become a Lord, was born in Kensington and the
lieutenant, who was to reach the rank of colonel, saw the first light of
day in the North West Provinces of India. As international footballers,
they didn't do too well. Scotland lost that particular match and
although the lieutenant scored a goal neither was picked again.
Mind you, they had other, and to them more meaningful things to do
with their lives. Kinnaird, as well as being an accomplished sprinter,
tennis player, swimmer, and canoeist, served in the House of Lords, was
president of the YMCA and Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly
of the Church of Scotland.
Renny-Tailyour, who incidentally also played international rugby for
Scotland and cricket for Kent (he even played for the Gentlemen against
the Players), was to become managing director of the Guinness company.
Two fine lads who came from good Scottish stock.
Which brings me to the point. Since that day, when England won 4-2
almost 127 years ago, less than twenty people born outside of the
country have been capped by Scotland. Yet, this week alone we have heard
of two who have asked to be considered.
In the case of Rangers midfield man Nigel Spackman I can sympathise.
His grandfather was a Scot and up until recently that would have been
enough to give him qualification to play for Scotland. But under an
agreement by the four home associations it is not enough any more. Pity,
for we could do with another good midfield player.
The other case involves Liverpool's South African-born goalkeeper
Bruce Grobbelaar, already capped by Zimbabwe. Now he has been granted
British citizenship, Bruce feels he should be allowed to play for one of
the four home countries.
''I'd play for anyone who wanted me,'' he said. Fair enough, but then
Bruce points out that he could hardly expect to replace either Neville
Southall, of Wales, or England's Peter Shilton. That, of course, leaves
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Now, Jim Leighton, Scotland's current No.1, has not had the best of
times in recent international matches, but although I have always
admired Grobbelaar, a man who often brings a chuckle to the serious
business, I would much rather see full-blooded Scot Leighton as our last
line in the World Cup finals in Italy. But if Andy Roxburgh decides
otherwise, I would remind Bruce that there are other capable lads in
front of him in the queue -- Hibernian's Andy Goram, born in Bury, with
a Scottish father, and Thurso-born Bryan Gunn, of Norwich.
Incidentally, if Grobbelaar was ever to play for Scotland he wouldn't
be setting a trend, for of all the ''outsiders'' to be capped by this
country goalkeepers have the highest ratio -- around 25%.
Apart from Goram, four others come into that category, Bill Fraser, of
Sunderland, who was born in Australia, Leeds United's David Harvey
(Leeds), Arsenal's Bob Wilson (Chesterfield), and Celtic's Joe Kennaway,
who was born in Montreal and is rather unique for the fact that he was
also capped by Canada and the United States.
* * *
ROY AITKEN, transferred only last week to Newcastle United, will be
back among Celtic connections on Sunday when he attends a special dinner
in the Albany Hotel, Glasgow. Aitken, along with other former Celts Mark
McGhee and Tommy Burns, will turn out to honour former young team-mate
Steve Murray, who had to give up the game, because of a bad knee injury.
The dinner is the culmination of a testimonial for the youngster, who
played for Scotland at under-21 level. Among items up for auction will
be the jersey Jacki Dziekanowski wore for Poland against England, and
Ray Houghton's Republic of Ireland jersey he wore in that country's
final World Cup qualifier. Only a few tickets remain for the event and
can be had by telephoning 041 647 9749/0430 or 041 632 5221.