ANGUS Carmichael is much older now.

He has been in and out of hospital with a couple of bouts of pneumonia, suffers from a cancerous bone marrow disorder known as myeloma, and has been known to crack a vertebra or two on those occasions when he has been a touch over-enthusiastic on the golf course. But when it comes to the 1948 Olympics, and his role as one of the seven Scots (and six Queen's Park players) who formed part of the Great Britain football team, the 86-year-old is most definitely still on the ball.

Whatever you think about Lord Coe, Stuart Pearce, David Beckham et al and the 2012 Olympic football competition, Carmichael deserves a hearing.

The tall, brawny left-back was 22 and just as concerned about completing a degree in veterinary medicine as he was about breaking into the Queen's Park first team when the Olympic selection panel and team manager Sir Matt Busby first started taking an interest in his services.

Some 64 years later, the Team GB blazer that he once wore to lunch at the House of Lords with a pre-Suez crisis Anthony Eden adorns the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park, having been loaned to the SFA. The amateur ethos of the Games has all but vanished today and sadly, to his knowledge, Carmichael has only his fellow Queen's Parker Jimmy McColl for company amongst members of the Scottish contingent still alive to tell the tale. It is no surprise he mourns the fact this summer's event is likely to pass without any Scottish involvement,

"I am terribly disappointed that we haven't managed to turn out a properly British team again," Carmichael told the Sunday Herald. "I think it is disgusting that Scottish players are being told not to take part, just dreadful. I just can't understand it. If the FA turn out [Wayne] Rooney, and get him to take the Olympic oath, I might just go down and shoot the beggar!"

Carmichael only played one match in the London Olympics, the 5-3 defeat to Denmark in the third and fourth place play-off which meant he ended up with a piece of parchment through the post to mark the occasion rather than an Olympic bronze medal. He still feels Busby did not give him a fair crack of the whip.

"Matt Busby said afterwards that he was never given the choice to select the players, and if he had been he would have selected different players, but the Queen's Parkers were all playing in the Scottish First Division and had just beaten Glasgow Rangers on their own grass," Carmichael said. "Matt was a very nice guy, a very pleasant chap, but he didn't do anything for my football ability. He made me worse rather than better, because he wasn't interested in big chaps. Matt tended to like shorter guys who presumably he felt had better ball control, but it meant he had no cover from corner kicks or set-pieces in his team. I was 6ft 2in and if you think back even to the type of player he had before the Munich air disaster, the skipper was Roger Byrne and he was only 5ft 8in."

That one match proved the high watermark of Carmichael's career. In football, that is. While the likes of Gunnar Nordahl, Gunnar Gren and Nils Liedholm of winners Sweden, would go on to grace AC Milan and finish third at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, and Team GB's 17-year-old goalkeeper Ronnie Simpson would become a Lisbon Lion at Celtic, Carmichael, slowed down by an ankle injury, would play football for only a matter of months longer, never getting the chance to represent Scotland. Unable to land an assistant vet's job north of the border, he moved south to England to pursue his veterinary career, first in the Lake District before residing quite happily in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, for the last 50-odd years. Only once or twice did he have cause to regret the decision.

"The first day I was in my practice, there was a phone call for me," Carmichael recalls. "I picked up the receiver and heard 'Hello Angus, Bill Shankly here, can you come and play for me?'. I said 'I am sorry Mr Shankly I need to work on a Saturday, I am a young assistant vet'. He said 'no problem, we will send a taxi for you at lunchtime'. But I said 'no, I have to work all day Saturday and Sunday, I am the dogsbody of the practice'. That was when he was with Carlisle, some 10 years before he moved to Liverpool."

Carmichael's veterinary books were dragged dutifully across the country in the summer of '48.

"I graduated on the Friday, something like the 10th of July 1948, my name was up on the board to say that I had passed my final exam," Carmichael recalled. "Then two of my chums and I went on the sleeper train to London, and joined the British team at FA headquarters in Paddington. In those days, no-one was allowed to take money out of the country and no-one travelled on planes except football stars and people like that. But we flew over, played against a Swiss league team, then after a couple of weeks in Manchester, eventually we went to the Olympic camp which was at Uxbridge RAF station – that is where we were posted. They talked about us being short of food but I saw more food there than I had in my life really. I ate terribly well and I really was a gutsy beggar. We were in shared rooms and the sign up in the main hall at night said 'quiet please, 100m competitors asleep' or 'quiet please, 1500m competitors asleep'."

There was some glitz and glamour to be had. Carmichael recalls attending the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane to see Oklahoma with Howard Keel in the lead role, and the footballers were granted pride of place in the opening ceremony. "We were asked to lead the British team into Wembley because we were big, thuggish chaps," he said. "I will never forget coming out of the tunnel and the roar that came up when they saw the Union Flag had entered the arena."

But it is fair to say the football comp-etition at the Austerity Olympics didn't entirely capture the public imagination. Team GB's matches were shared between Highbury, Craven Cottage and Wembley but other games were played at such down-at-heel venues as Ilford, Dulwich and Walthamstow.

"We weren't regarded as superstars," Carmichael recalled. "The matches weren't terribly well attended. But we played at Wembley and it was a thrill to play there. We lost to Denmark for third place but we were up against players who were supposed to be amateur but were enrolled in the country's army and being trained every week in football. Ronnie [Simpson] played behind me, and he was a marvellous, acrobatic chap – although sometimes he made the save look more sensational than it was! But he let us down against Denmark. He made one of those cardinal mistakes of going up too soon, and when he was dropping back on the ground he should have been going up and the ball went in for the crucial goal."

War was the adhesive which held this team together. In add-ition to Queen's Parkers Carmichael, Simpson, McColl, Andy Aitken, Alan Boyd, David Letham and Queen of the South's Dougie McBain, the squad contained three Welshmen and two Irishmen – striker Dennis Kelleher, born in Dungarvan, Munster, who had escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp and second-choice goalkeeper Kevin McAlinden, who played for Belfast Celtic and within months would find himself caught up in crowd disturbances at the infamous Boxing Day derby against Linfield. Growing up in Rutherglen, the teenage Carmichael had been a dispatch rider, and uniformed member of the civil defence.

"At first my job was to deliver messages when the telecom lines were down due to bombing, then the senior warden showed me what to do with a motorbike, and told me to drive across a field and bring it back," Carmichael recalls. "I did it and he said you are now a dispatch rider. Rutherglen where I lived didn't really suffer, there was only one real series of bombs in the whole war, it was a direct hit on our school but it didn't do any harm to the humans because were all protected by being down in the basement having a cup of cocoa.

"But my health deteriorated, my ability to study deteriorated and I dropped back a year in my degree course. I was told to rest up for a year then I started to get better again. My training for the Olympics was pounding round the tracks at Hampden or running alongside the bus to the Glasgow abattoir."

In those days there was no real choice to be made. "No-one declined it [the chance to play for Britain at the Olympics]," says Carmichael, to this day an honorary member of Queen's Park and a Freeman of the city of London, a cachet which entitles him to drive his sheep across the Thames. "The seven [Scots] who played were just the seven who happened to be chosen. In fact there were one or two disappointed not to be picked."