JOHN TOSHACK is the globetrotting Welshman with a Scots shadow. In a career in football that has so far spanned more than 50 years, Toshack found fame as a player with Cardiff City and then at Liverpool, before embarking on a peripatetic managerial career that has included stops at Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and the Welsh national team, as well as stints in Azerbaijan, Morocco and, most recently, Iran.

As he approaches his 70th birthday, Toshack – who spends most of his time these days in either San Sebastian or Majorca – is undeniably a citizen of the world. But as he reflects on the path he has taken to this point, he is grateful to the Scots who have helped guide him along the way.

The first, and most enduring, Caledonian influence on his life came at home. Toshack’s father, George, was a carpenter from Fife who moved to Wales with the RAF and eventually married and settled there. Toshack’s memories of that time burn as brightly now as they did when he was a child.

“My dad was a very proud Scotsman,” he said. “He was a very popular and well-known carpenter, and I can still picture him going to work with his apron on and a shirt and tie. It was always quite unusual to see him up on a roof working away with his tie on but that was his thing.

“He was a Fifer and we used to go up there every summer. There were no motorways in those days so I can remember leaving Cardiff at four in the morning the car and not reaching the farm my grandfather used to own just outside of Dunfermline until seven at night. So Scotland is a country that has shaped me a lot.”

The Scottish influence stretched into his professional career when Jimmy Scoular handed him a debut aged 16 for hometown club Cardiff City.

“My first manager was a Scot and he was a tough, hard man,” added Toshack. “A number four in the old Scottish tradition, a right-half, the Newcastle United captain and he also played for Scotland.

“I can remember Jimmy put me on the bench when I was a 16 year-old. We played Leyton Orient and I got on after about 15 minutes and was fortunate enough to score a goal. And that got me on my way.

“You didn’t argue too much with Jimmy but he was a good man. There was a soft side to him too and he was obviously a very important figure in my life.

“When I got married I ended up living in the same village as him. I remember looking down the hill and seeing Jimmy walking up towards the house one Sunday morning. I had read the papers so I had a fair idea what he was coming to say.

“They’d had an offer from Liverpool of £110,000 which was a record at the time. And Jimmy was coming to tell me they couldn’t turn that down. I ended up going to Liverpool when I was 21 where I met another great Scot.”

That “great Scot” was of course the legendary Bill Shankly under whom Toshack would work for the next four years.

“I’ll never forget what Shanks said to me when I signed,” he recalled. “Welcome to Liverpool, son. You’ve left Sunday School and you’ve come to church. And that was his way of welcoming me to Anfield.

“I had some terrific years under Shanks. We all worshipped him. Everything I’ve put into management over these last 40 years I learned at Liverpool under first Shanks and then Bob Paisley. Bob was a lot more successful with trophies but it was Shanks who put the wheels in motion.”

Toshack would spend eight years at Anfield and was there to welcome Kenny Dalglish following the latter’s transfer from Celtic in 1977.

“I remember when Kenny came to Liverpool after Kevin [Keegan] had gone to Hamburg,” added Toshack. “I took him around to show him a few houses and we stopped off to see Shanks.

“I said: “Boss, this is Kenny” – he was retired by then but we still called him ‘Boss’. And Shanks looked him up and down then replied. “Kenny, son. I’ll give you a couple of pieces of advice. Don’t overeat and don’t lose your accent and you’ll be okay”. And then they chatted for about five minutes. I couldn’t understand a word they said.”

Even his most recent stint in management with Tractor Sazi in Iran saw him working with former Scottish league players Anthony Stokes, Lee Irwin and Harry Forrester. That came to an end in September but don’t suggest it might be time for the quiet life.

“Someone once asked Shanks if he had retired from management. He said: “Retired? They should strike that word from the dictionary. When they put you in the coffin and nail it down, that’s when you’re retired”. So never say never.”

- Toshack’s Way: My Journey Through Football is out now, £20, DeCoubertin Books