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Clyde’s Capped Scotland Players

As Scotland prepare to take on England at Hampden this evening in a match to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first international game, we take a look at the 13 Bully Wee players who have represented the national team in that period.

The first Clyde player to be capped for Scotland was pre-war record appearance holder William Walker. He pulled on the navy blue jersey against Ireland at Ibrox in March 1909, as the Scots recorded a 5-0 win in the British Home Championship clash. It was a special day for Clyde as they gained not one but their first two international players at the same time; winger Jack Kirwan was selected in the Irish side!

Wing-half Walker was also selected a year later as the Scots travelled to Belfast but this time he was on the losing side. His future Clyde teammate Frank Thompson scored the solitary goal as Ireland took the spoils at Windsor Park.

The next full Scotland cap came the way of full-back Danny Blair in October 1928. He was part of the team which beat Wales 4-2 and he kept his place for a thumping 7-3 victory against Ireland the following February. Danny won 5 further caps in 1931, the first of which came against the Auld Enemy in front of 131,273 at Hampden in an encounter Scotland won 2-0. He featured twice in Scotland’s summer continental tour, captaining his country against Austria in Vienna and was joined by his clubmate Bill Boyd in the lineup for the next match against Italy in Rome. The tour finished on a high note in Geneva as the Scots recorded a 3-2 victory over Switzerland, with centre-forward Boyd becoming the first Bully Wee player to score for Scotland. Blair won further caps against Ireland and Wales in the autumn.

There would be one more Clyde player to play for Scotland before the war, with John Brown being selected in goals for the visit of Wales in 1938. Dougie Wallace, Stan Williams and Les Johnston all played for the national side in Wartime Internationals but caps were not awarded for these games, with the next full international not taking place until January 1946, when Scotland hosted Belgium. Wing-half Jimmy Campbell won his only cap that day in a 2-2 draw. Another Clyde stalwart of that era and Campbell’s partner in the half-back line Hugh Long would also gain a solitary cap later in the year, against Ireland.

Scotland hosted Belgium again a couple of years later and there was another Clyde player in the team as Les Johnston lined up at centre-forward for his first full cap. He kept his place for the trip to Bern the following month and scored Scotland’s only goal in the 1-2 defeat against the Swiss. He was sold to Celtic later in the year and his place at Shawfield was taken by Alec Linwood, who would become Clyde’s next Scotland cap. The number-9 scored in his international debut in a 2-0 win against Wales in November 1949, but this was to be his only involvement with Scotland.

The 1950s was a golden decade for the club as they lifted the Scottish Cup twice. It’s not surprising therefore that this era saw the biggest involvement in national squads, with 4 players winning 24 caps. Outside-left Tommy Ring made his international bow against Sweden in 1953. He also played in Home Championship ties against Wales and Northern Ireland a year later, and retained his place as Ferenc Puskas and the Mighty Magyars of Hungary visited Hampden for a glamour friendly in December of that year. He was joined in the team by left-back Harry Haddock that day in front of 113,180 in an entertaining contest which the Scots ultimately lost 2-4, though Ring did net his first international goal.

Tommy Ring scores against Hungary

The duo kept their places for the trip to Wembley the following April but were on the end of a defeat again as England won 7-2. Haddock won plaudits for his sportsmanship and not resorting to foul play against Stanley Matthews, and the two struck up a friendship.

There were better times ahead though as Clyde won the Scottish Cup later that month. A week on from the Hampden glory Haddock and Archie Robertson were back at the national stadium with the latter making his debut in a 3-0 victory over the Portuguese. The due were named in Scotland’s squad for the summer tour of the continent; Haddock played in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia in Belgrade and Robertson featured against Austria. He opened the scoring in Vienna as the Scots won 4-1, with his goal timed at between 15 and 20 seconds, believed to be the country’s quickest ever international goal. Both players were involved in the closing match of the tour, going down 1-3 against Hungary in Budapest.

The Bully Wee would go on to suffer relegation the following season but despite being a Second Division player, Tommy Ring earned his way back into the national side in April 1957 for the trip to Wembley. His teammates were in the crowd, celebrating their Second Division championship win with a weekend in London and a friendly against Crystal Palace lined up, and they witnessed Ring open the scoring under the Twin Towers inside the first minute.

It was the start of a busy summer for Ring and Scotland, with qualification for the 1958 World Cup starting the following month. He retained the number 11 shirt for a 4-2 victory over Spain at home, as well as a 2-1 against the Swiss in Basel and a 3-1 friendly triumph in Stuttgart against West Germany, before going down 1-4 in the return fixture against Spain at the Bernabeu.

Ring also played in a 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, before the decisive qualifier against Switzerland at Hampden in November 1957, with a place at Sweden 1958 on the line. Archie Robertson was also recalled to the team after a blistering start to the season, scoring 21 goals in 17 games, and they formed the left hand side of Scotland’s forward line. He scored the opener in the 3-2 win which saw the Scots book their place at the Finals the following summer.

Archie Robertson and Tommy Ring with national skipper Tommy Docherty

It would be Ring’s 12th and final cap for his country, and he wasn’t named in the 40-man preliminary squad for the World Cup, though Haddock and Robertson were, along with George Herd, Dan Currie and Johnny Coyle. Herd capped a dream first season as a professional with his first Scotland appearance against England in April 1958 albeit the scoreline was one to forget with the English winning 4-0. Haddock also won his last cap in this encounter, being a late inclusion in the side to replace the injured Eric Caldow.

A week later at the same place Coyle’s goal saw off Hibs as Clyde won the Scottish Cup for the third time. The goalscorer along with Haddock and Robertson were named in the final 22-man squad for the Finals, and there was another connection as Shawfield trainer Dawson Walker, who had been filling the role in the national team for several years, was again named as the squad’s trainer, with added responsibilities. Manager Matt Busby was still incapacitated after the Munich air disaster, so the SFA selection committee also put Walker in charge of the tactics. Only Robertson would appear on the field at the tournament, in the 2-3 loss to Paraguay in Norrköpping.

Two years passed before a Clyde player was capped again, with Herd gaining further recognition in away friendlies against Hungary and Turkey in June 1960, scoring against the former. He also played in Home Championship matches away to Wales and against Northern Ireland at Hampden that autumn. Until recently these were the last full caps to be awarded to a Clyde player, but several matches on Scotland’s 1967 world tour were upgraded to full international status following a review in 2021. Forward Harry Hood was named in this Scotland squad which was missing several key players from the Old Firm and English clubs with European fixture commitments, and as a result caps were not awarded at the time. Harry now has three caps to his name, for victories against Israel (in which some reports list him as a goalscorer), Australia and the Canada Olympic team.

A full list of Bully Wee players to win international honours at all levels is available on the Capped Players page.