Joey knows all

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FORE! - By Char­lie Al­lan

SCOT­LAND play Den­mark in their next warm-up match, at Ham­p­den Park a week on Wed­nes­day.

One man who knows what it's like to play against the Danes is Dons le­gend Joe Harper.

The for­mer King of the Beach End gained only four caps for his coun­try, but three of them were in games against the Scan­di­na­vians.

His last trip to Copen­hagen led to Joe be­ing hit with a life-time ban from play­ing for Scot­land and he gives the in­side story on that in­fa­mous scan­dal that dom­i­nated the head­lines in 1975.

QWhat are your thoughts hav­ing faced Den­mark three times when you only got four Scot­land caps? I cher­ish the mem­o­ries I have of all three games. What I do mind is get­ting only four caps. Play­ing for Scot­land was one of the ma­jor highs of my ca­reer and I'm con­vinced I was good enough to do it more of­ten than I did. But the un­just ban I re­ceived for that in­fa­mous in­ci­dent in Copen­hagen and what I saw as a bias against those play­ing for pro­vin­cial clubs like Aberdeen de­nied me the chance. With that in mind, your first cap, against the Danes in Copen­hagen in Oc­to­ber 1972, must have meant a lot? Yes. I had scored 52 goals in 58 ap­pear­ances for the Dons and won the bronze boot as the third top scorer in Europe in 1972, yet was still be­ing over­looked by Scot­land. I thought I had no hope when Scot­land boss Tommy Docherty did an in­ter­view for the Evening Ex­press and claimed that scor­ing 50 goals for Aberdeen was noth­ing spe­cial in his eyes. I was con­vinced that was my Scot­land dream dead – so it was a shock when Tommy picked me for a World Cup qual­i­fier in Den­mark. My heart sank again later af­ter Tommy told me I wasn't go­ing to play be­cause he didn't rate me and had only in­cluded me in the squad to please the press.

AQAHe then shocked me by telling me I would get my first cap in the re­turn match at Ham­p­den! Tommy fur­ther shocked me by an­nounc­ing I would be among the subs in Den­mark – then told me in the sec­ond half that I was get­ting on! How did you feel when you knew you were about to fi­nally make your de­but? Em­bar­rassed, be­cause I had an over­whelm­ing urge to go to the toi­let. Tommy wasn't pleased but told me to hurry up. The dress­ing rooms were locked so I went through a door look­ing for a toi­let un­der the stand. I couldn't find one so I had to asked two po­lice­men, who told me to go out through two big dou­ble doors. The doors banged shut be­hind me, and sud­denly I dis­cov­ered I was locked out­side the sta­dium! I spent an eter­nity bang­ing on the doors un­til the po­lice­men even­tu­ally let me back in. What did Docherty say when you re­turned?

just shook his head and told me to get on with it. I went on for Jimmy Bone and I was in dream­land soon af­ter­wards when I latched on to a back-heeled pass from Lou Macari to score my first Scot­land goal. We won the game 4-1 and it was one of the great­est days of my life.


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