Inventing A Whole New Ball Game
As the current national side struggles, the past is littered with Scots footballing pioneers who took the beautiful game to the rest of the world
ARTHUR Herman’s book How The Scots Invented The Modern World could equally have had a football sequel entitled How The Scots Invented The Modern Game.
For though both the big club teams and the national side have been shorn of success in recent years, there’s not just a rich history, but a story to be told of Scots taking the national game to all corners of the globe.
That was brought home to me when my own club Hibernian recently sold their star player to big English team Aston Villa. John Mcginn’s a name I’m sure you’ll hear more of as he’s likely to be a mainstay in the national team for years to come.
He follows in a long line of Scots stars that have headed not just south but abroad. They do this now, though, for far greater earnings and too much greater glamour, given the worldwide media exposure the beautiful game commands.
In many ways it’s apt that Mcginn should have signed for Aston Villa, not just as other star players from Hibs have gone there over the years – including one of my boyhood heroes Alex Cropley – but the Birmingham club has Scottish roots displayed in the Rampant Lion crest that adorns their strip.
George Ramsay, from Glasgow, and William Mcgregor, from Perthshire, are inextricably linked not just with the club but the latter also with the formation of the Football League itself in England.
Soon, other Scots were to follow as greater wealth and opportunity beckoned even if it was still an age when professional footballers retired to run a pub or corner shop, and not on the millions that can now be made.
However, there was one ex-footballer who ended up owning not just one corner shop but an entire chain.
RS Mccoll – who seems to have supplied newspapers to every adult and sweeties to every child in Scotland – is also in the Scottish Football Association’s Hampden Hall of Fame.
Robert Smyth Mccoll played for Queens Park and St Johnstone before signing for the English giants Newcastle United over a century ago. Playing 13 times for the national team he scored 13 goals, a strike rate that any current Scottish internationalist can only dream of.
The 1910 Aston Villa side
The Sao Paulo state team starred Archie Mclean (front row, second from right)