The Sunday Post (Inverness)

The day Don apologised to Sir Bobby

- By Brian Fowlie

Scotland manager Alex Mcleish has four months to find a right-back for the national team.

Finding someone comfortabl­e in that position would be a real boost for the Euro 2020 qualifiers in March.

Modern technology means it’s pretty straightfo­rward to track down everyone eligible to represent the country.

It wasn’t always that easy.

Fifty years ago, Scotland boss Bobby Brown went on a spying mission to look for new players.

You had to watch the games in person — no video footage available in 1968.

Brown took in the fixture between Charlton Athletic and Hull City to have a look at three men strongly recommende­d by his contacts in the south.

Centre-half John Keirs and inside-forward Alan Campbell were in action for the home side.

Lining up at full-back for Hull was Perthshire­born Don Beardsley.

As he explains, his upbringing didn’t make him an obvious target for Scotland.

He said: “I was born in Alyth, not far from Dundee.

“My father was in the army and had been posted to Kenya. We lived in a village at the foot of Mount Kenya.

“After that we moved to Gibraltar, where I went to school for three years.

“We then returned to Scotland for a spell, before living in Liverpool and the Isle of Wight.

“The family then settled in Hull. I was signed by the local team as a schoolboy and spent 11 years with them. “I remember being told that Scotland were watching me, but I never heard anything from them.

“I was mostly a left-back, but I also played at right-back.

“Picking up an injury at that time certainly didn’t help my chances.

“I ruptured a thigh muscle and was out for nearly nine months.

“Being called up by Scotland at Under-23 or full level probably passed me by at that time. “My father came from Nottingham but considered himself a Scot. My mother was a Robertson and she, like me, was born north of the border.”

Don played in the first game decided by a penalty shoot-out in England.

He went on: “We faced Manchester United in the semi-final of the Watney’s Cup at Boothferry Park.

“It was 1-1 after extra time and we took penalties for the first time. “Ian Mckechnie, our Scottish goalkeeper, was the first man to stop one when he saved Denis Law’s kick.

“He also became the first to miss a penalty because he took one and sent it sailing over the bar.

“Ian was a great character. He’d started his career as an outside left with Arsenal.

“I roomed with him when we went on a preseason tour of Guyana and that was fairly lively.

“Unfortunat­ely, we lost the shoot-out and I must admit I didn’t take one of the penalties. “I was marking George Best that day, but my main memory was of being a bit late with a tackle on Bobby Charlton.

“I’m not sure why I did it, but I found myself standing over him saying sorry for fouling him. “He told me in no uncertain terms to be on my way. ‘It’s your job’, he said.”

Don had a loan spell at Doncaster Rovers near the end of his time with the Tigers.

He said: “We played against Grimsby in their promotion season and were the only team to beat them.

“I was then signed by them and teamed up with goalkeeper Harry Wainman, who I’d known at school in Hull.

“He threw the ball to me during my first training season and I was immediatel­y flattened by midfielder Mickey Hickman.

“He bent over me and said: ‘Welcome to Grimsby Town’.

“I spent two seasons at Blundell Park before retiring.

“We earned a reasonable wage playing football, but nothing like they do now. “Mind you, Hull paid me more than my father got as a supervisor for Birds Eye’s transport department.”

Don, now 72, became an estate agent in Grimsby and remained in business for 30 years.

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 ??  ?? Don Beardsley (back left) during his Hull City days
Don Beardsley (back left) during his Hull City days

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