Celebrating Scotland’s triumphs and tears framed in rare photos from the archives, our new special series marking the release of We Had A Dream – Scotland Internationals In The Black & White Era starts off in style, hearing from Scottish legend, Denis Law.
Foreword to this fantastic trip down memory lane, it’s over to you, Denis…
Fans, teams, games…these pictures bring the memories flooding back
There is no feeling in the world that is better than pulling on a Scotland shirt.
I first played for the senior team in October 1958, at Ninian Park, Cardiff.
I was a laddie of 18 and got a goal in a 3-0 win over Wales.
Bill Shankly was my manager at Huddersfield, and Matt Busby was the national manager. I learned about my call-up from a newspaper seller in Huddersfield town centre.
He called me over and asked if I’d seen the news in The Examiner (the local evening paper). It said I had been picked for my country. I’ve never been so excited in my life, I hadn’t even known I was being considered.
Only 11 players were selected in those days. There were no substitutes. I was in the team!
I’d never even played for the Under-23s.Dave Mackay was the captain that day and his team talk got to me so much that I ran all over the place in the first 10 minutes, I was so fired up.
My goal was a bit lucky, to be honest. The Welsh centre-half headed the ball against my head and it went into the goal.
But a goal’s a goal! Two weeks later I played for Scotland again.
Against Northern Ireland, at Hampden this time, in an unchanged team from the Wales game.
I’m ashamed to say that I kicked Danny Blanchflower all over the park! Matt Busby had told me that he dictated all their play and that I was to “watch him”.
I was a fired-up, keen-as-mustard teenage laddie and I got carried away.
I’ll never forget that night as it was the first time my mother and father ever saw me play as a professional footballer.
Goodness knows what they thought of my wild ways. But that’s what playing for your country does to you.
I also look back fondly at all the great players I played with in the Scotland team – Dave Mackay, John White, Billy McNeill, Billy Bremner, Jimmy Johnstone, Jim Baxter, Paddy Crerand, Ian St John, Bobby Evans, Eric Caldow, to name just a few.
It was an honour to be on the field with these men representing the hopes of the Scottish nation.
So I’ve greatly enjoyed looking at all these old photos. The memories came flooding back.
The fantastic backing we used to get at Hampden and Wembley, the iconic games, the great teams we played against.
I played my last-ever international as a professional footballer against Zaire in the 1974 World Cup, 16 years after my first cap.
I gave my all in every one of the 55 games I played, and I know that every player who plays for Scotland will do the same.
Ever since I was a lad growing up in Aberdeen and playing football for Powis Academy and Scotland Schoolboys, I have been a Scotland supporter.