#ThrowbackThursday - Scotland v England: Part Three - 1946 to 1968
The very first Post-War fixture between England and Scotland took place in mid-April 1946 at Glasgow’s Hampden Park. A mammoth 139,468 spectators turned out for the occasion. The fixture was a part of the unofficial British Home International Championship of 1945/46 and the Scots topped the group with two victories, while England stood two points behind Scotland and needing a win to level the series. After suffering seven successive war time defeats to the English, the Scots finally bagged a 1-0 victory with a goal from Celtic’s Jimmy Delaney not long before he became one of Matt Busby’s earliest signings for Man United. The result secured the Championship for the Scots.
The first official post-war international fixture between England and Scotland occurred nearly a year on in April 1947 at Wembley. This would be the first fixture against the Scots under new England manager Walter Winterbottom (prior to this, the England side were picked by an FA selection committee). The game would be the final fixture of the 1946/47 Home International Championship. England were joint top of the table with the Irish, while Scotland stood one point behind England. The second half of the game would feature live on BBC Television, for the very small number of pre-Coronation TV owners within the UK. The far bigger audience would have been listening on the BBC’s Light Programme - although again, only covered from the second half onwards.
Before the kick off, the two sides were introduced to the new Labour Prime Minster Clement Atlee who won a surprise landslide over Winston Churchill the previous year. Andy McClaren gave Scotland the lead after a quarter of an hour. An equaliser from Riach Carter ten minutes into the second half earned England a 1-1 draw which secured the Championship for the Three Lions.
In April 1948, England headed to Hampden Park to play the Scots unbeaten after three games and needing to win to retain the Championship. The Scots in contrast had lost all three of their previous fixtures. This year, there would be no TV coverage of the game, though the match would be covered in full on the BBC’s Light Programme. A goal for Stan Mortensen just ahead of half time and a second from Tom Finney in second half gave England a 2-0 victory.
Twelve months on, the final fixture of the Home International Championship would be the decider as both England and the Scots were level on points and both held a 100% record going into the game at Wembley. The game would feature live on BBC Television in full, as well as the Light Programme on the wireless. Ahead of kick off, the two sides were introduced to Prince Phillip – now recently retired from royal duties. By the hour mark, the Scots rushed into a three goal lead with goals from Jimmy Mason, Billy Steel and Lawrie Reilly. With a quarter of an hour to go, a goal from Newcastle United’s Jackie Milburn pulled one back for England, but couldn't prevent a 3-1 win for Scotland to secure the 1948/49 British Championship.
For the third year in a row, the Championship went down to the final game between England v Scotland at Hampden Park with the two sides unbeaten at the time of playing one another. As an interesting aside to this game, FIFA had confirmed before the tournament that the winners and runners up of this tournament would be confirmed as qualifiers for the 1950 World Cup held in Brazil. The Scots however confirmed that they will only take up the invite if they won the Home International Championship outright, meaning that this game was effectively a play off for a World Cup place.
Despite the importance of the game, BBC Television would choose to show a Schoolboy international between the England and Scotland, instead of this game, most probably due to the costs of outside broadcast at the time and the much smaller audience which television accrued in 1950. The game instead was covered on Radio by the BBC’s Light Programme. An attendance of 133,300 turned out for the game at Hampden Park. A goal from Chelsea’s Roy Bentley gave England a 1-0 win to confirm the Home International Championship and England's passage to Brazil to become the first Home Nation to appear in the FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, the Three Lions failed to get past the group phase after suffering a shocking 0-1 defeat to the USA.
In 1951 at Wembley Stadium, once again the England v Scotland fixture would involve two unbeaten sides playing out the deciding fixture. Once again, the big game would be denied live Television coverage. Instead the BBC decided to utilise its outside broadcasting unit to cover a Point to Point Steeplechase from Holly Hill Farm in Enfield (nearby to the BBC’s HQ at Alexandra Palace). The game however would again be covered by the BBC’s Light Programme on the wireless.
Early on, England had inside forward Wilf Mannion carried off after a clash of heads with a Scots player. The Three Lions took the lead with a goal from Harold Hassall of Huddersfield Town, before an equaliser from Hibernian forward Bobby Johnstone for the Scots. Three minutes into the second half, his Hibs team mate Lawrie Reilly put Scotland in front followed by a third from Liverpool forward Billy Liddle. Tom Finney pulled one back for England just past the hour mark, however couldn’t prevent a 3-2 victory for the Scots who secured the British Home International Championship on the back of this victory.
By early April 1952, the Scots were languishing three points behind leaders Wales and out of contention for the Home International Championship. England on the other hand were in with a chance of sharing the title if they could manage an away victory at Hampden Park. The game would be again be spurned by BBC TV in favour of a Schoolboy international between the two sides. The second half of the game however would be covered by the Light Programme for BBC Radio listeners.
Two first half goals from Man United’s Stan Pearson gave England a two goal lead by half time. Lawrie Reilly pulled one back for Scotland fourteen minutes from time, but was unable to prevent a 2-1 victory for England – their fourth Championship away win at Hampden in a row. As a result, the Three Lions shared Championship glory with the Welsh for 1951/52.
By the time of Scotland’s visit to Wembley in April 1953, BBC Television’s outside broadcasting unit would be covering the Scottish Grand National at Bogside. The BBC’s Light Programme meanwhile would cover the second half of the match on the Radio. Ivor Broadis of Man City put England ahead in the first period, before Lawrie Reilly equalised for the Scots ten minutes into the second half. Broadis restored England’s lead fourteen minutes later and in conceding the goal Scotland’s Sammy Cox had injured his ankle and in the days before substitutes had meant that the Scots had to continue with ten men. A last minute equaliser from Scotland’s Lawrie Reilly however meant a 2-2 draw. As a result, the Home International Championship for 1952/53 would be shared between England and Scotland.
By the time England headed to Hampden Park to play the Scots in early April 1954, television ownership had grown enormously due to the Queen’s Coronation of the previous year. In 1951, the number of TV licences across the UK had been 763,000. By 1954, that number increased to 3.2 million in 1954. One side effect of this however is that showing the England v Scotland fixture would become troublesome fare for Football clubs, as by this point this fixture was still played on a Saturday during the League season, while a full domestic League programme would be carried out across the country. As a result, there would not be another live televised England v Scotland fixture for the next fifteen years.
That afternoon, the BBC instead headed to Wembley to capture live coverage of the Schools international between England and Scotland, following on from the Varsity Boat Race earlier on in the day. The second half of the fixture however would be captured by the BBC’s Light Programme on the wireless. In the Championship itself, England were one point ahead of Scotland and merely needed to avoid defeat to the Scots to win the Home International Championship for 1953/54 outright.
Blackpool’s Alan Brown gave Scotland the lead after seven minutes, before Ivor Broadis equalised for England six minutes later. The second half saw a Black Country triple with goals from West Brom’s Johnny Nicholls, his club mate Ronnie Allen, as well as Jimmy Mullen of Wolves to give England a three goal cushion. A last minute strike from Willie Ormond of Hibs restored some pride for the Scots, however couldn’t prevent a 4-2 victory for England. As a result, the Three Lions secured the Home International Championship by a three point cushion.
In 1955, when the Scots came to Wembley to face England, the BBC had a whole afternoon of Live Sport lined up which included Racing and a Canoe Slalom, but no live coverage of the England v Scotland fixture. The second half of the game would be covered on the wireless by the BBC’s Light Programme, but BBC TV viewers instead had to make do with late evening highlights of the game. However, what a game it turned out to be! England with two victories already to their name held a one point advantage over the Scots. The Three Lions however had failed to beat the Auld Enemy at Wembley for the last twenty one years.
With an inspired performance by a thirty nine year old Stanley Matthews on the wing, goals for future Leeds United boss Don Revie, two for Bolton’s Nat Lofthouse and four for Dennis Wilshaw of Wolves meant that England hammered the Scots 7-2. On target for the Scots would be Laurie Reilly and Tommy Docherty of Preston North End. The result meant that England retained the Home International Championship for 1954/55.
By the time of England’s visit to Hampden Park, for the final fixture of the Championship all four sides were still with a chance of winning the tournament. Wales and Northern Ireland were joint top with three points, while England and Scotland stood one point behind both. As the sketch below from the Armando Iannucci Show would testify, over the years TV viewers in Scotland would often be denied watching something far more interesting shown south of the border, instead watching their own TV shows. For the 1956 Scotland v England game however, the roles would be reversed as the Scots had got to view the game live.
The fixture would be shown live on BBC Scotland, while in England the BBC’s Outside Broadcasting Unit went to the Races at Newbury instead. The English had to make do with recorded match highlights shown the following day. In the game itself, on the hour mark Graham Leggat of Aberdeen put the Scots ahead, before a last minute equaliser from Fulham’s Johnny Haynes meant that England earned a 1-1 draw and all four Home Nations shared the Championship after finishing on three points each.
In 1957, Scotland’s bi-annual visit to Wembley was now the penultimate fixture of the British Home International Championship, as Northern Ireland v Wales was to follow four days later. England and the Scots however were joint top of the group. Clyde’s Tommy Ring gave Scotland the lead in the first minute, before an equaliser just past the hour mark by West Brom’s Derek Kevan. England however secured the Championship with a goal from Busby Babe Duncan Edwards with a superb twenty five yard strike.
One year on and Duncan Edwards, along with several other of his Man United colleagues, would no longer be around to face the Scots due to the tragedy Munich Air Disaster. England’s visit to Hampden Park was to return as the final game of the tournament for 1957/58. The match would again be shown north of the border, but in England however armchair fans would have to wait for the highlights at 10.20PM later that afternoon. It’s a little known fact, but the Scottish national side was also managed by Matt Busby at the time of the Munich Air Crash. Due to his illness in the aftermath of the crash however, the side were managed by Dawson Walker in Busby’s absence. The Three Lions ran out emphatic 4-0 winners with goals from Bryan Douglas of Blackburn Rovers, two goals for Derek Kevan and a superb strike from Munich survivor Bobby Charlton, which enabled England to share the tournament with Northern Ireland.
In 1958/59, Scotland’s visit to Wembley in April would be the penultimate fixture of the tournament again. The Scots were now managed by Andrew Dawson, who had taken over the reins from Matt Busby. England and Scotland were both one point behind Northern Ireland, who would face Wales in Wrexham in their final fixture eleven days later. Ahead of the kick off, the teams would be introduced to ‘Supermac’ – not future Newcastle and Arsenal forward Malcolm McDonald, but the reigning PM Harold McMillan who had won a general election proclaiming that the nation had ‘Never Had It So Good’. Pathe News footage of the game also featured the all-girl singing group the Beverley Sisters in attendance, one of whom had been dating the England Captain Billy Wright. A headed goal for Bobby Charlton gave England a 1-0 victory, however a 4-1 victory for Northern Ireland over Wales had meant that the Ulstermen took the final championship of the 1950s outright.
For the first meeting between England and the Scots during the 1960s at Hampden Park, the fixture was again the climax of the championship. So far every team had beaten reigning holders Northern Ireland, but drew against each other. Wales topped the group by one point over both England and Scotland meaning that a win for either side would give them the Championship.
This match would be the first against the Auld Enemy for Scotland under the stewardship of Ian McColl. Another thing noteworthy about this game is that Joe Baker of Hibernian became the first ever Scots based player to turn out for England against Scotland. Baker in fact at that point had never played in the English league. Baker had been born on Merseyside, but had in fact grown up in Scotland.
In the game itself, Graham Leggat of Fulham gave Scotland the lead just past the quarter hour. Four minutes into the second half however an equaliser from Bobby Charlton from the penalty spot earned England a 1-1 draw. The result meant a three way tie between England, Scotland and Wales for the Championship.
Scotland’s visit to Wembley in April 1961 came with England sharing the top spot with Wales, a win for Scotland however would see a three way tie for the 1960/61 Championship. Future England boss Bobby Robson gave England the lead on nine minutes. By the half hour two further goals from Jimmy Greaves – then plying his trade in Serie A with AC Milan – put England three goals up. Six minutes into the second half, goals for Dave Mackay and Davie Wilson pulled Scotland back to 3-2. However, further goals for Bryan Douglas, two apiece for Fulham’s Johnny Haynes and Tottenham’s Bobby Smith and Jimmy Greaves completing his hat-trick meant England took the Championship with an emphatic 9-3 win, while a goal Patrick Quinn would be scant consolation for the poor Scots.
England’s visit to Hampden Park in April 1962 would be the final fixture of the 1961/62 British Home International Championship. Scotland topped the group, but England were two points behind in third place with a chance of sharing the championship if the Scots were defeated. Goals for Rangers pair Davie Wilson and Eric Caldow gave the Scots a 2-0 win – their first over England at Hampden for sixty years- as the Championship headed north of the border, the first to be won by the Scots outright for eleven years.
Scotland’s visit to Wembley in April 1963 saw them on level points with England, going into the final fixture. The match would be the first ever played at a fully covered Wembley Stadium, redeveloped ahead of the 1966 World Cup Finals, which were to be held in England. It would also be the first meeting with the Auld Enemy under the stewardship of Alf Ramsey, who took over the England manager role from Walter Winterbottom, who resigned after England’s failure to make waves at the 1962 World Cup in Chile. Just past the half hour, the Scots found themselves two goals up after two goals were scored by ‘Slim’ Jim Baxter of Rangers. Bryan Douglas pulled one back for England with eleven minutes to play, but could prevent a 2-1 away victory for the Scots, who retained the Home International Championship.
England’s visit to Hampden Park in April 1964 would be the penultimate fixture of the Championship. Scotland’s hopes for a hat-trick of outright Championship titles were dashed by defeat to Northern Ireland in the opening fixture and now stood two points behind England at the top of the table. A headed goal for Alan Gilzean of Dundee, from a corner eighteen minutes from time secured a 1-0 win for the Scots – their third win over the Auld Enemy in a row. The final fixture of the tournament four days later saw a 3-2 victory for Northern Ireland at Swansea’s Vetch Field. As a result, the tournament was shared by England, Scotland and Northern Ireland in a three way tie.
By the time of Scotland’s visit to Wembley in April 1965, the BBC’s new weekly highlights show ‘Match of the Day’ had been introduced the previous August. Despite this, the game would not feature on MOTD as the show was only available on BBC2 to a limited London based audience. That week however, armchair fans lucky enough to get BBC2 had a double helping of football highlights coverage. MOTD showed a second tier clash between Northampton Town and Derby County, while highlights of the England v Scotland clash would follow ‘Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life’ hosted by a young David Frost at 10.55PM.
Going into the final game of the Championship, England and Wales were joint top of the group though Scotland stood two points behind in third. This would be Scotland’s first meeting with the Auld Enemy during the first reign of Jock Stein as Scotland boss. Bobby Charlton gave England the lead midway through the first half with a long range shot, before Jimmy Greaves of Spurs doubled the lead. Five minutes before half time, Man United’s Denis Law pulled one back for the Scots. In the second half, England suffered injuries to Ray Wilson and Johnny Byrne and - in the days before substitutes were permitted - reduced to just nine fit players. On the hour mark Greavsie’s future TV sparring partner Ian St. John (for some reason called Ian Singen by the Pathe voiceover!) of Liverpool bagged Scotland’s equaliser.
The game ended in a 2-2 draw, which saw England win the Championship outright for the first time in four years. Such was Alf Ramsey’s confidence after such a backs to the wall performance by England, he had started to claim without a shadow of a doubt that England would win the 1966 World Cup.
Three months ahead of the start of the 1966 World Cup, England headed to Hampden Park to face the Scots in the Home International Championship. None of the other Home Nations had qualified for the World Cup, so the 1965/66 championship would be the high point of the season for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland topped the group going into the final game of the tournament, though England stood one point behind in second and the Scots two points behind in third. Highlights of the game would feature for the first time on Match of the Day at 10.15PM on BBC2.
England took the lead through a Geoff Hurst goal on nineteen minutes. Liverpool’s Roger Hunt doubled England’s lead on thirty three minutes, though Denis Law pulled one back three minutes ahead of half time with a superb header. Three minutes into the second half, Roger Hunt restored England’s two goal lead. Celtic’s Jimmy Johnstone pulled it back to 3-2 just ahead of the hour mark. Bobby Charlton bagged England’s fourth goal on the seventy fourth minute. With six minutes to go, Jimmy Johnstone bagged his second but it was little more than a consolation goal as England ran out 4-3 winners, securing the Home International Championship ahead of the World Cup in late July.
Seeing England crowned World Champions had stuck in the craw for many north of the border and the chance for vengeance had followed nine months later, when Scotland headed to Wembley for their annual fixture with the English. The Home International Championship was to double up as the Qualification group for Euro ’68. England were unbeaten since the World Cup win and topped the group, one point ahead of Scotland in second place. This would also be the first game for Scotland under the stewardship of Bobby Brown as boss.
Just ahead of the half hour mark, Denis Law put Scotland one up. Bobby Lennox bagged Scotland’s second twelve minutes from time. Jack Charlton pulled one back for England with six minutes to go, though Jim McCalliog of Sheffield Wednesday restored Scotland’s two goal lead. A minute later, Geoff Hurst pulled one back for England but it was little more than a consolation goal. Scotland proclaimed themselves ‘Unofficial World Champions’ after becoming the first side to beat England since the Three Lions won the World Cup, as the Scots ran out 3-2 winners. The Scots also took the 1966/67 Home International Championship.
The Euro ’68 qualification process carried on into the 1967/68 Home International Championship. England’s trip to Hampden Park was switched from its usual early April slot to late February. Highlights of the game would be shown on both the BBC and the ITV network. Ahead of the game, both Bobby Charlton and Denis Law would be interviewed by the TV Times on their thoughts on the game. Interestingly, on the same day as this meeting, their Man United side would be facing Arsenal at Highbury. Though United were in the hunt to retain their league title and embroiled in a title race with fierce neighbours Man City, Bobby Charlton would be forced to miss this league meeting as he was on international duty. Denis Law however would not be called up by Scotland for this meeting and instead turned out for Man United at Highbury, as United won 2-0 to stay in the hunt for the title.
England by now held a one point cushion over Scotland and if they could avoid defeat at Hampden Park could score a double victory of qualification for Euro ’68 and the 1967/68 Home International Championship. England took the lead on twenty minutes with a goal from West Ham’s Martin Peters. Celtic’s John Hughes equalised six minutes before half time. England held on for a 1-1 draw to secure the Championship and qualification through the group phase to face reigning European Champions Spain in the Quarter Finals. England progressed as far as the Semi Finals, before suffering defeat to Yugoslavia.
As will be seen in Part Four tomorrow, England would decline during the 1970s while Scotland would enjoy their most successful period of World Cup Qualification. The England v Scotland fixture meanwhile would be elevated to one of the few perennial live televised fixtures shown on British Television, before its sharp decline and disappearance toward the close of the twentieth century.