I hadn't heard of such a player in connection with United before, but it was the alleged international career that really rang alarm bells, given that Houston was born in 1930 - not many under-21 matches in his day! Certainly no player of that name appeared for United's first team, but a trawl through Steve Gracie's The Rise of the Terrors reveals that a John Houston was signed for the reserve team from Bayview Athletic in 1951, and appears to have been released the following year, so that's presumably our man. So, if Houston did make some sort of representative appearance, what level was it at? Amateur? Juvenile? I know there was a Bayview Athletic in junior football during the 1930s, but at what grade were they playing post-war?Houston was born at Buckhaven, in the kingdom of Fife, on the north shore of the Firth of Forth. He grew up at nearby Windygates, where his father's family kept the hotel and village shop. His father himself was, as Houston put it, in more general business - sometime haulier, contractor, dealer of all kinds and of horses in particular. Until he grew too big, Houston would ride for his father at Musselburgh races and other local meetings. At Buckhaven high school, he was successful both academically and at sport, especially football, which was to play a large part in his early life. He won an under-21 international cap, playing for Scotland against England at outside-left, and went on as a part-time professional with Dundee United while at art school. Serious damage to a knee, however, put paid to any football career, and an eye injury excused him from national service.
Scottish Football Answers to Questions
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This is an extract from The Guardian's 2008 obituary for Scottish painter John Houston:
Ah, excellent. That would presumably mean the "under-21 international" against England refers to a juvenile fixture, which makes sense. I see this game was an annual event in the late 40s; anyone know which year(s) Houston was capped, if so?
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