What matches did the SFA XI play?

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Peter Heid
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What matches did the SFA XI play?

Post by Peter Heid » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:15 pm

An online article from ‘The Scotsman’ has the following quote from “Long John” Hewie about how he almost played for England in the 1950s:
"At the time there was no under-23 or under-21 representative football," explains Hewie. "There was the full England side, below that was the Football League XI and below that the FA XI, which mainly played show games, league or club anniversary matches and the likes. This team usually had a handful of well-known veterans and some young guys whom the FA wanted to have a look at. I played quite a few games for the FA XI and was told I was being groomed to get my international chance, which quite excited me."

Hewie is referring to the English FA XI, of course. As far as their Scottish equivalents are concerned, I know of the following tours:

Scottish FA/Third Lanark Tour of North America, 21 May-21 Jul 1921 (24 wins, 1 draw)
Scottish FA Tour of Canada, 24 May-15 Jul 1927 (19 wins, 1 loss)
Scottish FA Tour of North America, 18 May-13 Jun 1935 (13 wins)
Scottish FA Tour of North America, 16 May-21 Jun 1939 (13 wins, 1 draw)
Scottish FA Tour of North America, 25 May-19 Jun 1949 (8 wins, 1 loss)
Scottish FA World Tour, 16 May-13 Jun 1967 (9 wins)

One thing I notice about these SFA XI squads is that they had it both ways in terms of player eligibility. They could include non-Scots who played for Scottish clubs (as per the Scottish League XI) but also Scottish players based outside Scotland (as per the national team).

Question 1: Is the above list the complete set of tours?
Question 2: Did the SFA XI participate in one-off “show games” of the type that John Hewie describes their English counterparts playing?

Hewie also mentions:
“Mr Seed had about seven South Africans in his Charlton squad at the time. So us and other South Africans like Rangers' Johnny Hubbard and Don Kitchenbrand formed a South Africa XI to play Scotland at Ibrox in early 1956. I remember there were about 50,000 fans there and we got a good following, in spite of playing in green shirts, because the Rangers fans were shouting for wee Johnny and big Kitch. Scotland won 2-1, but I had a good game and the next thing I knew, I was named for Scotland, against England.”

Question 3: Were the South Africa XI’s opponents actually Scotland? Or an SFA XI? Or some sort of informal select?

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Post by Scottish » Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:28 pm

To answer in order

1. I think that's the definitive list of tours though the status of the 1921 trip as SFA is doubtful in the extreme. See various SFAQS threads about these matches

2. There have been a few one-off matches such as the appeal for the Ibrox Disaster Fund for instance.

3. This was a fund-raiser for the 1956 Olympic Games squad. The 'South Africa' side was composed of South Africans then playing in the UK - Rudham (Liverpool), O'Linn, Hewie (both Charlton), Purdon (Sunderland), Neilson (Bury), Chamberlain (Charlton), Davies (Luton), Leary (Charlton), Kichenbrand (Rangers), Foreman (Brighton), Hubbard (Rangers).

Not surprised there were cheers for the men in green as there were no Rangers players in the 'Scotland' team even though the match was at Ibrox - Younger (Hibs), Parker, Rae (both Falkirk), Evans (Celtic), Malloy (Cardiff), Glen (Aberdeen), Smith (Hibs), McMillan (Airdrie), Reilly (Hibs), Collins (Celtic), Mitchell (Newcastle)

'Scotland won 2-1 with goals from Lawrie Reilly and Bobby Collins. Johnny Hubbard scored for the visitors.

The home team were labelled as 'Scotland' but clearly were not a full international side.

The match was played on Monday March 12th 1956. The other event of note that day (to me if to no one else) was that it marked my arrival into the world.

Peter Heid
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Post by Peter Heid » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:44 pm

You give a full and highly informative reply and what do you get for it? You get MORE questions, of course!! :)

When you say the Ibrox Disaster Fund Match, I take it you mean the one in Belfast in 1902? You have pointed out elsewhere in SFAQs that the Scots for that one were drawn from Glasgow and Edinburgh teams and the Irish from the League of Ireland but were they formally designated as something other than "Scotland" and "Ireland"?
I ask this because if the Scottish and Irish Associations allowed the teams to play under the titles 'Scotland' and 'Ireland', those International Federation of Football History Statistics people might decide that it was therefore a full international. They could defend this position by saying that the definition of a full international does not necessarily require the teams to be the best available selection because the line-ups in some international friendlies can be experimental affairs including half a dozen new players.

I see that the South African XI included only one player with a Dutch or German sounding name. I suppose the Afrikaaners preferred rugby!

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Post by Scottish » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:09 pm

Peter Heid wrote:You give a full and highly informative reply and what do you get for it? You get MORE questions, of course!! :)

When you say the Ibrox Disaster Fund Match, I take it you mean the one in Belfast in 1902?
Sorry, I should have been clearer. I meant the match in 1971 between "Scotland" and and "Old Firm" select containing guest players.

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Post by Peter Heid » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:56 pm

I had never heard about that one. I guess that would have been the last SFA XI match to date and probably the last-ever since any purpose once served by such an entity is long gone.

Oh...I suggested above that the IFFHS might in future officialise the Ibrox Disaster Fund of 1902 despite the unrepresentative selection?
I was wrong - I have checked their site and they have ALREADY done so!
As a consequence, Thomas McDermott of Celtic has now been recognised by FIFA as a full Scotland internationalist.

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What matches did the SFAX1 play

Post by kiwiscot » Sun May 04, 2008 5:13 am

Other games that could be included on the list is the series of games that were played between Scotland and the Scottish League in the late 50s early 60s . also Tottenham V Scotland 1964 John White Memorial Match. Leicester V Scotland 1965 or 6 Alex Dowdalls Testomonial who was trainer of both sides at the time. Rangers V Scotlands world cup squad in 1978 for John Grieg Testomonial. Highland League V Scottish FA X1 on the 19/4/78 at Kingsmill Park Inverness, whilst billed as an SFA X1 it was more of a League X1 as no anglos were in the team Celtic 4 players,Kilmarnock,St Mirren,Dundee Utd, and Aberdeen 2 each, Rangers, Motherwell and Hearts each supplied one each. Ally McLeod was in charge of the side.

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