In Celebration Of Jimmy Mac
National Boss’s Rich Praise For Molineux Favourite
Jim McCalliog has been lauded in print – by one of the high-profile football figures who would love to have had him in his team.
Craig Brown kicked off his stint in senior international management more than two decades after the popular forward won the last of his five Scotland caps.
And he has now sung his praises in retrospect in the newly-published issue 58 of the Backpass nostalgia magazine.
Brown is a long-serving columnist in the highly popular publication and caught up with a man whose famous goal at Wembley in 1967 had the Tartan Army hailing their heroes as the new world champions. McCalliog, who was then a 20-year-old Sheffield Wednesday player, hit the Scots’ late third goal in their 3-2 victory over England.
It continued his knack of scoring on the big occasion……he had been among the marksmen in the previous year’s Wednesday-Everton FA Cup final, the semi-final against Chelsea before that and on his debuts for no fewer than four representative sides; Glasgow schoolboys, Scotland schoolboys, Scotland youths and the country’s under-23s.
He later netted for Wolves when captaining them in a UEFA Cup final and made the only goal in the Wembley showpiece between Southampton and Manchester United in the 1975-76 FA Cup.
‘Fantastic exploits’ is the phrase Brown has now used to describe the career highlights of a man who also scored for Wolves in a mightily important quarter-final draw away to Juventus in by far the most successful of all their European campaigns.
The writer refers to how McCalliog lined up alongside Billy Bremner and Jim Baxter in an awesome Scottish midfield on the day they beat the Jules Rimet Trophy heroes to record arguably the country’s most famous victory of all time.
“The 94-year-old Bobby Brown explains to this day that although McCalliog was predominantly a striker, he played him as the central player of his middle three,” Brown says. “That, admitted the manager, was the key to the success Scotland enjoyed on the day against Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winners.”
Jim was born and bred in the Gorbals and was quoted in a football annual of the time as saying: “To play for Scotland is every Scot’s ambition. To play against England – and to score – is the final accolade.
“In my case, there was even more. The first person to telephone me to offer congratulations was my former Chelsea boss, Tommy Docherty. I think I was justified in thinking I had at last proved myself.
“I had played for my country as a schoolboy at Holyrood Senior Secondary – against Ireland and England – and scored in my first game at Belfast. After leaving school, I gained six caps for Scotland youths and two for Scotland under-23s. But always my wagon was hitched to that full cap and now it is mine. No-one can take this away from me.”
Brown also tells us that McCalliog was so coveted as a Clyde-supporting boy growing up in Glasgow that more than 20 clubs went to his family’s door, including Matt Busby’s brother on behalf of Manchester United.
In the end, another highly significant visitor, Don Revie, won the race to secure his signature but McCalliog made little impact at Elland Road. In 1963, he nevertheless prompted Tommy Docherty to take him to Chelsea before, at a fee of £37,500, becoming the most expensive teenager in English football when he joined Sheffield Wednesday.