Lucky Jim Adds Five More Caps
More than 50 years on, the down-sides of travelling across the world in his chosen profession suddenly don’t seem as negative to Jim McCalliog.
The former Wolves midfielder was a reluctant flyer and famously asked Bill McGarry in 1972 if he could miss the tour of Australia and New Zealand – only for the manager to decline permission and then opt out of it himself.
But it was a similarly arduous trip that he made with Scotland five summers earlier that has paid an unexpected, belated dividend.
McCalliog thought he had ended his career with five senior caps but has now been awarded five more following the upgrading of some of the matches he played in from ‘unofficial’ status to ‘official’.
The 75-year-old featured in all nine games, two of them as a substitute, and scored twice against both New Zealand under-23s and a Vancouver XI.
But it’s the fixtures against Australia in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne that have had their status raised, plus one-offs against Israel in Tel Aviv and Canada in Winnipeg.
“I was obviously pleased to hear about the reclassifying of the games after all this time,” McCalliog said. “I doubt there will actually be any more caps handed out but it is there in the record books and that’s nice.
“I am particularly pleased for Sir Alex Ferguson because this now means he has some senior caps when he otherwise didn’t have any. He was a good player and was close to playing in our victory over England at Wembley in 1967, when I made my debut.”
Ferguson played against Israel and three times against Australian on the six-week, nine-match tour, which yielded a 100 per cent win record for the Scots. In the May and June of a year that saw him move from Dunfermline to Rangers, he also used what was essentially a trek around the world to score three goals.
McCalliog’s scoring was confined to games that remain as unofficial – he netted two against New Zealand under-23s in Wellington and two against a Vancouver XI on the way home.
He also played for Wolves in both New Zealand and Canada in 1972 and had previously toured Down Under with Chelsea and travelled to the Far East with Sheffield Wednesday.
“It was the fact I had already been on three of those long tours that prompted me to ask Bill McGarry whether I could stay at home in 1972,” he added. “I wasn’t the best of flyers and wasn’t happy getting on some of those planes.”