Scotland

Scottish legend Alex James singled out Shankly for praise for his contribution
to the Scotland team: "He is a real Scotland player who will fight until he drops."

Preston North End's correspondent, Walter Pilkington, wrote at the end of Shankly's debut season in 1934: "I was returning by train from a match at Plymouth in a 'sleeper', with Bill Shankly and Jimmy Dougal as bunk companions. I asked Bill what he wanted most: 'To play for Scotland, sir' he replied without a moment's hesitation."

Shankly was first selected to play for his country on 9th April 1938 against the auld enemy England at Wembley. Scots won the match 1-0 with a late goal from Tommy Walker.

He won 4 further caps before war broke out, playing against Northern-Ireland, Wales, Hungary, and England once more.

"It's fantastic. You look af your dark blue shirt, the wee lion looks up at you and says 'Get out after those English bastards!'"

During the war, Shankly played a further 7 times for Scotland, captaining them against England in a 3-1 defeat at Hampden on 3rd of May 1941 in front of 78,000 fans.

Shankly featured in the game Billy Liddell made his debut for Scotland in a dramatic 5-4 win at Hampden Park on 18th April 1942. Shankly played a big part and scored a memorable goal, which turned out to be his only goal for Scotland: "Jack Harkness gives Billy Liddell and Jock Dodds a big hand for their part in Scotland's shock win. But the inspiration, he says, came from the Busby - Shankly victory service... And amongst all these great goals we had probably the strangest national goal ever. Here's a goalkeeper, the hero of his side, losing a goal from 50 yards range. Willie Shankly was the devil in the piece. He placed a beautiful shot goalwards. Out came Marks to collect. Suddenly he stopped. In a twinkling he had the old saying brought home to him - "He who hesitates is lost." The ball bounced on the ground, sailed over his head, and into the empty goal." (Reported by Jack Harkness at Hampden Park).

International record

Nr. Date Opponent Result Goal
1 09.04.1938 England 1-0  
2 08.10.1938 Northern-Ireland 2-0  
3 09.11.1938 Wales 3-2  
4 07.12.1938 Hungary 3-1  
5 15.04.1939 England 1-2  
6* 11.05.1940 England 1-1  
7* 03.05.1941 England 1-3  
8* 04.10.1941 England 0-2  
9* 17.01.1942 England 0-3  
10* 18.04.1942 England 5-4 1
11* 10.10.1942 England 0-0  
12* 17.04.1943 England 0-4  
Captain of the Scotland team

 

*Shankly's international record for Scotland reads 5 games and no goal. His 7 wartime games and 1 wartime goal are not counted towards his total.

Shanks quote

"Tommy Lawrence was frightened to death of Shanks. He was just a young boy. He had been there since he was 16-year-old. He got his chance in ’61. I’ll always remember we were playing Arsenal for the first time in 8 years because Liverpool had been in the 2nd division. We were winning 1-0 with 10 minutes to go and I thought, 'what a good win this will be at Arsenal.' I can’t remember the Arsenal’s striker name that hit the ball from 25 yards. I am not joking, but he stubbed his toe first and then hit the ball. It trickled by me and I went 'it’s yours, Tommy.' Tommy was on the line and opened his legs and the bloody ball went right through him. I couldn’t believe it. They put the pressure on us for the last five minutes, but we held out.

I am thinking to myself all this time, 'when we get into that dressing room I am going to get into the bath before Shanks come in the door.' Little did I know that the ten players I was playing with thought the same thing. When the final whistle went... if we had sprinted that much during the game we would have won it easily. Everybody was trying to hurry into the dressing room but it wasn’t quick enough. The door opened and in came Shanks. His face was blue and I am thinking, 'here it goes.' He went, 'where is he?' I didn’t realise, but big Tommy Lawrence was behind me. I was three inches bigger than him and didn’t know where he was. His finger went up and he said, 'I am here, boss.' 'Where?' 'I am here, boss.' He said, 'before you say anything, boss, I want to apologize to you and the lads. I should have never opened my legs to that ball.' Shankly went, 'it’s not your fault. It’s your fucking mother who should have never opened her legs.'"

RON YEATS

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