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."

Captain of the Scotland team

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  

 

*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

"But the second leg of the semi-final was not a game, it was a war. We stayed at Lake Como, and we had trouble with the church bells. It wasn't so bad until about eleven o'clock at night, when the noise of the day had ceased and there was nothing to hear but the bells. One in particular was like doomsday. Bob Paisley and I went to see the Monsignor about it. We tried to get him to stop the bells ringing for the night so the players could sleep. 'It's not very fair', I said to him through an interpreter. 'We didn't know about this noise and we've come here on the eve of the most important match in the world this year, Inter Milan versus Liverpool.' That was right, because if we had won it, we would have won the European Cup. He was sympathetic towards us, but he said he could not do what we asked. So I said, 'Well, could you let Bob here go up and put a bandage on them and maybe kind of dull them a bit?' Crepe bandages and cotton wool! Bob was killing himself laughing. That would have been one of the funniest things Bob had ever done, one of his greatest cures as a trainer, creeping up the aisle with cotton-wool and bandages! But, we just had to put up with the noise."

Bill Shankly talking about when Liverpool were in Milan waiting to face Inter in the second leg of the European Cup semi-final in 1965

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