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

"In 1967, we arrived at Anfield to play Liverpool and as I glanced out of the window of the coach I saw Bill Shankly standing at the main entrance. I was the first player to alight from the coach and when I reached the entrance Bill shook my hand warmly. 'Good to see you again, George,' he said. 'You're looking well, son.' This was unusual for him, and knowing Shanks to be a wily old fox, I decided to hang around to try to find out what he was up to. As each of the United players entered Anfield, Shanks shook his hand, welcomed him and told him how good he looked. Eventually, Bobby Charlton, a born worrier, came up to Shanks. 'Bobby, son. Good to see you,' Shanks said, shaking his hand. 'But by God, if ever there was a man who looked ill, it's you, Bobby!' Bobby's face went as colourless as an icicle. 'Ill? I look ill?' he repeated, running the fingers of his right hand over his forehead and down his right cheek. He was visibly shaken. 'Aye, Bobby, son. You look like you're sickening for something. If I were you I'd see a doctor as soon as you set foot back in Manchester.' Shanks patted Bobby on the back and took off down the corridor, leaving him trembling in the foyer.

In the dressing room, Bobby was conspicuous by his absence and, ominously, there was a delay in announcing the team. We sat around kicking our heels, no one daring to get changed in case Matt Busby had a tactical plan which meant leaving one of us out. The thought of getting changed only to be told to put your clothes back on because you're not in the team is a player's nightmare. Eventually Matt Busby entered the dressing room with Jimmy Murphy and told us they had reshuffled the team which had beaten West Ham the previous week. Bobby Charlton was unavailable. He'd suddenly been taken ill."

GEORGE BEST

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