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

"Known to the lads as Bald Eagle, Jimmy always looked older than he was. He had this ritual of coming in for a rub-down every day, whether he was injured or not. Shanks, of course, would always be keeping any eye on Jimmy to see if he was actually carrying an injury. I was on the groundstaff at the time and in on the Sunday, as usual, to help brush the dressing-rooms and terraces as well as generally tidying things up at Anfield with the other younger lads. This day, Shanks came out, wearing a beaming smile. 'Boys, put your brushes down and come in here. I want you to see the latest in football technology. The next thing, Jimmy is sitting on a table alongside this machine and Bob is fitting the electrodes to his legs. The logic was simple. The machine sent out an electric impulse. This worked the muscle which in turn helped the flow of blood. Jimmy turned it on to number one. No effect. He turned the dial two more notches. Nothing. He got to five and was still telling the boss that he couldn't feel anything. 'Bob', said Shanks, beginning to get annoyed, 'perhaps these bloody Germans aren't as inventive as I thought. Either that or Jimmy is immune to pain.' Melia pressed on... six, seven, eight. 'Still nothing, boss.' Suddenly the dial was all the way to ten and Jimmy was just sitting there, shaking his head, 'No, nothing.' Shanks was furious, 'German crap', he was screaming. 'They haven't got a clue. You can send this back to Munich and tell them they can stick it up their backsides. Two thousand pounds? Get your sponge out, Bob. You might need it.'

We began to back towards the door, when Shanks suddenly said, 'Christ, Bob, you haven't even turned it on!' He flicked the switch and poor Jimmy, still on a maximum setting of ten, nearly hit the ceiling. Sparks were coming out of his ears. His hair would have stood on end if he'd had any. We all ran out, exploding with laughter. As we headed down the corridor, Shanks was right behind us and shouting, 'That'll teach the Bald Eagle to come in for a treatment on a Sunday.'"

TOMMY SMITH - Liverpool 1962-1978 (on the unfortunate guinea pig, Jimmy Melia)

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