Liddell's Scotland debut

April 1942

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.

Hail Caledonia! Once again, a Scottish eleven, with a "doubtful" label on it, has risen magnificently to the occasion and sent the Highland blood surging through Scottish veins! War or no war, this was Hampden! And these white shirts were England. "Welcome to your gory bed - or to victory!" That's how this gallant Scots eleven took the field - and if ever victory was merited this one certainly was.

And wherein did these Scots so excel themselves? Well, right off I say Busby and Shankly. These two more than anyone else turned this ordeal into an ideal. Those devastating side-of-the-foot passes to the man up in front. Each one shrewder than the last.

It was all Scotland for a time, and it looked as if a goal had to come. It did. But at the wrong end. Some teams might have reacted to this shock. Maybe have said: "Ach, they're too good for us" and stopped trying. But not this side.

MAESTRO LIDDELL

Liddell, for instance. Carol Lewis has nothing on the S.F.A. when it comes to discoveries. Ten minutes was sufficient for this boy to play himself into these criticial, hard-beating Hampden hearts. He took the equalizer with a lovely timed header. But it was the way he had in the second goal which put him in the Maestro class.

Liddell did the spadework and Dodds did the finishing for what must be one of the greatest goals Hampden has ever seen. The outstripping of the defence, the quick pass with the "wrong" foot, and then Dodds' glorious first-timer. What a goal!

England had reduced Scots' lead to 4-3 when Shankly struck for Scotland in the 71st minute: "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."

Liddell's last international was played on 8th of October 1955. His international record for Scotland reads 28 games and 6 goals. His 9 wartime games and 5 wartime goals are not counted towards his total.

(Click on the match report for a bigger image)

King Billy quote

"It was reported somebody had stolen my photograph from a public house. A few days later I received the following letter:

Dear Billy,
I am writing to say that I am very sorry for taking your photograph from that public-house, about which you may have read, but I hope it has not displeased you. I want to assure you that it was not hooliganism, like there was after the game at Blackburn. I did it only because I am one of your greatest fans, and liked the photo so much I could not resist taking it, but now I am very sorry."

Unfortunately the writer, presumably regarding discretion as the better part of confession, did not give his name and address, otherwise I would have sent him an autographed picture and got the original one back to return to the owner."

Billy Liddell's popularity with the Liverpool fans was immense

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