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

"Stop Billy Liddell! Those will be Everton manager Cliff Britton's final words to his players when they leave their dressing-room to tackle Liverpool in the Second Cup semi-final at Maine Road, Manchester on Saturday.

Stop Billy Liddell and the Liverpool forward line loses its rhythm. He is the man with a kick like a horse and a goaldash like a rocket. Given half a chance and the narrowest gap he can cut through at breakneck speed and find the net before the defence has time to close in."

Everton couldn't stop Billy Liddell who scored Liverpool's second goal in their 2-0 win in the FA Cup semi-final in 1950

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