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  • The Scottish Football Book - part 1

    The Scottish Football book was an annual treat for the Scottish football fan and ran for 27 consecutive years, the first being published in 1955, the last in 1981. The outer format of these books started out as plain linen-covered boards with a full-colour photographic dust jacket through to laminated photographic boards with no dust wrapper and ended up presented in paperback format. Several covers feature a photo from the previous years' International match between Scotland and England and that fixture was played every year alternating between Hampden and Wembley.

    Dust jacket issues were 1-12, laminated boards between 13 and 22 then paperback from 23 to 27. The books were edited by Hugh Taylor and published by Stanley Paul. The first issue sold for 10/6. That's ten shillings and sixpence which converts to 52 and a half new pence post-decimalisation. The latest issue that I own (#26, 1980) is priced at 2.95.

    As for content, it sometimes, unfortunately, resembled an Old Firm annual but there are some cracking articles on other clubs and players as well as some great action and portrait photos right across the board from the teams of the day.

    Hibernian is fairly well covered over the years and of course the eyes light up when I discover each photo of past stars who wore the famous green and white. My earliest copy (#4, 1958) heavily features Hibs but, sadly, it's mainly pertaining to the Scottish Cup final when we lost 0-1 to Clyde - with a deflected goal! Result apart, the feature on the final is excellent and there are a few fine action shots one of which shows Joe Baker pushing the ball into the Clyde net with his hands in a volleyball-style move which shows his commitment when he couldn't reach the cross with his head. As he says himself it was just an automatic reaction. There's also a goalmouth action shot of Hibs v Hearts.

    'Goalkeeper McCulloch saves well in a Hibernian raid' in the 1958 cup final v Clyde

    Year 6 includes a feature 'By' the great Gordon Smith after he'd gone to Hearts. The text is accompanied by a photo of him firing a shot at Hibs' goal at Tynecastle.

    Number 9 contains a fine Hibernian FC squad photo with the majority of players wearing the traditional jerseys whilst others wear an all-white outfit with (I assume, as it's a B&W pic) green v-necks, cuffs on shorts sleeves and two bands on the sock turnovers. A very smart change kit. Players include Gerry Baker, Bobby Duncan, Ronnie Simpson, a 'Dan' O'Rourke (which is actually a young Jimmy), Eric Stevenson and Ally McLeod.

    Hibernian squad 1962-63

    The same edition also features another interview with Gordon Smith. This time, he's moved on to Dundee and a photo shows him scoring their winning goal against Anderlecht in the quarter-finals of the European Cup.

    A few snippets from his interview follows...
    "To succeed you must live for football. I really do. It is an obsession with me and I play football for the real joy of the game itself."

    "On odd occasions when there is something special to celebrate I will take a drink but I don't believe in drinking. Always I ask myself: Will it do my football any harm. If I think that it will, then it's out."

    'Gordon trains every day - once a week, on Thursdays, with Dundee players at Dens Park; every other day by himself - always outside and usually on the beach at North Berwick.'

    Something to be learned there, surely, by the players of today. A non-smoker, the man was aged 38 at this point and still playing at the top level. Remarkable for anyone, let alone a flying winger and attacker. This was 1963 and he'd signed for Hibs in 1941, Hearts in '59 and Dundee in 1961, moving on three years later.

    Gordon Smith

    I hope this article has inspired those of you who own them to dig out their old copies of the book for some nostalgic reading matter and bring fond memories for others.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. ginger_rice's Avatar
      ginger_rice -
      Great books loved them as a kid wish I had looked after them too.
    1. hibee81's Avatar
      hibee81 -
      i have a fair few of these books, and many others that were given to me as a kid by someone who collected them, very first 1955 edition aswell.
    1. madabouthibs's Avatar
      madabouthibs -
      I also have the hardback 1958 annual, it doesn't have the dust cover though, only the green hard cover.
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