CELTIC legend Davie Hay has paid tribute to former Scotland manager Bobby Brown who has passed away at the age of 96.
It was the former Rangers goalkeeper, an Ibrox great, who gave the former Hoops star his international debut 50 years ago – and the one-time defender or midfielder never forgot the way the Scots boss treated him.
Hay, speaking in the Evening Times, said: “He was a gentleman of the highest order.
“I’ll always be eternally grateful to him. My first cap was against Northern Ireland in Belfast in 1970 and we won 1-0. George Best got sent off that game for throwing mud at the referee.
“I was at right-back, but while Best was listed as outside left, he played more centrally than right up against me – thankfully!
“Bobby was great with me when I came into the squad. I had broken through at Celtic at right-back.
“I remember in the Home Championship we played Wales on the Tuesday, then England a few days later and he pushed me into midfield. We drew 0-0 before they went off to the World Cup in Mexico.
“Bobby had me in there up against Nobby Stiles and the likes, it was great.
“I’ve got fond memories of him and you always remember people who have given you an opportunity like he did with me.”
The relationship between Hay and Brown may not have got off to the best of starts if it had not been for an intervention from the great Jock Stein.
GREAT SCOT…Davie Hay in Scotland shirt in the seventies.
Hay explained: “Celtic played Leeds United at Hampden on the Wednesday in the semi-final of the European Cup and after the game I think we had a couple of beers.
“I was lying in bed the next morning and Big Jock phoned me and told me I was supposed to be meeting up with Scotland at the North British Hotel on Queen’s Street. Nobody had told me. I knew I had been picked for the squad, but I hadn’t been given any information.
“Big Jock told me to pack a bag and he came and got me. We just made it in time for the meet-up at 11am for the flight to Belfast.
“Because we were at Hampden for the Leeds game, the letter must have been sent to Celtic Park, and nobody had said to me I was supposed to meet up at the hotel on the Thursday. There’s me lying in my scratcher and Big Jock having to run me into George Square.
“Bobby was none the wiser I don’t think, because I played on the Saturday!
“He was a gentleman, a total and utter gentleman, that’s the best way to describe him.”
Brown was also the manager when Scotland beat world champions England 3-2 at Wembley in April 1967 – a month before Celtic conquered Europe by beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.
Remarkably, it was the former St Johnstone manager’s first game in charge of his country against a team that had been unbeaten since winning the trophy the previous year with a 4-2 extra-time triumph over West Germany.
With Celtic quartet Ronnie Simpson, Tommy Gemmell, Willie Wallace and Bobby Lennox in the line-up, the visitors upset the odds with a well-earned triumph.
Denis Law, Lennox and debut bhoy Jim McCalliog scored the goals as the Scotland claimed to be the “unofficial kings of the world soccer”.