TOMMY GEMMELL revealed his club and country memories to friend and author Alex Gordon in his best-selling autobiography, ‘All The Best,’ published by CQN in 2014.

In the Part Six of our EXCLUSIVE series, we highlight the bungling that went on at the SFA in the mid-sixties that took incompetence to a whole new level.

The Hoops legend, who sadly passed away at the age of 73 on March 2 2017, told some interesting tales about the international set-up just as he was emerging as a first pick for Celtic and Scotland.

Here is an edited extract from that chapter.

Please enjoy.

RATHER amazingly, Bobby Brown, who made his debut in the 3-2 Wembley win over England in April 1967, was the first full-time Scotland international manager.

It took the SFA an awful long time to catch up with the Twentieth Century.

Before Bobby, the team bosses were given a list of players whose names had been put in front of them by the SFA selectors. How antiquated was that?

I’m sure there must have been individuals on the selection committee who took their business very seriously, but it must have been seen as a wee jolly for some others. An all-expenses trip to London or Manchester, take in a game and chuck in a player’s name for consideration.

PROUD SCOT…Tommy Gemmell walks onto Wembley in April 1967 before the memorable 3-2 win over the-then world champions England.

Here’s another story you’ll find hard to swallow. One of these old duffers went to Highbury to watch Arsenal. This guy’s knowledge of football must have been next to zilch. He duly returned to Glasgow with a name for the perusal of the international manager.

He had taken quite a shine to the Arsenal left-back he was convinced could do a great job for Scotland. At one of their many meetings, this guy pushed the merits of the Gunners defender.

He had a good Scottish name, but Bob McNab was already the ENGLAND left-back at the time. So, there was a bloke with his finger on the pulse. Tells you all you need to know about the set-up back then.

Years after I had quit playing, I was having lunch with a Stirling Albion director by the name of Archie Gourlay. He, too, had been on the SFA selection committee and he was quite candid about his role back then.

He told me, ‘If a club wanted one of their players to get international recognition they really looked after you.

‘They would go over the top in their hospitality. I would go down to the big clubs at the time, Manchester United, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Newcastle and the like. They would really take care of you. They would lay out these impressive spreads and would make sure you were comfortable before, during and after the game.

‘That would absolutely guarantee one of their players being recommended. If they didn’t take care of you, then that was bad luck for one of their players. That was the system in those days.’

WEMBLEY WONDERS…Tommy Gemmell (second right) celebrates with his Scotland team-mates during the 3-2 victory in 1967.

I also had to laugh when I heard the story of one player having a word with Big Jock Stein when he started his second stint as Scotland manager – remember, he had been caretaker in 1965 – after taking over from Ally MacLeod following the shambles of the 1978 World Cup Finals in Argentina.

I’ll do the player a favour and not reveal his identity, but, trust me, this is a true tale. Back then, the British Home International Championship used to be played over the period of eight days at the end of the season.

Scotland, say, could start with a game against Northern Ireland in Belfast on Saturday, play Wales in Glasgow in midweek and then there was the Big One, the encounter with our old foes England at either Hampden or Wembley on the following Saturday. Obviously, that was the match every Scot wanted to get involved in; there were no sicknotes flying around before this confrontation.

Anyway, this player, who was a defender with one of the top English sides, went to Jock to inform him he wasn’t interested in playing against the Welsh or the Irish, but he would be perfectly willing to turn out against England.

It was clear this guy did not know Jock Stein. My old gaffer didn’t swear a lot, but I could imagine this bloke copping an earful. Needless to say, his name was absent whenever Scotland played England and Big Jock was in charge.

The guy never got a sniff.

* TOMORROW: Don’t miss Part Seven of the EXCLUSIVE international revelations from the legendary Celt.

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