Lisbon Lions 113 Scotland caps, three Rangers players from era, 116 caps

A red-top article earlier this week told us that a St Mirren side which suffered relegation in 2015 now has collectively more caps than the immortal Lisbon lions, and incidentally happy birthday to Willie Wallace!

That’s quite a stat and I have no idea how accurate it is (it’s accurate), but it’s one that I’m inclined to believe, sadly, and it tells you more of how those in charge were of a particular ‘mind’ back then.

I know there are more internationals getting played in the modern game and the calibre of player is not the same quality as there was back in the 1960s and 70s, but for Scotland’s greatest club side to have earned such few caps between them is a disgrace.

Players such as John McGinn and Kenny McLean are decent players, but don’t have an ounce of the talent that the Lisbon lions were blessed with, not even in the same league.

It’s not just the mentioned players who have added more caps to their collection than the likes of Jimmy Johnstone and Bertie Auld, there is a whole host of players who have earned more international caps for Scotland that are not worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Scotland’s greatest club side.

Back then it is suggested that players were picked or denied the chance of being selected for their country due to their club alliances, and stats such as this back it up.

Unfortunately we still have the same ignorance in our game, even at a high level, but it’s not as widespread and players are now picked on merit rather not their ‘alliances’

Unfortunately it’s a case what could have been for Scotland and the Lisbon lions. It’s nothing short of a disgrace the way they were treated by the Scottish FA back then.


The 11 Lisbon Lions accumulated a grand total of only 113 Scotland caps, while three Rangers players from a similar era – John Greig, Jim Baxter and Sandy Jardine – had 116 between them.

JustAnOrdinaryBhoy – follow on Twitter @ordinarybhoy


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An ordinary everyday Celtic supporters hailing and still residing in Govan in the shadows of the enemy. I’m a season ticket holder. I Witnessed my first Celtic game in 1988 and have attended when I can ever since. Growing up in the 90s I witnessed Celtic at their lowest, and now appreciate the historic success we enjoy today. I enjoy writing about this wonderful football club and hopefully will continue to do so. I’ve always been a keen writer and initially started this a hobby. My ambition is to one day become as good an author as my fellow Celtic Star colleagues.


  1. Jim O'Rourke on

    I was around 14 0r 15 i went to hampden for a Scotland v Holland friendly with my mates of both persuasions and was shocked at the anti Celtic feeling in the stadium. It was my one and only experience at a Scotland game. Ive been to a few Ireland games over the years and felt so much more comfortable.

  2. Rob O’Keeffe on

    The Scotland situation has been a disgrace from the 60s on.Celtic players,if actually picked,were booed by the majority of their own crowd,which,for many years were made up of those who liked a March in July.Many Celtic fans wouldn’t ever go to a Scotland game,this feeling has passed through the generations.Look at the Scotland team playing against Georgia? With modern training techniques and sports science advances,the Lions would beat Scotland every day and twice on a Sunday.

  3. RPM Celticfan on

    IMO if Callum was the captain of Sevco he would also more than likely captain the national team , so the bias is still there , Hail hail

    • Jim O'Rourke on

      You’re probably the most knowledgeable historian on the star so would you be able to answer this ( it was slightly before my time) wasn’t Kenny dalglish whilst still a Celtic player in line to break record for most consecutive caps but was surprisingly not picked for a game, i think the record was held by a rangers player from the 50s?

      • David Potter on

        Yes, I think that is correct. although I think he was playing for Liverpool by that time. I am on holiday at the moment, but will check my records when I get back. The record was previously held by George Young of Rangers. DP

  4. David Potter on

    Several points here. While I agree with the general argument, there are extenuating circumstances.Jimmy Johnstone, for example, it has to be admitted made himself unavailable on many occasions because of his phobia of flying, Ron McKinnon was not as good as McNeill but was not vastly inferior but I struggle to find a reason why Bobby Murdoch was not played oftener, other than that he had a real shocker in the 3-4 defeat in 1966 where by his own admission he wasn’t 100% well.
    In any case, things have changed radically. Rangers are now no longer in any sense a “Scottish team” and most Scotland supporters now are totally opposed to the Royal Family which Rangers espouse. God Save The King/Queen will be roundly booed by the Tartan Army.
    On the subject of national anthems, why does Kieran Tierney not sing “Flower of Scotland”? It is by no means my favourite song, but it is as full blooded a rebel song as any we are likely to hear at Celtic Park.

  5. Rabbie Burns on

    Definitely the Lions were under-used, .. but, Rangers (as they were known at the time) did get to the European Cup Winners Cup final in 1967 .. & were beaten by Bayern Munich (Maier, Beckenbauer, Muller etc) 1-0 in extra time. So, whilst shocking that the likes of Jinky were over-looked for Willy Henderson etc it was not as bad as we would think. But, because of the crowd booing etc Jinky never played as well for Scotland as he did for Celtic, sadly. He said so himself, as he didn’t/ couldn’t play with usual freedom cos of the Rangers fans abuse. But, SFA when they picked the team (& not the manager) have/had a LONG history of over-looking Celtic players .. & even the Anglo-Scots that had the temerity to play down South. Small minded men in blazers at the SFA .. nae real surprise there, eh?