PO Box 306, Glasgow, G21 2AE, Scotland

encyclopaedia of scottish football
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An Encyclopaedia of Scottish Football Edited by David Potter and Phil Jones; Know The Score Books; 400 pages illustrated throughout; £24.00 hardback

David Potter has been responsible for some fine Celtic books reviewed in these pages over the last few years. Here, along with Phil Jones, he turns spreads the net further afield to produce a fine reference book on the never-ending soap opera that is Scottish Footbal.

The vast, all-encompassing research contained within this book delves into every crevice that football in this country reaches. Billed by the publishers as, “The first ever ‘Encyclopedia of Scottish Football’”, it is packed with in-depth information and contains entries on every Scottish team that has ever participated in the Scottish League, and also on all the great players, managers and personalities of the game, including Jock Stein, Kenny Dalglish, Shunsuke Nakamura, Jimmy McGrory... Everybody you’ve ever heard of, plenty more you’ve never heard and some you wish you’d never heard of (see Johnston, Maurice).

All of Scotland’s international games, Scottish Cup finals and Scottish League Cup finals are detailed, as are the winners of all the regional trophies, while also included are Scottish league tables, Scottish caps, derby matches, the amateur leagues and the record of Scottish clubs in Europe.

There are also entries on the origins of the game, goalscoring records, terrace chants and penalty shootouts, as well as the less pleasant aspects of the game. There was even an occasion when Scottish football was affected by an eclipse of the sun, and it didn’t involve Derek Johnstone’s arse, either.

Apparently this happened on January 24th 1925 during the Scottish Cup games played that afternoon. The Fife Free Press reported that the Raith Rovers match was so awful that most of the crowd spent the afternoon staring at the sky. Some things never change, do they? Third Lanark, ever anxious for good relations with the press, laid on candles in case reporters needed them. Such profligacy! no wonder they went bankrupt.

If you’ve ever spent a fractious evening with the family arguing interminably about how many times Buckie Thistle won the Highland League, how many caps Murdo MacLeod got for Scotland or which was the first Scottish club to be relegated as a result of a play-off then buy his tome and keep it handy next time the in-laws are coming round for tea. (By the way, the answers to the above questions are 8, 20 and Partick Thistle).

The photographs that have been sourced are excellent as well and it’s a thorough joy to browse through. buy it for yourself or for a friend who doesn’t know anything about the game - say a Motherwell supporter.

Another recommended stocking filler for Uncle Tim’s Christmas.