The Turnbull connection | An ancestry of passing acquaintance

These local developments have broader implications, according to longtime observers of the Scottish professional game. Craig Brown, former Scotland manager, compares Scotland to Norway, which with slightly less population has proven more successful at placing players in top leagues such as the English Premiership. “I understood a major reason why this was happening when I visited Norway and saw the fantastic indoor facilities there,” says Brown. “Almost every village has an artificial indoor facility. There were 12 full-size indoor pitches. Norway also have a permanent training camp in La Manga that they can use during the winter. We haven’t had that foresight” (note 4).

The “extreme north,” including Scotland and Scandinavia, “fights the almost Arctic elements to provide some welcome to civilization,” writes Will Durant. But Scotland, at least, appears to have been slower than others at welcoming artificial surfaces and indoor “mini-pitches” advocated by UEFA. Momentum has been gathering for plastic turf even in Hampden Park, the national stadium, and Dunfermline Athletic of the SPL agreed to have XL Turf installed with UEFA seed money. Alas, the SPL board objected to the surface and has forced Dunfermline to remove the recently laid plastic and to lay real grass at an estimated cost of £600,000. “This makes you think that, if Henry Ford had been born in Scotland, we’d still be riding around on horses,” said Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston (note 5).

Before a semifinal with Italy, the eventual champion, target=Homeless World Cup recently concluded in Edinburgh in a specially constructed facility in Princes Street Gardens. Scotland truly came to the rescue of the three-year-old event, with organizers having to scramble late last year after abandoning New York as a first-choice venue due to concerns over visa restrictions. The Scotland team emerged for its matches to the thumps of The Proclaimers’ “500 Miles” and finished fourth. Earlier in July, the Shetland Islands hosted the NatWest Island Games, including women’s and men’s football competitions. The bonds of clubs and history remain strong. Rich anecdotal detail is readily available surrounding the first entry of a British team, Hibernian of Edinburgh, into the European Cup competition in 1955. Before a second-leg home fixture against German champions Rot-Weiss Essen, late replacement Jock Buchanan “was at his mum’s house eating two helpings of mince and tatties when he was told he was needed at Easter Road.” This tidbit comes from Lawrie Reilly, one of the Famous Five Hibernian forward line that also included Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Willie Ormond and Eddie Turnbull. Now 82, Turnbull was the first British player to score in the European Cup. He recalls the presence of soldiers from the British Army of the Rhine in the first leg at Georg Melches Stadium on 14 Sept 1955, as well as devastation that remained in Essen from Royal Air Force bombing runs during the Second World War. “[W]e had the biggest support because a lot of British troops were still in Germany,” says Reilly. “Most of the terracing fans were in uniform, that’s the one thing that stands out even now, that we got good support from the Tommies” (note 6). At a friendly match to commemorate the 50th anniversary—held in Georg Melches Stadium on 23 July—Hibs reprised its earlier victory, 3–0. They helped make Turnbulls everywhere again feel part of football.


The 'Famous Five' of Hibernian FC. The “Famous Five”

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