For over 50 years, Cox was credited with 24 Scotland caps, in the last of which he captained his country against England in 1954. However, he actually won one more than the record books said.
The discrepancy only came to light when I was working at the Scottish FA and was contacted by a friend of a former Hearts player, Charlie Cox. He told me that Charlie was exasperated at being described as a 'former international' when he had never, in fact, played for Scotland. He was listed in the SFA's own records, and all the reference books, as playing against France in May 1948.
I decided to investigate and found that in those days, Scottish papers didn't send any reporters abroad and relied on local agencies. So when the team for the friendly in Paris came through on the wires with the unexpected (and uncapped) name 'Cox' it was mistakenly attributed to Charlie Cox of Hearts. And there the matter rested, unchallenged and uncorrected.
So in the summer of 2003 I called Sammy Cox at his home in Toronto and he told me the true story. He was a travelling reserve with the Scotland team but was not selected to play, so he had lunch and was waiting in the stand at the Stade de Colombes in Paris while the other players warmed up. Then the right-half, Billy Campbell of Morton, came back in with one of his boots coming apart. With no replacement boots to hand, Campbell could not play, prompting a bit of an emergency.
Sammy recalled: 'George Graham, secretary of the SFA, turned to me and just said 'Sam, you're playing'. I got changed, but my biggest worry was that I had just eaten a large meal and I spent the first half trying not to be sick!'
Scotland lost the match 3-0 to three second-half goals, and you can see footage on the British Pathe film archive.
The confusion did not end there, however. Billy Campbell was listed in the SFA's own records as having played, while Eddie Turnbull, who not only played but had Scotland's best goal attempt with a shot that hit the bar, was not credited with an appearance.
The errors were rectified on the SFA's online database over ten years ago but many of today's tributes to Sammy Cox still claim he only had 24 caps. It's time to set the record straight.