It was a chance discovery when I was reading a report of Wales v Scotland on 23 March 1885, which we won 8-1. It mentioned the Scotland team's selection problems, including this sentence: 'It was anticipated that Keir of Dumbarton would make the special journey to Wales but he scratched.' This was Leitch Keir, who is credited in every reference book with playing in this match, the first of his five caps.
But he didn't play. In fact, the Scotland half-back was his team mate Hugh Wilson.
This is confirmed by the line-ups printed in all the next day's papers, as well as the following few years of Scottish FA Annuals. Yet somehow Keir has been credited with the cap and Wilson is forgotten, until now.
I am currently working on the details of his career, but it is clear he was an accomplished player. He started out with Mauchline, and is in the picture above with the team which won the Ayrshire Cup in 1878, its very first season. Wilson is on the far left of the front row. Another famous name in the team is Dr John Smith (middle of back row), who won 10 caps including six against England.
Wilson remained with Mauchline until 1884, winning numerous county honours for Ayrshire and also playing three times for Scotch Counties. Then he moved to Dumbarton, apparently after finding work in the town, and played for a couple of seasons. I can find no record of him after 1886, the year after he won his cap.
Who knows if there are more discoveries to be made of 'lost' internationalists. But in the meantime, the record books can be corrected and Hugh Wilson recognised for his Scotland appearance. Leitch Keir, on the other hand, can only be credited with four rather than five caps.
NB: He is not the same man as Hugh Wilson of Newmilns, Sunderland and Third Lanark, who was capped in the 1890s.