Some of Scotland's penalties have changed the course of our football history. The recent successful penalty shoot-outs in the Nations League took us to the Euro finals. Five out of five, in two consecutive matches!
But penalties can also turn heros into zeros. Don Masson's spot kick against Wales in 1977 secured qualification for the World Cup in Argentina, but who could forget his miss against Peru in the 1978 finals? And will Gary McAllister always be remembered for his kick being saved at Wembley in the 1996 Euros?
It is such a key part of football, that I decided to compile a complete list of every penalty awarded in Scotland men's international team matches. (See below or click on scotland_penalty_kicks.pdf).
The penalty kick has a long and turbulent history. It was added to the Laws of the Game in June 1891 and the very first penalty goal was scored by James McLuggage at Mavisbank Park in Airdrie. It soon became established as part of the game and the first international penalty, taken by Ireland's Sam Torrans against England in 1892, was saved. The first penalty to be scored in an international came in 1896 from another Irishman, Bob Milne, who helped his side to a 3-3 draw against Scotland.
Responsibility for taking penalties usually fell to the team captain, so when Scotland was awarded a penalty after ten minutes of the match against Wales in 1897, it was John Ritchie of Queen's Park, captaining the side on his debut, who took the kick to open the scoring. He gained scant recognition for the feat, however, as he was never selected for Scotland again.
Scotland's next kick resulted in the first miss, although it could easily have been forgotten about, as Jacky Robertson's failed attempt against Ireland in 1901 would have had little impact on the record 11-0 scoreline.
Our best individual record in penalties belongs to John Robertson, who hit the net with all five of his kicks, including a memorable winner against England at Wembley in 1981. The only other man to take five was Gary McAllister, but sadly he missed two of them. Eric Caldow and Archie Gemmill both had a perfect record with their four kicks.
On six occasions, Scotland have been awarded two penalties in the same match: Ireland 1905, East Germany 1974, Israel 1981, Faroe Islands 2006, Gibraltar 2015. Twice that did not result in two goals: in 1974 Sandy Jardine's early effort was saved then Tommy Hutchison took the second award; in 1990 Ally McCoist missed before John Robertson scored the second.
As for penalties awarded against Scotland, curiously the numbers are smaller. There have been over 60 in total and most of them have resulted in a goal, although great goalscorers such as Luis Figo and Bobby Charlton have missed. When Charlton shot wide in 1960 it was actually his third penalty of the match: he scored the first, his second attempt was saved but the referee ordered a retake, and his third flew past the post.
91 penalty kicks awarded:
67 scored (4 on the rebound)
24 missed (14 saved, 4 hit woodwork, 6 wide)
1897 Wales: John Ritchie
1901 Ireland: Jacky Robertson (wide)
1905 Ireland: Charlie Thomson (2)
1907 Ireland: Charlie Thomson
1909 England: Jimmy Stark (saved)
1921 Ireland: Andy Wilson (saved but scored the rebound)
1927 Wales: Jock Hutton
1929 Netherlands: Bobby Rankin
1931 N Ireland: David Meiklejohn (wide)
1933 N Ireland: Peter McGonagle (saved)
1936 England: Tommy Walker
1938 Hungary: Tommy Walker
1946 Belgium: Jimmy Delaney
1946 Wales: Willie Waddell
1949 France: George Young (saved)
1949 N Ireland: Willie Waddell
1955 Hungary: Billy Liddell (wide)
1957 Spain: John Hewie
1958 France: John Hewie (hit post)
1958 Wales: Dave Mackay (saved)
1959 N Ireland: John Hewie
1960 Turkey: Eric Caldow
1960 N Ireland: Eric Caldow
1962 England: Eric Caldow
1962 Wales: Eric Caldow
1963 England: Jim Baxter
1965 Finland: Denis Law (hit post)
1969 Cyprus: Tommy Gemmell
1972 Yugoslavia: Willie Morgan (saved)
1972 Denmark: Willie Morgan (over the bar)
1973 West Germany: Billy Bremner (saved)
1974 Wales: Sandy Jardine
1974 East Germany: Sandy Jardine (saved)
1974 East Germany: Tommy Hutchison
1974 Spain: Tommy Hutchison (saved)
1975 England: Bruce Rioch
1976 N Ireland: Bruce Rioch (hit post)
1976 Finland: Don Masson
1977 Argentina: Don Masson
1977 Wales: Don Masson
1978 Bulgaria: Archie Gemmill
1978 Peru: Don Masson (saved)
1978 Netherlands: Archie Gemmill
1978 Norway: Archie Gemmill
1979 Peru: John Wark (saved)
1980 Portugal: Archie Gemmill
1981 Israel: John Robertson (2)
1981 England: John Robertson
1981 Sweden: John Robertson
1982 Netherlands: Frank Gray
1982 Belgium: Frank Gray (saved)
1983 Canada: Gordon Strachan
1983 Uruguay: John Robertson
1984 Wales: Davie Cooper
1985 Wales: Davie Cooper
1986 England: Graeme Souness
1986 Luxembourg: Davie Cooper
1990 Sweden: Mo Johnston
1990 Switzerland: Ally McCoist (wide)
1990 Switzerland: John G Robertson
1991 San Marino: Gordon Strachan
1992 Canada: Gary McAllister
1992 CIS: Gary McAllister
1993 Estonia: Pat Nevin
1993 Malta: Gary McAllister (hit bar)
1996 England: Gary McAllister (saved)
1997 Belarus: Gary McAllister
1998 Brazil: John Collins
1999 Lithuania: Mark Burchill (hit post but Don Hutchison scored rebound)
1999 Bosnia: John Collins
2001 Belgium: Billy Dodds
2001 Poland: Scott Booth
2004 Sweden: James McFadden
2006 Faroe Islands: Kris Boyd
2006 Faroe Islands: Kenny Miller
2008 Iceland: James McFadden (saved, but he scored the rebound)
2011 Lithuania: Darren Fletcher (saved)
2011 Spain: David Goodwillie
2013 Croatia: Barry Bannan (saved, but Stevie Naismith scored rebound)
2015 Gibraltar: Shaun Maloney (2)
2016 Malta: Robert Snodgrass
2018 Hungary: Charlie Mulgrew (saved)
2018 Israel: Charlie Mulgrew
2018 Albania: Steven Fletcher
2020 Israel: Ryan Christie
2020 Czech Republic: Ryan Christie
2021 Austria: Lyndon Dykes
2021 Israel: Lyndon Dykes (saved)
63 penalties conceded: 52 scored, 11 missed
1896 Ireland: Robert Milne
1901 England: Ernest Needham (saved by Harry Rennie)
1912 Ireland: James McKnight
1931 Wales: Ernest Curtis
1932 France: Marcel Langiller
1938 Hungary: Gyorgy Sarosi
1951 Austria: Theodor Wagner
1953 N Ireland: Norman Lockhart
1959 West Germany: Erich Juskowiak
1960 England: Bobby Charlton
1960 England: Bobby Charlton (shot wide)
1960 Hungary: Lajos Tichy (shot wide)
1961 Czechoslovakia: Andrej Kvasnak
1963 Norway: Per Kristoffersen
1967 N Ireland: Johnny Crossan (saved by Ronnie Simpson)
1969 England: Geoff Hurst
1971 Belgium: Paul van Himst
1973 Czechoslovakia: Zdenek Nehoda
1974 West Germany: Paul Breitner
1974 Belgium: Raoul Lambert
1976 Wales: Arfon Griffiths
1977 England: Mick Channon
1977 Argentina: Daniel Passarella
1977 East Germany: Hans-Jürgen Dörner (saved by David Stewart)
1978 Wales: Brian Flynn (hit post and rebounded into play)
1978 Netherlands: Rob Rensenbrink
1982 Spain: Satrustegui (saved by Alan Rough but Victor scored the rebound)
1982 Spain: Quini
1985 Iceland: Teitur Thordarson (saved by Jim Leighton)
1988 Italy: Giuseppe Giannini
1990 East Germany: Thomas Doll
1990 Switzerland: Adrian Knup
1991 Romania: Gheorghe Hagi
1993 Switzerland: Georges Bregy
1994 Netherlands: Wim Jonk (hit bar and rebounded into play)
1994 Greece: Stratos Aposotlakis
1995 Ecuador: Ivan Hurtado
1996 USA: Eric Wynalda
1997 Belarus: Pjatro Kachura
1997 France: Youri Djorkaeff
1998 Colombia: Carlos Valderrama
1998 Faroe Islands: John Petersen
2002 Canada: Dwayne De Rosario
2002 Portugal: Luis Figo (saved by Rab Douglas)
2003 Lithuania: Tomas Razanauskas
2003 Germany: Michael Ballack
2004 Hungary: Szabolcs Huszti
2004 Spain: Raúl
2004 Norway: Steffen Iversen
2005 USA: Joshua Wolff
2006 Ukraine: Andrij Shevchenko
2007 Lithuania: Tomas Danilevicius
2008 N Ireland: David Healy (saved by Allan McGregor)
2008 Iceland: Eidur Gudjohnsen
2009 Netherlands: Dirk Kuijt
2010 Spain: David Villa
2011 Brazil: Neymar
2011 Czech Republic: Michal Kadlec
2012 Wales: Gareth Bale
2013 Wales: Aaron Ramsey
2018 Peru: Christian Cueva
2021 Moldova: Vadim Rata (saved by Craig Gordon)
2022 Poland: Krzysztof Piatek
If I have missed any, please let me know.
* Updates to the original list, with thanks to several contributors, in particular Donald Train in the comments below:
Since the article was first published, Lyndon Dykes scored for Scotland against Austria then missed against Israel. Craig Gordon saved a penalty against Moldova.
Several missed penalties have been added:
- George Young's penalty against France in 1949 was saved.
- Billy Liddell shot wide against Hungary in 1955.
- Dave Mackay's shot was saved by Jack Kelsey in the first minute of the match v Wales in 1958.
- Willie Morgan missed twice in 1972, against Yugoslavia and Denmark.
- Billy Bremner's penalty against West Germany in 1973 was saved by Sepp Maier.
- John Wark's penalty against Peru in 1979 was saved.
- Ally McCoist missed v Switzerland in 1990.
- Lajos Tichy of Hungary shot wide in 1960.
- Johnny Crossan of Northern Ireland had a penalty saved by Ronnie Simpson in 1967.
- Hans-Jürgen Dörner of East Germany had a penalty saved by David Stewart in 1977.
- Brian Flynn of Wales hit the post in 1978, minutes before Willie Donachie's classic own goal.
- Jesus Satrustegui of Spain had a penalty saved by Alan Rough in 1982 but Victor scored the rebound.
- Wim Jonk of Netherlands hit the bar in Utrecht in 1994
- Teitur Thordarson of Iceland had a penalty saved by Jim Leighton in 1985.
Also, thanks to Cris Freddi for pointing out that the first penalty in an international came in 1892; it was saved.