Club News

Long awaited cap for Alan Anderson

18th March 2020

Former Hearts Captain Alan Anderson was this week awarded a Scotland cap - 53 years after he represented his country.

Alan, a Hearts Hall of Fame inductee and one of the finest centre backs to have ever worn the famous maroon jersey, received the cap in recognition of his 7 international appearances for Scotland during the 1967 Oceanic Tour.

Hearts' Principal Ambassador, Gary Locke, was on hand to congratulate Alan at Ferryfield House (where he currently resides) earlier this week.

Below is a profile of Mr. Anderson's career, as written by Club Historian David Speed.

 

Alan Anderson

'Without question, one of Hearts' soundest ever investments.'

“Alan” Anderson was born in Edinburgh in December 1939, and although he was brought-up in Leith, a short distance from Hibs’ ground, he always wanted to play for the Hearts and he has been a supporter all his life.

As a well-built and promising youngster, Alan was selected for the Leith Primary Schools XI and, after he moved to David Kilpatrick’s Secondary, he represented the City of Edinburgh in the national cup competition. On leaving school, Alan began work as an apprentice compositor, while developing his football skills with United Crossroads Boys’ Club. He was initially an inside-forward or wing-half, but eventually, Alan became a redoubtable centre-half.

The muscular defender briefly appeared in the junior grade with Dalkeith Thistle and he was snapped-up by Falkirk in June 1958. Alan also had a few games on loan to Alloa Athletic before joining the former Falkirk manager, Reg Smith, at Millwall in October 1959. While in London, Alan finished his apprenticeship as a compositor and, in 1961-62, he helped Millwall to win the Fourth Division Championship.

In July 1962, a £10,000 fee took the rugged centre-half to Scunthorpe United, but Alan never settled in the town and in November 1963, at the age of 23, he came to Hearts for £1,500. This was surely one of the club’s greatest-ever bargains, because the 6’1” stopper became one of Hearts’ most admired players, being a formidable obstacle for opponents and particularly strong in the air.

He was also a wonderful servant, playing steadily in defence for thirteen seasons and making a remarkable 475 competitive appearances. Only John Cumming and Jim Cruickshank had played more competitive games for Hearts at that time. In addition, Alan always had presence at set pieces and he scored a creditable 31 competitive goals while creating many chances for his team-mates.

With his powerful tackling and strength in the air, Alan commanded Hearts’ rearguard. The powerful stopper did earn his share of bookings, although Alan never committed offences behind the referees back and was always regarded as an honest player. He was certainly well-respected, with leadership qualities, and the big defender was immensely proud to be appointed captain in 1965.

Despite his outstanding record of service, Alan left Hearts without securing any winners’ medals in the major competitions. Nevertheless, there were many near misses and great moments, most notably in 1964-65 when Hearts lost the League Championship on the old goal-average system to Kilmarnock. This was only after losing to the Ayrshire side on the final day of the campaign.

Alan and his team-mates also suffered the disappointment of losing to Dunfermline Athletic in the Scottish Cup Final in April 1968, although there were memorable wins over Rangers and Dundee United along the way. In addition, he was a stalwart in the team that won through to the Texaco Cup Final in the spring of 1971, only to lose on aggregate to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Alan’s reputation as one of the most reliable and consistent defenders in the country was acknowledged during the summer of 1967. He was a member of the SFA touring party on its World Tour, taking part in seven of the nine games played, including matches against Israel; Australia; and Canada that would today be recognized as Full Internationals. Alan also played in the Scotland XI that took part in a testimonial game against Leicester City in June 1966.

Alan was a member of the Hearts squad that played in North America in 1964 and 1971, Norway in 1965; Ireland in 1968; and the Netherlands in 1972. The inspiring stopper also saw some European action in 1965-66 in the old Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Hearts defeated Valerengens of Oslo and then unluckily lost by 1-0 against Real Zaragoza after a play-off, following a 5-5 tie on aggregate. Alan scored in both legs and in the third game at Zaragoza, he scored again, only to have the “goal” dis-allowed under controversial circumstances.

Unfortunately, his last few years were poor from the club’s point of view, but before he retired in May 1976, Alan helped Hearts to qualify for the initial 10-club Premier Division which started in 1975-76. He also played in the early rounds when the team reached the Scottish Cup Final in May 1976.

 In 1969, Alan acquired the Royal Oak public house at Infirmary Street which he renamed the Pivot and then, after he retired from football, he had a successful career as a publican and hotelier. Alan Anderson might have been raised very close to Hibernian’s ground, but his heart has always been maroon and it was a special night when this great servant and club ambassador was recently inducted into Hearts’ Hall of Fame.