Former rugby star Ken Scotland joins Scottish Sports Hall of Fame

Ken Scotland in action. Picture: TSPL
Ken Scotland in action. Picture: TSPL
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RUGBY union star Ken Scotland has been credited as the “supreme counter-attacker of his age” after last night being inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.

The 76-year-old Edinburgh star, who made his name as an aggressive full-back, was one of six new inductees.

He made 32 appearances for Scotland across an eight-year span, but was best remembered for his starring role for the British Lions on their 1959 tour of Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Mr Scotland, from Davidson’s Mains, made more than 22 appearances for the British national side on that tour, scoring 12 tries including a hat-trick in the opening match against Hawke’s Bay.

The New Zealand Rugby Almanac would go on to rate Mr Scotland as the Lion “most likely to win a match for his side”, naming him as one of its five players of the year.

Four-time US Open winner Willie Anderson was also among the inductees recognised at last night’s ceremony held at the National Museum of Scotland.

The skilled golfer was born in North Berwick, East Lothian, in 1879 and emigrated to the United States at the age of 16 with his family.

He is still the only man to win three consecutive US Open golf titles, with his strong, flat action, known as the St Andrews swing, his recognised trademark.

Mr Anderson was aged just 31 when he died.

Fellow inductees were former Scottish football captain Archie Gemmill, Olympic gold medallist and curler Rhona Martin, paralympian Margaret McEleny and Olympic swimming gold medallist Belle Moore.

Speaking ahead of his induction, Mr Scotland credited his own performances to the top-class rugby players he competed alongside. He said: “Over the years I’ve played with several hundreds of people and they have all played their part in helping me reach this ­honour.

“If you are playing alongside really top-class players then that, in turn, helps your game. That was particularly true of playing on a Lions tour when everyone around you is playing to a very high standard and is on your wavelength.

“So to be picked out from all these great players and be put in the Hall of Fame alongside people like Gavin Hastings, Finlay Calder and David Sole is a real privilege.”

Mr Scotland also played ten games for the Barbarians, as well as lining up for club sides Royal Signals Catterick, Cambridge University, London Scottish, Ballymena, Leicester, Heriots FP and Aberdeenshire.

Mr Scotland was described as a “player ahead of his time” in a summary from the British national team.

The statement said: “JPR Williams and Andy Irvine may be the first names that spring to mind on the subject of attacking Lions full-backs, but the art they perfected was the one pioneered by Scotland two decades earlier.”

“Scotland was a pioneer in other areas of his game, particularly in the range of kicking methods he had.”