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Classic Scotland football strips: Part 1

In the first of a new series we look at memorable Scotland kits through the years, from wing collars and V-necks to temperature-triggered colour changes.

By Illustrations by John Devlin

This article first appeared in Issue 31 which was published in March 2024.


The home strip with red socks was first seen against Peru on April 26, 1972.

The long-sleeved, wing-collared football shirt is synonymous with 1970s football. Scotland adopted the style in 1972, first wearing the home strip (with red socks) in a friendly with Peru on April 26 before reverting to navy socks with red turnover.

The red socks returned in 1973 and stayed for the remainder of the kit’s lifespan. In 1974 they were decorated with faddish sock tags.

A variant of the early 1970s strip had blue socks with red turnovers.

Naturally the kit featured heavily in Scotland’s successful 1974 World Cup qualifying campaign, including the unforgettable win over Czechoslovakia on September 26, 1973 when Willie Ormond’s men came back from a goal down to win 2-1 (thanks to strikes from Jim Holton and Joe Jordan) to clinch qualification to the finals for the first time since 1958.

The shirt was also worn, however, in a dismal 5-0 defeat to England at Hampden on February 14, 1973 – a match commemorating 100 years of the Scottish Football Association.

The self-coloured white change version saw three outings during this period: a short-sleeved draw against Yugoslavia on June 29, 1972 and wins over Denmark (4-1, October 18, 1972) and Wales (2-0, May 12, 1973).

The early 70s long-sleeved away strip.

These wing-collared designs, with a minor addition, were actually worn until 1976 with a short-sleeved airtex fabric incarnation also starring at the 1974 World Cup Finals. Both these versions will be covered in future editions of Nutmeg.

Worn by: Joe Jordan, Jimmy Johnstone, Peter Lorimer, Billy Bremner and Kenny Dalglish (who scored his first goal for Scotland in this home shirt against the Danes in 1972).


It was plunging necklines for this strip debuted against Yugoslavia on May 15, 1955.

The first major shift in football fashions occurred in the mid-1950s with the introduction of the short-sleeved, plunging V-neck shirt, named by Scottish kit suppliers Umbro as the “continental style” and inspired by the Mighty Magyars’ humiliation of England in 1953.

The style dominated the British game for the next decade and its influence is still seen on football pitches today.

Scotland’s away strip in the 1950s.

Scotland actually wore the white away shirt in this style before they donned a dark blue version, in a 2-2 draw against Yugoslavia on May 15, 1955.

The V-necked home shirt first appeared four days later in a superb 4-1 win in Austria. However, the previous collared home shirt still made appearances for winter/autumn matches during the V-neck’s tenure meaning that the Scots had two distinct styles of jersey to choose from depending on weather. A variation on the V-necked design emerged in 1962; more on that another time.

This article is a preview from Nutmeg 31 – out now

The kit’s most famous outings of course occurred in the disappointing 1958 World Cup Finals in Sweden with Dawson Walker in charge of the team. A new self-coloured version of the white change shirt was worn in the 1-1 draw with Yugoslavia on June 8 and again in the 2-1 defeat to France a week later. The home shirt’s only appearance in the tournament was in the 3-2 defeat to Paraguay on the 11th.

Worn by: Tommy Docherty, Archie Robertson, Lawrie Reilly, George Young and Denis Law.


Diadora’s third home kit for Scotland brought an opulent look to the dressing room. The navy appeared a richer hue than previous jerseys and was trimmed with gold. A large shadow saltire (curiously minus its bottom right-hand quarter) was placed front and centre. A combination of gold ellipses was positioned on each sleeve – a gimmicky Diadora initiative that supposedly changed colour when a player’s body temperature rose.

Diadora paired the shirt with navy shorts and socks, a move that added to the sophisticated look of the strip. “Italian Styling, Scottish Passion…” indeed.

The home kit was first worn on the September 2, 2006 in a Euro 2008 qualifier against the Faroe Islands and got off to a fantastic start with a 6-0 win. However, its most memorable outing was the 1-0 home win over France on October 7, 2006 in another Euros qualifier.

The shirt was also worn in the heartbreaking 2-1 defeat to Italy on November 17, 2007 with Alex McLeish’s Scotland side needing a win to clinch qualification.

The away version was unveiled the following year and mirrored the home design but in white, sky blue and gold and featured a complete saltire design across the body of the shirt. The kit was first worn in the 2-0 defeat to Italy on March 28, 2007 but tasted glory six months later in the unforgettable 1-0 triumph over France on September 12, 2007 thanks to James McFadden’s wonder goal.

The 2008 World Cup qualifiers were the first time that regular match details were applied to the front of the Scotland shirt outside of a major tournament – along with player names on the reverse – meaning that this change shirt was updated accordingly for its two appearances that year.

Worn by: Kris Boyd, Barry Ferguson, Kenny Miller, Gary Caldwell and Paul Hartley.

This article first appeared in Issue 31 which was published in March 2024.

Issue 32
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