Did you know that the small West Lothian mining village of Livingston Station has provided not one, but three international footballers who all played for Scotland?
Willie Waugh was born in Livingston Station on 2nd February 1910 and was a goalkeeper who played for Hearts. He was described as being ‘a bit of a rebel’ in his day and was one of two players loaned by Hearts to their Edinburgh derby rivals Hibs in 1936, which helped Hibs avoid relegation that season.
He won one cap for Scotland in December 1937, playing in a 5-0 win against Czechoslovakia in a friendly.
Tommy Walker was born in Livingston Station on 26th May 1915 to a shale mining family. Tam Dalyell described him in the obituary he wrote for him after his death in 1993, as being his ‘childhood idol’. He also described him as being ‘the greatest inside-forward of the age, 1935-48’.
Had it not been for the Second World War, Walker would have certainly won more than the 21 international caps for Scotland that he received. It was on a Saturday afternoon at Wembley, in April 1936, that Walker became an indelible Scottish hero. England had scored. Scotland were a goal down. Then, Eddie Habgood, the Arsenal and England captain, uncharacteristically conceded a penalty. Tommy, who wasn’t even 21 years of age, stepped forward to take it.
In the book ‘One Hundred Years of Scottish Football’, the late John Rafferty graphically recalls what happened next: ‘It was a windy day. He placed the ball on the spot and stepped back. It was blown off. He replaced it and as he moved to take the kick, it was blown off again. The crowd were silent, guessing that one so young must be at breaking point. . . . Again the ball was placed, firmly driven into the ground and it stayed. Tommy Walker shot the equalising goal as if it were a practice match.’
Walker’s memories of this day were rather less dramatic. ‘I cannot even remember at what end of the ground the penalty kick was given,’ he said, ‘but I do remember vaguely the ball rolling off the spot. I just replaced it, and hit it.’
In April 1938, Walker was back at Wembley with the Scots to score the single goal which beat England, and put Walker firmly at the top of all the hero books, who had confronted the Auld Enemy.
In 1948, Walker returned to be Assistant Manager of Hearts, and then to succeed the legendary David Maclean as Manager of the Heart of Midlothian Football Club, where he had started as a player. In the 17 years he managed Hearts, Walker took them to two Scottish League Championships, one Scottish Cup and four League Cup Wins, at a time when Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers had formidable teams.
Jimmy Scoular was also born in Livingston Station on 11th January 1925. It had always seemed likely that Scoular would follow his father, Alec – who played for Alloa Athletic, Stenhousemuir and Leith Athletic before the Second World War – into the professional game. However, the conflict diverted his energies and it was during his service as a submarine engineer on HMS Dolphin at Gosport, Hampshire, he was spotted in the Royal Navy football by Portsmouth, then a major soccer power. He then went on to play for Portsmouth from 1945-53, Newcastle United 1953-61; Bradford Park Avenue 1961-64. He was capped 9 times by Scotland 1951-52, he then became a player- manager at Bradford Park Avenue 1961-64, moving on to be a full time manager at Cardiff City from 1964. In 1973, he was sacked from this role after a series of losses and from there he became Manager of 4th Division team Newport County from 1976-77.
‘During his playing years, it was said of him that he played sometimes as if he hated everyone on the field, demolishing opponents, bawling-out team-mates and confronting referees, but it wasn’t true. He was a decent man with a tremendous sense of humour, and there was no hate in him. It was just that he was obsessed with the game and, more particularly, the winning of it.’
Livingston Station, now called Deans, was built to house workers from the nearby Pumpherston Oil Company. According to ScotlandsPeople by 1920, Livingston Station had just 231 homes within the relatively small village. All three Livingston Station footballing stars, were born here around this time. So surely this has to be a record?