In February 1947, following a Scottish Cup loss to Irvine Meadow, Lochgelly Albert’s 25-year-old inside-left, Alexander McNaughton ‘Sandy’ Scott, joined Leicester City. Heavy snow had jeopardised the match, but supporters had worked through the night, by the light of lorry headlamps, to clear the pitch. Over 5,000 attended the match with spectators entering Gardiners Park through passages cut through five-foot drifts.
Scott had been watched by a number of clubs and in January legendary Manchester United manager, Matt Busby, attended the Lochgelly Albert vs. Forth Wanderers cup match to watch the Albert’s Scott and Whyte. Busby complimented the Albert officials on ‘their ground and enclosure and … afterwards travelled with them to the tie’. A native of Boarhills, Alec Scott joined Leicester who were managed by Lochgelly man, Johnny Duncan. The link between Leicester and Lochgelly was strengthened the following season when the Albert’s outside-left, Thomas Paterson, joined Scott at Filbert Street. Scott made his debut against Fulham on 3 January 1948. Starting season 1948-49 as an inside-left he was converted to left-back due to an injury sustained by established defender, Jim Harrison.
He started eight of Leicester’s FA Cup matches as the club reached the final for the first time in its history. Leicester defeated Birmingham City in the 3rd Round, although it took two replays to decide the winner. Preston North End were beaten in the 4th Round, Luton dispatched, after a replay, in the 5th, and Brentford knocked out in the 6th Round. The Semi-Final saw Leicester face high-flying Portsmouth at Highbury on 16 March 1949.
Portsmouth were to be crowned league champions that season (and the next) and were favourites to lift the FA Cup. Leicester were then 20th in the old Second Division and in a desperate fight to avoid relegation. Johnny Duncan’s Leicester were a young side with an average age of 24 and reckoned 400/1 outsiders. Alec Scott only received word that he would start that match about an hour and a half before the semi-final kicked-off. In front of a crowd of 62,000 Leicester created what was described as ‘one of the biggest sensations of the modern times’ defeating Portsmouth 3-1.
Don Revie scored after five minutes before an Alec Scott own-goal levelled the match. Describing the incident, he recalled that ‘Harris and I were racing for it. I tried to hook it back to McGraw (the Leicester goalkeeper), but I hit it too hard’. However, a goal for fellow Scotsman Ken Chisholm and another from Revie in the first nine minutes of the second half was enough to secure a famous victory.
One reporter wrote: ‘The City achieved a balance that was never shown by Pompey. Revie stood unrivalled as a constructive artist and positioning expert, Chisholm worked like a fury, his goal being the result of sheer persistency. Scott justified his choice to the hilt and cleared with certainty, Jelly really pinned down Froggatt, and Plummer recovered admirably from a troubled spell in the first half’. The Leicester players were ‘chaired’ off the field at the finish. A huge welcome ‘that would have done justice to a king’ awaited the players in Leicester.
Billy Wright’s Wolverhampton Wanderers were all that stood between Leicester and FA Cup glory. The final was played at Wembley on 30 April 1949 in front of a massive crowd of 98,920 spectators. Leicester’s Don Revie missed the match after suffering a nose injury and Scottish goalkeeper, Ian McGraw, was unable to play due to a broken finger. Wolves took a two-goal lead before Leicester’s Welsh international, Mal Griffiths scored just after the restart. Leicester thought they were level just minutes later, but Ken Chisholm’s goal was judged narrowly offside. Wolves added a third goal with around 25 minutes left to play securing the trophy for the Molineux men.
Despite finishing as runners-up Alec Scott and his teammates received a heroes welcome from the people of Leicester. ‘Never has Leicester known greater or more wildly-excited crowds than the 70,000 who, from its outskirts to its Town Hall Square, lined the City players’ route as they returned from Wembley. Had they returned with the FA Cup and a ten-nil victory to their credit, their reception could hardly have been more genuine or magnificent than that which reached its peak in the roars rising, deafeningly, from the thousands massed outside the Town Hall, as the team’s coach nosed its way up Bishop street’.
Alec Scott left Leicester later that year making his final appearance against Sheffield Wednesday on 17 December 1949. In total he played 41 times scoring 1 goal for the Foxes. He joined Carlisle United in January 1950 for a fee of £1,500, going on to make some 200 appearances for the club. Many great players have represented Lochgelly Albert in its almost one-hundred-year history but his FA Cup heroics make Alec Scott one of the most accomplished.
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