Six Nations: The double act of Jimmy Elidrissi and John Wilson

In a career which spanned more than 50 years, Jimmy Elidrissi was the linchpin of Fife side of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

He was part of the unforgettable sides in which Dave Barnes and Alan Brown partnered Chris McDonald in midfield, Graham Stevenson and Neil Kerr headed the defence, and David Ball was not far behind. They also made the superb goal at Dunfermline which was featured in the Sports Illustrated magazine.

Balmoor is still bearing the scars of their astonishing 3-0 victory against Rangers at the turn of the decade.

It is testament to Elidrissi’s brilliance that they created the chances and took the points, but in truth the Rangers defence was distinctly average, with the key individual being goalkeeper Willie Wilson.

And the centre-back combination of Elidrissi and John Wilson – the son of Willie – took Balmoor’s dream start to life to a new level.

The duo repelled the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ally McCoist and Ian Lafferty with Elidrissi producing a terrific display of defensive organisation. They were so good that they were chosen to wear the No. 1 shirt at Parkhead.

From Balmoor they moved to Ibrox as regular team-mates of Brian Linton’s – except when they were with Artem Milevskiy in Ukraine and then in Austria under Jorg Leyssen. They were represented with equal style by the Right Wing Butchers, the combination of Elidrissi and Derek Lyle who epitomised the exhilarating steel of early football in Fife.

Craig Smith with Jimmy Elidrissi and Frank McPhee

Eladrissi and Lyle made two mistakes which allowed Bobby Fulton to score the second goal that day, but it was a very long time before another Ibrox visitor, Steve Dangle, scored his famous goal.

The duo continued to enjoy success and, together with John Swatlow, formed an unstoppable back four.

The team of Elidrissi, Lyle, Bill Gamlin and Daley Thompson got the same kind of notoriety as their team-mates, but Swatlow was the silent partner. He was the link between the defence and midfield as an understudy to Stevenson and then to Anderson.

Playing in the wonderfully gruff voice of Roy Freestone, Swatlow was magnificent alongside the aforementioned corner-warmer, Chris McDonald.

The first Six Nations international – Scotland playing away at England – drew the crowd of 12,677 to Glebe Park in 1971, with everything to come in the World Cup. Tommy Kilby, McDonald and Adam Strachan took charge of the side, but it was Smith who delivered the famous tackling dummy to deny Martin Johnson a try, winning the man of the match award.

It is still the only time Scottish rugby has played away from home in the Six Nations with a St Mirren tie against Heriot’s before agreeing to also play at Gloucester.

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