Scotland’s Greatest Rugby Captain Jim Aitken?

Only beaten by Wales Rugby once

Only once on a losing team at Murrayfield. Against Wales in 1983. In a 26-cap international career. Jim Aitken was a wing forward with Penicuik. When, in 1971, he sought out a higher level of rugby with Gala. He had been pointed in the direction of Netherdale. Once his mind was made up, by Billy Easson, a former Gala centre who served on the Penicuik committee.

After one game at No. 8 for the Gala Second XV. Aitken found himself at loose-head for them against Jedforest the next week. Seven days later. It was loose-head against West Hartlepool for the First XV. And from there he has scarcely looked back.
Since that debut. In fact, Aitken had played 297 games for Gala up to the start of the 1984-85 season. Scoring 12 tries and captained them to two of their three Scottish Championships and four times in all.

Making the most of his Scotland Rugby trial

In only his second season at Netherdale. Aitken merited a Scottish trial. And made his South debut against the North and Midlands. He took advantage of the retirement of the Hawick Captain, Norman Suddon. By the end of the Grand Slam campaign. Aitken had played 53 more games for the South. Though influenza caused him to miss last October’s clash with Stu Wilson’s touring All Blacks. Aitken captained the South on eight occasions. Also, including their 1983-84 inter-district Grand Slam.

Captained Scotland against Canterbury on 1981 New Zealand Tour

He was first honoured with the Scotland captaincy against Canterbury (13-12.). This was on the 1981 tour of New Zealand. A year later, in Australia. He captained the side against New South Wales Country (44-3) and Capital Territory (22-4). In between those two matches came the First Test. For which Aitken was dropped in favour of West’s Gerry McGuinness. Aitken having gained twelve caps consecutively since the 1981 French encounter. It was the second time Aitken had been discarded by his country.
Following B caps in 1975 (when a certain Jean-Pierre Rives was in the French ranks). And 1976, Aitken made his debut in a record 26 – 6 Calcutta Cup defeat at Twickenham in 1977. He was the fourth Gala prop to be capped post-war. Following Bob Wilson, John Fox and Tom Elliot. In addition, Bob Cunningham joined that list a little later.

Scotland’s Greatest Rugby Captain – nicknamed ‘Big Daddy’

His thirty-first international. Aitken played against Ireland and France, also in 1977. Before giving way to the man he had deposed, Ian McLauchlan. He remained in the international wilderness until recalled for the 1981 championship. And, after being dropped for McGuinness in Australia a year later. ‘Big Daddy’ proved he was made of durable material by shrugging aside thoughts of retirement to soldier on.

Celebrating Scotland’s Greatest Rugby Captains

Our range of Vintage Scotland shirts includes. Scotland Rugby Shirt 1984 Grand Slam. Also, our Scotland Rugby Shirt 1990 Grand Slam