Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Monday, 4th June 2012
Date and Place of Birth
18th February 1926 - Glencraig, Fife
Transfers to and from Burnley
from Jeanfield Swifts - August 1948
to Eastern Union (New Zealand) - September 1955
First and Last Burnley Games
Liverpool (h) - 7th April 1950
Blackpool (a) - 11th April 1955
Estern Union (New Zealand), Hakoah (Australia)
Burnley Career Stats
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Others||Total|
Profile by Tony Scholes
Back in 1954 Jock Aird became Burnley's first ever Scottish international, going on to play in both of their games in the World Cup Finals of that year in Switzerland. Four years later he became the only former Burnley player, as I am aware, to be capped at full international level by two different countries when he won the first of two caps for New Zealand.
Fife born Aird arrived at Turf Moor in the summer of 1948 as the Clarets prepared for a second season in the First Division following promotion a year earlier. By then he was 22 years of age and had been snapped up from Jeanfield Swifts, a Scottish junior football club.
The Burnley scouts had spotted Aird, a centre forward. He was recommended to the club who were impressed enough to sign him but by the time he made a first team debut he was no longer a centre forward.
Burnley had signed a player who was quick and hard working and they soon converted him to the right back position and that's where he made his debut towards the end of his second season with the club.
He came in at right back for Arthur Woodruff against Liverpool and their left winger Billy Liddell, and retained his place for five of the last six games of the season. He continued as understudy for Woodruff, playing only two games in the following season, before taking over the right back position in October 1951 when Woodruff moved to Workington.
For the remainder of that season, and the subsequent two seasons, he was very much a first team regular. He didn't disappoint and after an outstanding 1953/54 season his performances were recognised by his country although all of his four appearances for Scotland were on the opposite flank at left back. That was no surprise when you look at the Scotland team of the time. The right back position was taken by Preston's Willie Cunningham.
Aird's international debut came in a friendly at Hampden Park on 5th May 1954 against Norway, a game they won 1-0. Two weeks later and he lined up against the same opposition in the Ullevaal Stadium in a 1-1 draw and his performances saw him in the squad for the World Cup.
Back then, although in groups of four, teams only played two of the other three nations. Scotland were in a group with winners Uruguay, Austria and Czechoslovakia. They lost 1-0 to the Austrians in Zurich before suffering a 7-0 reverse to Uruguay in Basel.
They were bottom of the group and coming home and it signalled the end of Aird's international career with Scotland with all four appearances coming during a 45 day period.
His Burnley career too was no far from ending. He was still first choice at the start of the 1954/55 season and played the first 15 games of the season before losing his place to Harold Rudman. Aird played just one more first team game for Burnley, a 1-0 defeat at Blackpool in April 1955.
With David Smith also emerging through the reserves and John Angus coming up behind him, and at the age of 29, Aird decided to leave Turf Moor. He embarked on a new life when he set off for New Zealand in September 1955 after signing for Eastern Union, a team today known as Gisborne City.
Whilst there he was called up to play for New Zealand. He made his debut against Australia and played just one more game for his adopted country.
There was to be one final move for Jock Aird when he signed for Australian club Hakoah and at the end of his playing days he settled in New South Wales, Australia where he continues to live.
In October 2009, at the age of 83, he made a return visit to England and took in our Premier League home game against Birmingham City when he made the half time draw. Although only a very small number of the crowd that day would have ever seen him play he did receive a very warm welcome from the Turf Moor crowd.