Jim Leighton celebrated 91 caps for Scotland’s International football team in a star studded goalkeeping career at Aberdeen, Dundee and Hibs in Scotland and initially with Manchester Utd when he first moved to the English giants. Sadly, a 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup Final would see him largely blamed for the London club forcing a replay.
His former Aberdeen boss Alex Ferguson dropped him from the Man U team in favour of Les Sealey for the Wembley replay and the 1-0 win for the Old Trafford side in the second game versus Palace with Sealey between the sticks heralded the end of Leighton’s career down south
Leighton’s international career lasted for 16 years, from 1982 to 1998. He was an uncapped squad member for the 1982 World Cup, before making his debut against East Germany on 13 October 1982. Within two years he was his country’s No. 1, and he played in all of his country’s matches at the 1986, 1990 and 1998 World Cups, despite stiff competition for the keeper’s jersey from Andy Goram during the 1990s. He retired from international football in 1998, his last match being a European Championship qualifier against Estonia on 10 October 1998, at the age of 40 years and 78 days, which set a new record as the oldest player to play for Scotland until David Weir broke the record in 2010.
Brave in one to one situations with opposition forwards and great diving ability made him a respected member of the Scotland squad and a favourite with the Tartan Army although comparisons between Leighton and Goram are still made to this day.
Leighton won his 50th cap for Scotland in 1989 qualifying him for the Scotland Hall Of Fame. He won 91 international caps and is second only to Kenny Dalglish in the appearance records.
He also has a Cup Winners Cup medal after Aberdeen beat Real Madrid 2-1 in the 1983 final in Sweden.