Sir Alex Ferguson’s football career begun 50 years ago tomorrow, making his debut for Queen’s Park as a 16-year-old.

He has reflected on that game, talking of a nasty incident with an opponent that toughened him up.

“My troubles began with the decision to play me at outside-right, which didn’t suit me at all,” said Ferguson. “Nor did their left-back, a little tank by the name of McKnight. After a collision had put the two of us on the ground the bastard bit me. At half-time the official in charge of our team, Jackie Gardiner, roasted me for not being combative enough. He shouted ‘You don’t side-step players at this club, you go through them. You’ve come into this team with a big reputation. What’s the matter with you?’ ‘The left-back bit me,’ I said pitifully. ‘Bit you?’ Gardiner screamed. ‘Then bite him back!’ Any suspicion that Scotland’s leading amateur team would be too Corinthian to go to war was soon dispelled from Stranraer minds and the second half was warfare.”

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