Lewis and Harris Select All Time Greats

John Murdo 'Stoodie' Mackay.
John Murdo 'Stoodie' Mackay.


John Murdo ‘Stoodie’ Mackay

Magnus Johnson.

Magnus Johnson.

(17 goals in 11 games)

The man dubbed ‘The Point Express’ remains the top goalscorer in the history of the Lewis and Harris Select despite playing just 11-times.

The king of yesteryear slammed in a phenomenal 17 strikes in those 11 outings for the Select which sees him one ahead at the top of the pile.

John Murdo ‘Stoodie’ Mackay sadly, is no longer with us, but his legend lives on through the memories of former team mates, opponents, fans and his ability and achievements were also well documented in the newspapers of the time.

Scott Maciver.

Scott Maciver.

Stoodie’s talents were well known and during his war service with the Royal Navy he played with English and Scottish internationals. He also played for Mansfield Town in the English league and in 1948 received offers to join both Celtic and Partick Thistle. Amazingly, the man dubbed the ‘Point Express’ declined and joined the Merchant Navy.

One of ‘Stoodie’s former team mates and friends was Murdo ‘Biodan’ Macleod who was part of the 1951 Point side who lifted their first ever league title.

He said: “Stoodie was simply the best player I have ever seen. He was brilliant in the air and absolutely deadly with his left-foot. I was honoured to play alongside him and I remember many great stories around some of our games.

“I remember a cup semi-final playing against United. We drew 3 - 3 and in those days we had no extra-time or penalties so we went to a replay.

Alex Wright.

Alex Wright.

“We won the replay 9 - 3. I got on the score sheet myself that day but ‘Stoodie’ scored six goals. I remember after scoring his sixth he shouted to ‘Blake’ - one of the United players - ‘hurry up and centre that ball so I can get another one.’

“Another incident which is strong in my mind was a clash with our great rivals Back. This particular game was during a time when Back were poor. We were five or six up when we were awarded a penalty.

“Stoodie put the ball on the spot but as he went up to take the kick he stopped and the goalie dived across the goals. The referee then decided to award Back a goal kick despite the fact Stoodie hadn’t even touched the ball.

“It was hilarious and both sets of players were weak laughing. It was purely a sympathy decision from the ref.”

Donald 'Lally' Mackay.

Donald 'Lally' Mackay.

A hero of the famous Christmas Day victory over Ross County, Stoodie was a bona fide class act. Alongside Stoodie in the Select was Arthur Smith who recalls the games dramatic action.

Arthur Smith said: “He really was the star turn although everyone in that team played their part.”

Another former team mate and friend from Point John ‘Hoddan’ Macdonald admitted: “There was simply no one like him.”


Magnus Johnson

(16 goals in 30 games)

Dan Mcphail.

Dan Mcphail.

One of the most gifted and celebrated players of his generation, wing man and goal machine Magnus Johnson was a player with the goal-den touch.

A Select regular for the best part of two decades he could have matched the great Stoodie’s tally perhaps but for a cruciate ligament injury.

Magnus, a hero in the club colours of both Stornoway Athletic and Tolsta locally, and Inverness Clach and Brora Rangers in the Highland League, terrorised defences the length and breadth of the country.

But his most memorable game for the Select came against a future Scottish international when the mighty Glasgow Celtic hosted the islanders.

“I remember playing for the Select against Celtic Boys Club at Barrowfield,” recalled Magnus.

“That day I was being marked by Derek Whyte who played for the Celtic first-team, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough and picked up caps for Scotland.

“I managed to score a hat-trick and we beat them quite comfortably.”

Yet while his medal haul and goals tally - 382 (237 in League) – for Aths – speak for themselves, he modestly reckons his brother Murdo, who he played for most of his career alongside, was a key factor in his success.

“I played with a lot of good players but the best was my brother Murdo.

“Because I scored a lot of goals I got a lot of recognition but a lot of it was due to my brother. We had a great understanding and a lot of credit is due to him.

“My enduring memory of playing alongside him is seeing him throw himself into a 50/50 with a player double his size and him emerging with the ball. He was the hardest player I ever played with and without him I would never have been as succesful as I was.”

Scott Maciver 
(14 goals in 20 games)

For the past 15-years Scott Maciver has prowled pitches around the isles like a predator looking for blood – taking chunks out of defences and scoring goals by the barrowload.

For Aths he has booted his way into the record books as the clubs’ all-time leading goalscorer with more than 400 for the club. But on Select duty he has been equally proficient – netting 14 in just 20 ‘caps’ – not including matches for the Highlands and Islands or Western Isles Selects.

Maciver combined clinical skills from close range and powerful shooting to become one of the most feared marksmen in island football. A growing family and other commitments mean he may call time on his Select career but sitting just three goals shy of the all-time record he could yet overhaul his club manager Magnus at Aths, and the late, great ‘Stoodie’ in the all-time rankings.


1st: Alex Wright

(33 Select ‘Caps’)

Alex Wright was the type of player who produced superman-esque performances so often it left you wondering if he had just stepped out of a telephone box to don a cloak and y-fronts over his gear.

The ever-green goalkeeper is still fit enough and does from time to time, keep goal for Point and it is no surprise to see him sit on top of the all-time lists for Select ‘caps.’

A goalkeeper of the highest calibre who instilled a calmness throughout his defence and a keeper with the personality and presence to dominate a game from between the sticks.

For 20-years he proved invaluable to the Select and his contribution to the cause can not be underestimated.

2nd: Donald ‘Lally’ Mackay

(30 - level with Magnus Johnson)

Captain Fantastic for much of his time with the Select the Hearach stopper seemed to soar above players of far greater height and hang in the air for so long it was as if he had a jet-pack.

‘Lally’ was a first-pick stopper for Harris and latter Lochs throughout his island football career.

And few can forget the sight of him playing through the pain barrier for the Select with his hair literally dripping in vaseline in order to try and seal a head cut.

Repeatedly diving fearlessly into battle sliding into Persil-clean tackles and emerging on the other side with the ball at his feet, ‘Lally’ was a player who led by example.

Often opposing strikers were carved up and well done in less time than it takes to prepare a steak.

“My most striking memory of ‘Lally’ was when we played in Shetland in a play off for the bronze medal at the Island Games,” said Billy Flower.

“That day he was up against a striker who was easily 6 foot 7 yet ‘Lally’ repeatedly beat him in the air.

He was so powerful in the air and deceptively strong for a small frame.

“He was a real pleasure to work with, he was an inspirational captain and a player who read the game so well.”

3rd: Dan Macphail

(27 Caps)

In third place in the all-time Select ‘cap’ rankings is an active player who remains a key cog in the West Side machine although he hasn’t turned out for the Select in recent seasons.

Dan Macphail picked up his first Select cap against an Inverness Caley B team back in 1997 and for over a decade he was an almost ever present in squads when fit and available.

A midfield enforcer who twinned silk and steel in equal measure Macphail started for the Select when Dunfermline came calling in 2003.

Blessed with the rare ability to combine the technical quality to place the ball wherever he wants it and an understanding of the game to help him choose the right option - when to go short or long, when to switch the play, when to up the tempo and when to slow it down, Macphail remains a player who can make the difference.

Whether he adds to his 27 ‘caps’ remains to be seen.