In 1946 after WWII, Scotland and the other British teams rejoined FIFA and wished to take part in the 1950 World Cup. What they did not want to do was take part in a qualifying tournament. For this reason FIFA let the 1950 British Championships double as a qualifying tournament with the top two teams qualifying. Scotland though said that they would only take part in the finals if they qualified as British Champions. Wales and Ireland went down a similar path. In the previous year's British Championships, Scotland defeated all of their opponents, therefore Scotland were confident going into the 1950 tournament. It began with an 8-2 win away to Ireland, which was Scotland's biggest victory in 48 years. A home win over Wales followed, before the Championship decider at Hampden with England. England won 1-0 and therefore won the tournament and as a result Scotland would not play in the World Cup finals. A month after the England match Scotland travelled to Paris for a friendly, and came back with an impressive 1-0 win. The following year Scotland won the British Championships with a 3-1 win over Wales, 6-1 over Ireland and a 3-2 win at Wembley. This meant that Scotland were the champions in 1949 and 1951, but the year that mattered was 1950.
George Young is helped from the pitch after Scotland defeat England 3-1 at Wembley in 1949.
By the time the next World Cup had come around, the qualifying competition was the same, and this time Scotland had agreed to take part even if they were runners-up. The first match was a 3-1 win in Belfast, followed by a 3-3 draw with Wales. On 1st February 1954, the SFA appointed the first ever Scotland manager Andy Beattie, who was the current boss at Huddersfield Town. His official title was "Official In Charge", as it was still a committee that selected the team. Beattie's task was to handle training and brief the players. The first match under Beattie was the decider against England, which was lost 4-2 at Hampden, but this time second place was enough for Scotland. In the finals, the 16 finalists were drawn into four groups of four, with two seeds and two unseeded teams. Both seeds would not play each other, and likewise for the unseeded teams. This meant that there were only two matches, against the two seeds who were holders Uruguay and Austria, which meant that qualification to the next round would be a hard task for Scotland. In the opening match Scotland suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Austria. The day before the match with Uruguay, Andy Beattie announced that he was quitting after the finals. It was thought that his lack of control over team selection was a major factor in his decision. In the next game Scotland were well and truly taught a lesson by the World Champions as Uruguay won 7-0 to give Scotland their heaviest ever defeat, and end Scotland's World Cup run. In the following British Championships things did not get better as Scotland lost 7-2 at Wembley. In the same tournament, Ireland now played under the name Northern Ireland, as FIFA had forbid both north and south playing under the same name of Ireland. South was now Republic of Ireland.
Uruguay come close to scoring against Scotland in the infamous 7-0 defeat in the 1954 World Cup Finals.
For the 1958 World Cup, FIFA had decided that Britain should not be guaranteed any places in the finals. For this reason the British Championships was not the qualification campaign for this tournament. Scotland were drawn in a group with Spain and Switzerland, with only one qualifying for the finals. After Andy Beattie had resigned, the SFA had not appointed a new manager; therefore it would be a selection committee that ran the Scotland team in this qualification campaign. The first match was at home to Spain, who were not only favourites to qualify, but favourites to win the World Cup. A hat-trick from Jackie Mudie helped Scotland to a 4-2 victory. Eleven days later, Scotland visited Switzerland and Mudie and Collins gave Scotland a 2-1 win. Scotland travelled to Spain a week later where they were convincingly beaten 4-1. Going into the last match Scotland were a point ahead of Spain, meaning that a win would take Scotland to the finals. A draw would probably leave Scotland needing a play-off with Spain on a neutral venue. A close match ended 3-2 for Scotland, and therefore Scotland had qualified for their second World Cup finals. England, Wales, and Northern Ireland also qualified, which meant that this new qualification format had helped the Home Nations.
Tommy Ring has a shot at goal in the 3-1 friendly victory over West Germany in Stuttgart.
On 15th January 1958 the SFA appointed Matt Busby, the current Manchester Utd manager, as the Scotland manager. On 5th February, after a European Cup quarter-final away to Red Star Belgrade, the Manchester Utd team made a stopover at Munich. When the plane attempted to take off it crashed. 21 people were immediately killed and Scotland manager Matt Busby was severely injured before he fell into a coma. Scotland's trainer Dawson Walker took charge while Busby recuperated. Scotland were drawn with Yugoslavia, Paraguay, and France. In the opening game, Scotland scored their first World Cup final goal through Jimmy Murray, which in turn gained Scotland their first World Cup point in a 1-1 draw. Three days later, goals from Mudie and Collins were not enough to defeat Paraguay, who won 3-2. In the final game Scotland needed a victory over France to have a chance of making the next round. France took a 2-0 lead at half time. Sammy Baird pulled one back in the second half, but it was not enough for Scotland, and another World Cup campaign had ended early for Scotland. For the start of the 1959 British Championships, Matt Busby was fit to finally manage the Scots. A 3-0 win over Wales and a 2-2 draw with Northern Ireland were the only matches he had in charge, as he resigned in December 1958 to concentrate on Manchester Utd. In March 1959, Andy Beattie took charge for the second time.
The Scotland team ready to face Yugoslavia in Scotland's opening game in the 1958 World Cup Finals.