18/04/1970 Belfast Scotland 0-1
Pat Jennings, Dave Craig, Dave Clements, Sammy Todd (Liam O’Kane), Terry Neill, Jimmy Nicholson, Billy Campbell (Des Dickson), Bertie Lutton, Derek Dougan, Eric McMordie, George Best
Northern Ireland’s Home International match with Scotland was dull, lifeless game. [George] Best was irritated at the appalling quagmire of a pitch. But he was also fuming at the apparent benevolence of the referee, Eric Jennings, who seemed happy to allow a series of niggly fouls on Best to go unpunished. He was also perhaps angry at his own missed chances, three of them, that could have given his side the lead. Marked tightly, by Frank McLintock, Best’s rag was about to be well and truly lost. The explosive moment came with half an hour left when, having protested in vain that the referee should have given a free kick for, rather than against, Ireland Best spat in anger in the general direction of Jennings and then picked up a piece of mud from the Windsor Park pitch and threw it at the astonished official. Jennings immediately pointed to the dressing room. As the referee became surrounded by gesticulating players Best started walking away, considered briefly the folly of refusing to leave the field and finally gave up and trudged off, a desolate figure. Jennings’s official reason for sending Best off was ‘showing dissent.’ Best was suspended for one game by the Irish FA.
* Trivia –
Best returned six-weeks later from suspension and took out all his frustrations on Fourth Division Northampton Town in the FA Cup, scoring six of United’s goals in an 8-2 drubbing. Before netting his sixth, he stopped the ball on the goal-line, saluting the United fans, then rolled it in.