Rob Boag relays a boxing tale brought about when he bumped into a fellow-Scot called Jim in a local coffee shop in Vancouver.
“Jim is the same vintage as myself, and hails from Edinburgh — a Hearts supporter,” he opened.
“Blethering while I slurped on a dark roast and munched on a carrot raisin muffin, we plumbed the depth of nostalgia.
“We raked over growing up in Scotland as young men in the 1950s and 60s.
“We reckon that anyone in Scotland born after 1960 lost out on Scotland’s golden years in everything.
“Music, dance halls, neighbourhood pubs with sports wit and banter, an apprenticeship for every youth who wanted one, steady employment, and most definitely football.
“That magical 1960s decade of sheer football brilliance when Scottish teams (including Dundee and Dundee United) were among the best in Europe.”
Rob went on: “Our nostalgia now focused on Scottish boxing — amateur and professional. An avid boxing fan, Jim is adamant that his fellow-Edinburgh compatriot Ken Buchanan is Scotland’s greatest boxer, bar none.
“I told him my vote is with Benny Lynch.
“He then reminded me Benny Lynch wasn’t Scotland’s first world boxing champion.
“It was flyweight Johnny Hill, managed by Tancy Lee, both from Edinburgh.
“Hill was world champion 10 years before Benny.”
Moving on to another of his heroes, Rob continued: “Inevitably, Dick McTaggart’s name came up.
“We both agreed Dick is Britain’s greatest amateur boxer, and we wondered if McTaggart would be named in the world’s top 10 list of amateur boxers.
“As I left Jim’s company, McTaggart’s name stayed with me and, when I got home, I started a Google project, searching for the 10 best-ever amateur boxers.
“Google offers boxing sites that provide a list of the world’s top 10 amateur boxers — but no McTaggart or, indeed, any British boxers.
“Cubans dominate the list and then Russia and countries that used to be part of the USSR.
“I compared Dick’s boxing record to some of the names on the top 10 lists, and could see Dick McTaggart should be considered for a top 10 listing.
“In my opinion he is a contender, and I have sent an email to Boxing Scotland asking if they would contact the boxing sites and put forward Dick’s record with a request to consider Dick McTaggart as one of the world’s best amateur boxers.
“If a reply comes my way, I will forward it to BwB.”
Rob further reminisced by continuing: “Decades ago, I was an amateur boxing fan from Dundee.
“I remember watching boxers such as Bobby Keddie, Bill Bannon, Walter McGowan, Jimmy Croll, Danny, Dennis and Frank Gilfeather, Johnny Kidd, Malcolm McKenzie, John ‘Cowboy’ McCormack.
“And, of course, McTaggart — the only boxer in the UK ever to be honoured with the prestigious Olympic award – The Val Barker Trophy — which he was awarded in 1956.