The Scots, with a reputation for flowing rugby, were quietly confident. "We had 10 or 11 players who had been on the Lions tour in a side which had been together a long time," Aitken said.
Aitken was 15 when he left school in Penicuik, south of Edinburgh, for a paper mill. "There were 10 or 11 mills in the town, which was the centre of the Scottish paper industry. I started by sweeping the floors and managed the mill by my late 20s," he said.
Today he runs an agricultural merchant's, which he bought out after retiring from international rugby in 1985, by which time he was managing director: "Most of our business is supplying grain to distilleries and maltings in the Scotch whisky industry."
Now 47, Aitken is married with two sons, one of whom works for him. The other studies communications at Glasgow University. Neither plays rugby: "I think they had too much of it rammed down their throats at school". He does some coaching at Penicuik and turns out for Scotland Golden Oldies.
By Jon CulleyReuse content