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Award ceremony recognition for photographer's half-century career

A Scottish photographer who took one of the most iconic images in the country’s sporting history will receive a lifetime achievement award tonight.

Denis Straughan, who captured the shot of football fans breaking Wembley’s goalposts in 1977, will be recognised for his 49-year career at the First ScotRail Press Photography Awards, in Glasgow.

Denis was born in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1935 and joined the Berwick Advertiser aged just 15.

He later moved to Edinburgh in 1957 where he joined The Scotman’s picture desk and stayed there until his retirement in 1999.

During his career Denis photographed many well-known faces yet his most famous photograph features none of them.

In June 1977 Denis was at Wembley to witness England’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of his nation’s footballing heroes.

He was perfectly positioned to capture delighted Scottish fans invading the pitch and breaking the goalposts.

Denis said: “I knew straight away I’d got a great shot. That picture has been published around the world – in fact The Scotsman still sells copies of it.”

Mary Dickson, managing director of awards sponsor First ScotRail, said: “Denis Straughan is one of the most popular men in the world of Scottish press photography.

“We received a great many nominations for him from competitors as well as former colleagues.

“He is, most evidently, a talented photographer and a complete gentleman. We are delighted to recognise his achievements.”

A selection of Denis’ images will feature in First ScotRail’s touring exhibition of winning pictures later this year. These include Elizabeth Taylor visiting Edinburgh, The Beatles in Edinburgh’s ABC Theatre and the QE2 in Scottish waters.

  • There are now 13 prizes up for grabs at tonight’s award ceremony as there will be no award in the young photographer of the year category after it was pulled by judges.

    Awards spokeswoman Gemma Smith: “The judges felt they could not award a winner. When they’re judging they are looking for exceptional photos and they didn’t feel they had that in front of them.”