John Beattie (rugby union)

John Ross Beattie (born 27 November 1957) is a Scottish broadcaster and former rugby union player.

John Beattie
Birth nameJohn Ross Beattie
Date of birth (1957-11-27) 27 November 1957 (age 62)
Place of birthNorth Borneo
Notable relative(s)Johnnie Beattie
Jennifer Beattie
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker / Number Eight
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1980–1987 Scotland 25 (25)

Early life and educationEdit

Beattie was born to Scottish parents in North Borneo, where his father was manager of a rubber estate.[1] He attended boarding school in Penang, Malaysia and the family returned to Scotland when he was eleven.[2] and went to the Glasgow Academy.

He studied at the University of Glasgow and gained a degree in Civil Engineering.

Rugby careerEdit

Beattie played for Glasgow Schools, Glasgow Academicals, Heriot's and Scotland B.[3]

He won his first international cap for Scotland at No. 8 on 2 February 1980 against Ireland at Lansdowne Road at the age of 22.[4] He went on to earn a total of 25 Scotland caps.

He toured twice with the British Lions, to South Africa in 1980 and New Zealand in 1983, winning one test cap. He also played for the Lions against ‘the Rest’ in 1986.

In 1987 he captained Scotland in a pre-season tour to Spain and later scored a try in both internationals against France and Wales.

His first try for Scotland came against France at the Parc des Princes on 7 March 1987.[5] On 4 April he started a match against England but suffered a recurrence of a knee injury and was substituted early in the second half.[6] The injury ruled him out of playing in the inaugural Rugby World Cup.[7] He did not play for Scotland again and the knee injury cut short his playing career.[8]


For a brief period, Beattie was assistant coach at Glasgow Academicals.[9] Ahead of the 2004–05 season, Beattie was appointed as coach of Premier One side Biggar along with Gary Parker.[10] He coached West of Scotland during their rise from Premier Division 3 to Division 1.

Broadcasting and journalism careerEdit

After retiring from rugby, Beattie moved on from civil engineering and retrained as a chartered accountant, before moving into broadcasting in 1995.[11]

He works as a commentator or presenter for rugby on television and radio. He hosts a lunchtime show of news, comment and discussion on BBC Radio Scotland, and is a host of the sports magazine programme Sport Nation on both radio and TV.

He writes a rugby blog on the BBC's rugby union website, and has written for The Herald, Sunday Herald and Scottish Rugby Magazine.[12]

In 2003 Beattie was chairman of the Scottish government physical activity taskforce to improve the health of the nation through exercise[13] and oversaw a review in 2008, 'Let's Make Scotland More Active'.

In 2010, Radio Scotland announced that he would host the "John Beattie Show", a 75-minute show four days a week.[14]

Since 2019, Beattie serves as a presenter on BBC Scotland's news programme The Nine.

Personal lifeEdit

Beattie's son, Johnnie, is also a Scottish international rugby player, who has won 38 caps since 2006. One of his daughters, Jennifer, plays football for Scotland, having more than 100 caps, and Arsenal and previously for Celtic F.C. Women.[15]

In 2004, Beattie was a candidate for Rector of the University of Glasgow.

In 2015 Abertay University awarded him an honorary doctorate.[16] He would receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow one year later.[17]


  1. ^ "BBC website CV".
  2. ^ "My Life in Rugby: John Beattie – Glasgow Accies, Scotland & Lions No.8".
  3. ^ McMurtrie, Bill (2 February 1980). "Telfer's five raise Scots' hopes". The Glasgow Herald. p. 16. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  4. ^ McMurtrie, Bill (4 February 1980). "Ireland teach Scots a lesson in teamwork". The Glasgow Herald. p. 19. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  5. ^ McMurtrie, Bill (9 March 1987). "Pride salvaged by Scotland's late thrust". The Glasgow Herald. p. 11. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  6. ^ McMurtrie, Bill (6 April 1987). "Scots' spirit doused in Twickenham drizzle". The Glasgow Herald. p. 11. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  7. ^ McMurtrie, Bill (7 April 1987). "Knee injury rules out Beattie from world cup". The Glasgow Herald. p. 32. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  8. ^ "John Beattie, Scotland - Brief biography of International rugby career".
  9. ^ "New Borders role for Tait". The Scotsman. 16 July 2004. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ Morrison, Iain (22 August 2004). "Beattie picks up Biggar call". Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Me, a sex symbol? I don't think so". The Scotsman. 30 August 2006. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  12. ^ "CV from website".
  13. ^ "Let's Make Scotland More Active: A strategy for physical activity".
  14. ^ "Ex-rugby star John Beattie to take over flagship news presenter role". The Scotsman. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
  15. ^ "JOHN BEATTIE - Playing the name game is Beatties' biggest test". Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "University to honour outstanding individuals in fields ranging from science to sport".

External linksEdit