Hurtful rejections shaped Houghton's early club and international career.
West Ham let him go after only one game and under-18 Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh said he wasn't good enough for Scotland.
Houghton went on to star for Ireland, as his father was born in Donegal. Born in Glasgow, he moved to London when he was just 10.
Second Division Fulham snapped him up after West Ham rejected him in 1982 and he made 145 appearances and scored 21 goals in a four year spell. Houghton won the League Cup in his first season at First Division newcomers Oxford United, scoring one goal in the 3-0 win against QPR.
Oxford placed 18 out of 22 First Division teams in the two full seasons Houghton spent at the club.
Houghton was the last player in the Kenny Dalglish jigsaw, the side that walked away with the title in 1987-88. Oxford were relegated in bottom place. Houghton was an industrious player whose energetic runs inspired others and a great team player. He suited Liverpool's style perfectly and was a vital cog in their machine.
Graeme Souness sold him to Villa in 1992, bringing to an end a solid Anfield career.
Other clubs: West Ham, Fulham, Oxford United, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Stevenage