When you think of some of the greatest Scottish footballers of all time, your mind wanders to some fairly impressive names, doesn’t it? We’re thinking of players like Graeme Souness, Denis Law, Kenny Dalglish, Archie Gemmil, Alan Hansen, Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister…
But, as with any small nation of only a few million people, Scotland have struggled to produce top level professionals on a consistent basis. Over the years, they’ve needed to dip into the coffers of their neighbouring rivals England a few times and pick out a few players with Scottish family to select from.
In fact, there have been quite a few over the years. To celebrate the old foes meeting once more in a Group F World Cup Qualifier at Hampden Park on Saturday, we’ve sorted through them and picked an All-Time XI.
We’ve gone for a classic 4-4-2, by the way. Instead of the fashionable 5-3-2… See what you make of it:
GK – Arthur Kinnaird, 11th Lord Kinnaird
We start with the oddest selection on the list. Scotland seem to have picked a fair few goalkeepers born in England in their time. They’ve had Arsenal legend Bob Wilson, ex-Wimbledon ‘keeper Neil Sullivan, Matt Gilks… Even Andy Goram is from Lancashire originally. But we’ve gone for a left field choice to stand in between the sticks for our XI.
Born in London in 1847, the 11th Lord of Kinnaird, Mr. Arthur Fitzgerald Kinnaird, was an MP and banker before he sat in the House of Lords. He was also a fine goalkeeper and outfield player. He played in a record NINE FA Cup finals, in all manner of positions and has the ignominy of having scored the first ever recorded own goal in history against his club Wanderers in the 1877 cup final.
His solitary cap for Scotland came against England in 1873, in only the second ever international ever formally played. England won 4-2 and, according to the world’s oldest ever match day programme, Kinnaird ‘wore a white and blue cap’.
RB – Graham Alexander
Graham Alexander was, quite simply, a legend everywhere he went. A marauding and battling right back, he loved a set piece goal. And was especially adept at slotting home a penalty. In fact, the now Scunthorpe United manager scored 78 penalties across his impressive 17 year career (in which he played over 1,000 times).
His last ever league appearance saw him come on for Preston as a substitute against Charlton in April 2012 for a cameo appearance in the 84th minute. Five minutes later he scored a free kick to earn North End a point.
He never scored for his adopted country, though. Even in his 40 games. But he did love every second of his international career.
“Since I started playing football,” he once said. “I’ve had two ambitions: to play in the Premier League, and to play for Scotland. I’ve been brought up supporting Scotland as far back as I can remember.”
CB – Matt Elliott
Wandsworth-born centre back Matt Elliott was a bit of a lower league journeyman after he left Charlton without making an impact back in 1989. He clocked up some 300-odd games for Uniteds Scunthorpe and Torquay before finding his ‘forever home’, Leicester City. There he’d rack up some 245 games in a blue shirt.
The hard man Leicester mainstay would earn 18 caps for Scotland, with a solitary goal – a header against San Marino. The Londoner made the 1998 World Cup squad but failed to make his way onto the pitch in any of the games.
CB – Russell Martin
He might have been born in Brighton and started his youth career there, but Norwich City captain Russell Martin clearly has little sentimentality about the place. You only have to see the screamer he nailed in for the Canaries against his former club to see that. So it’s not hugely surprising that he was happy to pull on the dark blue of the Scottish national team, despite being born in England.
Martin qualifies to play for Scotland through his dad and has even said how he used to catch cabs to Hampden Park early in his international career and the drivers wouldn’t even recognise him. But, after 29 appearances for the Tartan Army, we’re certain that’s not true now.
LB – Jay McEveley
A few caps for Scotland, fair hair and a job playing left back for Ross County. Oh, and a ‘Mc’ name… You’d be forgiven for thinking that ex-Blackburn Rover Jay McEveley was fully Scottish. But you’d be wrong. The full back is a Liverpudlian, drafted in for his three caps, weirdly, by three different managers: Alex McLeish, George Burley and Craig Levein.
RW – Don Hutchison
Graeme Souness’ 1992/92 Liverpool side almost revolved around Don Hutchison, such was his influence during that (albeit brief) zenith in his career. The attacking midfielder and sometime striker would play for Scotland 26 times and bag half a dozen goals.
He was born across the border, though. Although not that far across it. Hutchison hailed for Gateshead but felt an affinity for Scotland because of his close relationship with his Nairn-born miner dad. And he’s a legend to the fans. Scoring a winning goal against England in a European Championship play-off leg will do that for you…
CM – Stuart McCall
In England, Stuart McCall is known as a Bradford City stalwart. He played almost 400 games played for The Bantams and spent four years in charge of them over two spells (he’s still there now). But in Scotland? The Leeds-born former midfielder is known as a Rangers stalwart. Nearly 200 appearances for them, alongside 40 in the colours of the national team and even a spell managing Rangers account for that.
McCall was actually picked for both England and Scotland under-21 sides on the very same day in 1984 and picked England. But he never got on the pitch and later opted for international football with the country of his parents’ birth.
CM – James Morrison
30 year-old central midfielder James Morrison has played for West Brom 285 times, which is pretty darn impressive these days. He’s played for Scotland 43 times too, which isn’t bad either. But it looked as though the Darlington- lad would be an England player for most of his youth career. He represented England at U17’s, U18’s, U19’s and U20’s.
He qualifies for Scotland via ‘The Andy Townsend Clause’, as we call it. His grandparents are from Scotland.
LW – Matt Phillips
Buckinghamshire boy Matthew Phillips might have been born in Aylesbury and started his career at Wycombe Wanderers, but it’s the Scottish national team he plies his international trade with. Despite several appearances for England at youth level.
The tricky winger is a genuinely exciting flair player and has the ability to light up any game he’s in, whether it’s for Scotland or his main employer, West Bromwich Albion. The ex-QPR man’s only represented the Tartan Army four times so far, but there’ll be plenty more caps for this tricky 26 year-old, no doubt.
CF – Steven Fletcher
Scotland boss Gordon Strachan might have just cut Sheffield Wednesday forward Steven Fletcher from his latest squad, but the rangy striker gets into our eleven with ease. He was born in Shropshire and moved around a lot as a kid because of his dad’s Army career. But after his father sadly passed away when Fletcher was just ten years old, his mother moved the family up to her native Scotland.
He’s rattled around the Premier League a little, dipped his toe in the Championship and even played in Ligue 1 (with Marseille), but it’s his work with Scotland and Hibernian that he’ll be remembered for.
CF – Chris Martin
Just when James Morrison thought he’d was the only member of our XI to share a name with a famous singer, we pick Chris Martin to play up top. The Beccles-born Derby County striker qualifies because his old man is a Glaswegian. He’s bagged three goals in twelve appearances so far and has been picked for Saturday’s squad.
Subs: Bob Wilson, Phil Bardsley, Graeme Murty, Bruce Rioch, Kris Commons, George Boyd, Jordan Rhodes.
How many England-born players will line up against the Three Lions on Saturday evening? Only a couple, probably. But much more importantly… What will the score be?