The Scotsman

50 Scotland’s greatest players

◆ In part three of our look at the nation’s best footballer­s, Alan Pattullo counts down from 30 to 21, including wing kings Johnstone and Robertson, a midfield ‘Maestro’ and the man the Tartan Army dubbed ‘Braveheart’

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30 Tom Boyd

Trusted fullback and sometimes centre-half who played at three major finals, won 71 caps and scored one goal – v Estonia – and one own goal, v Brazil at the World Cup in 1998, although that was merely unfortunat­e and summed up his determined efforts in a Scotland shirt as he sought to recover a situation but was helpless as Jim Leighton palmed the ball against him. Made his debut in a European Championsh­ip qualifier against Romania and never let Scotland down wherever he was asked to play.

29 Christian Dailly

Fans still sing his name and though there might have been many more talented players, few enjoyed a bond with the Tartan Army like Dailly, who seemed to live to play for Scotland, and did so 67 times between 1997 and 2008. A memorable door-slamming episode when he (unseen) denounced German cheats live on TV still lives in the memory of many, with manager Berti Vogts giving the game away when he scolded “Christian! Christian!” while being interviewe­d after the 2-1 defeat in Dortmund. Always gave everything for the cause, at wing-back, centre of defence or even as a sitter in midfield, where his absence was felt in the second leg of a Euro 2004 qualifier v the Netherland­s as Scotland crashed 6-0.

28 David Weir

An absolute stalwart for Scotland in a 13-year career, he provided the assist for Craig Burley to strike against Norway at the 1998 World Cup – the last time Scotland scored at this stage. But it was as a dependable defender where Weir excelled, finally finishing up on 69 caps at the age of 40 having become Scotland’s oldest-ever outfield player. He enjoyed an extended Scotland career that included a second chapter. Returned at Walter Smith’s behest after standing down from duty in Berti Vogts’ time following criticism of a performanc­e in the 2-2 draw in the Faroe Isles in 2002. Returned to win another 32 caps, including home and away victories against France.

27 John Robertson

An assist for the winner and then the winner itself is an impressibl­e contributi­on in successive European Cup finals for Nottingham Forest, and he made his mark for Scotland too around this period – scoring a winner against England at Wembley from the penalty spot in 1981 and at the World Cup against New Zealand the following year. Referred to as “the fat bloke on the wing” by Brian Clough, no one was more alert to his genius than the legendary manager. Scotland, too, were appreciati­ve but 28 caps still seems at least a dozen too few for someone who was among the best players in Europe for a spell in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

26 Jimmy Johnstone

Where does one start? Named Celtic’s greatest-ever player, he was genuinely one of the best players in his position in the world on his day and had the scars to prove it as uncompromi­sing defenders tried everything to stop him turning them inside out. With the talent came a streak of devilment and his low tally of 23 caps is in some part explained by indiscipli­ne off the field, including a rowing boat incident in Largs after a match against Wales and prior to one against England a few days later, where Johnstone

played well in a 2-0 win and later flicked the Vs towards the press box. It was one of six caps he won in 1974, though he didn’t get a kick at the World Cup in Germany, where he remained on the sidelines throughout – which some observers linked to his maritime misadventu­re in Ayrshire. Neverthele­ss, such a oncein-a-generation talent deserves his place here.

25 Scott Mctominay

Alex Mcleish’s second spell as Scotland manager was more of a struggle than his first, when he led the country to the brink of qualificat­ion for Euro 2008. But he started a transition­al process, earned a Euro 2020 play-off place through the Nations League and, crucially, gave Mctominay his debut in a friendly defeat to Costa Rica in 2018 having persuaded the Lancasterb­orn midfielder to turn out for Scotland, which the player stresses had always been his first choice. Six years later no-one has any complaints, with the player making a huge contributi­on to Scotland’s latest Euros qualificat­ion success after scoring seven goals, including a famous double v Spain.

24 Paul Mcstay

A former Scotland schoolboy internatio­nal, who scored twice at Wembley in a 5-4 win over England at that level, he lived up to the promise for club – he remained at Celtic throughout his career – and country, for whom he played 76 times between 1984 and 1997. Known as the Maestro by Celtic fans, his head-up, stylish performanc­es in midfield transferre­d well to the internatio­nal stage, and he played at one European Championsh­ip finals and two World Cups and even played in qualifying for a third. However, he had already been forced to retire by the time Scotland had qualified for France ‘98. Mcstay quit football the previous summer due to an ankle injury. Although he had achieved so much, he was still just 32.

23 Alan Hutton

There were few finer sights than Hutton flying down the wing from right-back for those watching Scotland from 2006, when the player, then at Rangers, made his debut. He went on to establish himself at right-back and played a part in the 1-0 win over France at Parc des Princes in 2007. Became Scotland’s most expensive outfield player when he joined Spurs for £9 million in 2008 and he later joined Aston Villa, where he belatedly became a cult hero with one memorable moment being a stunning solo goal against rivals Birmingham. Never scored for Scotland but 50 caps means he has a place in the SFA’S Roll of Honour. Retired from internatio­nal duty in 2016. Now cutting his teeth as a pundit.

22 Alex Mcleish

Played at three World Cups, which says it all, and emerged as the

most capped centre-half of a gilded generation of centre-halves, although he actually made his Scotland debut in midfield against Portugal in 1980 alongside Graeme Souness and Archie Gemmill. Grew into a colossus for Scotland, often playing alongside clubmate Willie Miller, although Alan Hansen was preferred at the World Cup in 1982 (Mcleish came on for half an hour against Brazil). He started one game in Mexico in 1986, all three at Italia 90 but missed out at Euro 92 due to injury. Recalled amid multiple call-offs for what proved his last cap v Malta at Ibrox in 1993 as Scotland sought to get their USA 94 campaign back on track, bowing out with a 3-0 victory.

21 Colin Hendry

Much like Christian Dailly and, later, James Mcfadden, Highlander Hendry assumed a mascot-like relationsh­ip with the Tartan Army, revelling in the nickname Braveheart and helping inspire Scotland to Euro 96 and the World Cup in France two years later, when he was skipper and led Scotland out against Brazil in the opening game. Scored three times, including a double in what proved his last appearance in a 4-0 win against San Marino in 2001. It should have been a memorable way to go out but it wasn’t due to an elbow controvers­y that he admitted looked terrible after he swung an arm that hit opponent Nicola Albani in the throat. The six-game ban he received from Fifa effectivel­y ended the defender’s internatio­nal career but should in no way define it.

Tomorrow: Don’t miss our greatest players ranked 20-11

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 ?? ?? Left, Tom Boyd celebrates scoring v Estonia. Left inset, Christian Dailly enjoyed a strong bond with the Tartan Army. Above, David Weir finished on 69 caps at the age of 40. Main, Colin Hendry takes on the Dutch at Euro 96. Right inset, John Robertson was a two-time European Cup winner. Right, Jimmy Johnstone – a once-in-a-generation talent
Left, Tom Boyd celebrates scoring v Estonia. Left inset, Christian Dailly enjoyed a strong bond with the Tartan Army. Above, David Weir finished on 69 caps at the age of 40. Main, Colin Hendry takes on the Dutch at Euro 96. Right inset, John Robertson was a two-time European Cup winner. Right, Jimmy Johnstone – a once-in-a-generation talent
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 ?? ?? Above, Paul Mcstay – a class act in midfield. Above right, Alex Mcleish played at three World Cups. Below, Scott Mctominay scored seven goals in Euro qualifiers. Below inset, Alan Hutton won 50 caps
Above, Paul Mcstay – a class act in midfield. Above right, Alex Mcleish played at three World Cups. Below, Scott Mctominay scored seven goals in Euro qualifiers. Below inset, Alan Hutton won 50 caps
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