Today Scotland is a struggling nation of football with a national team that hasn’t played in a finals tournament since the Euro’s of 2000. They had a long tradition of reaching the finals of World Cup’s but that is no longer happening and the last time Scotland reached the finals was in 1998.
The fact that just four Scottish players have been part of a winning English Premier League side also tells the sad truth about the situation, counting only Brian McClair, Colin Hendry, Darren Ferguson and Darren Fletcher, and all of them are retired. Andy Robertson of Liverpool could of course be the next, but what was a normal act in the days gone by, to see a number of Scottish players in English league title winning teams, is no longer seen as Scottish talents of that kind is rare and seldom to see anymore.
But also back then in the days gone by, you had problems when Scotland were in the finals, they never came over the omen that they couldn’t get out of the group stages and just had to go home when the fun started. They didn’t really have it in them to go all the way.
Strangely players who had won the greatest medals both in Europe and domestically couldn’t find out how to get through in these internationals. They were never blessed with the best goalkeepers either and that was addressed as a problem, even if they had two briliant goalkeepers in David Harvey (Leeds United), Keith McRae (Man City).
The McRae situation is one rare as he decided to accept his role as an understudy at club level for Joe Corrigan who was an English international, but instead of picking him for Scotland, he was just forgotten as a reserve alternative at Man City.
The problem in 1974 and 1978 was that they couldn’t really find the right blend and strange line-up’s made it impossible to get all the way, despite some fantastic moments as we will never forget the goal of Archie Gemmill against the finalist Holland, but at that time it was known that Scotland wouldn’t get anything else out of the game than a splended evening, entertainment and a great result.
The 1982 World Cup might probably have been the best set up ever, but again missing out on a long run, despite having a really top side with great players. Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish, Greame Souness and Joe Jordan were all at their very best, John Robertson still in his prime, and a lively David Narey on the right back scoring a blistering goal v. Brazil, but again they failed to get it right.
In the years after 1982 it was a good achievement of Scotland to qualify and silently and slowly World stars were never again seen in a Scottish sides, but of course great talents such as Paul Lambert and Gary McAllister having the ability, but not really a large enough group of top players and of course suffering without being able to deliver as many players as they would have to England if not foreign import had been so massive.
There should be hope for at least to get qualified, but to again believe you could actually have a team and enough quality to go all the way, might be far from realistic. But we would probably think that just getting in there would be fantastic again.
Andy Robertson is of course a great player, you have the young and lively Billy Gilmour at Chelsea who looks a bit special and if Robertson continues and Gilmour manages to cement a place at Stamford Bridge, then two major stars could be in the making and out of that you can probably build an amazing team, we just have to wait and see.