Friday, April 09, 2010

The custodians and the bosses

I missed STV's Greatest Team last night I'm afraid, as I was busy waiting to see if Tiger Woods could keep his balls on the fairway... (no, not going to take that sentence any further.)

Anyway it was the turn of Gregory himself, John Gordon Sinclair, to host as the shortlist for the goalkeepers and managers was revealed.

Incidentally if you want to catch up with what JGS is doing these days can I point you in the direction of BBC Radio Scotland's comedy No Hard Feelings on the iPlayer.

I stumbled across it today and can honestly say it's the best way I've found this year of depressing yourself if you're worried about being a bit too happy.

If a country gets the national radio station deserves then there are times when Radio Scotland confirms Jock Tamson's bairns as a collection of brain dead zombies.

Right, state of the Scottish media rant over.

The goalkeepers chosen were Alan Rough, Jim Leighton, Andy Goram and Craig Gordon.

As I predicted that list makes uncomfortable reading for Hibs fans. In the 1980's and into the 1990's you could look at Easter Road and find a player involved in the Scotland squad between the sticks. Now you can find a succession of clowns buttering their gloves. Funny how things work out.

I am an Olympian bore when it comes to Rough, much maligned and much undervalued. Years of sterling service at Partick and Hibs were underpinned by a long and generally reliable Scotland career. Remember it was Rough who coped with the pressure of coming on against Wales in that fateful 1985 qualifier and that's always struck me as a far better indication of his ability, attitude to the game and reliability than our miserable Argentinian summer.

Goram and Leighton were different from each other but both outstanding. And Gordon is the only current player to make any of the shortlists which speaks volumes for his ability and the reliance we now have on his heroics.

The manager's list sees Willie Ormond and Jock Stein battling it out with Alex Ferguson and Walter Smith.

This kind of makes a mockery of "Scotland's" Greatest Team. Ferguson managed Scotland for 10 games following the death of Stein, including a World Cup campaign that saw us score one goal. Smith didn't even get to a major tournament.

Great managers, great records - and Smith did well with Scotland - but not great Scotland managers. Andy Roxburgh and Craig Brown, and I'd be the last to call them inspirational choices, both qualified for tournaments. That's got to be the critical judgement in the consideration of a national manager.

So not too happy with that and when I make choices before next week's final programme I'll not be picking Alex or Walter.

I'll post my final 11 and manager, based on the shortlist, next week.

Before that, time for some dreaming: