Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blogathon: An Alternate Scotland XI

A perfect 10. Or an imperfect 10. But I hope you're enjoying this so far.

So @sweirz has set me this challenge on Twitter:

A Scotland international XI made up of players that have never played for the Old Firm. And no Anglos.

So Scotland players drawn exclusively from non-Old Firm Scottish clubs.

Goalkeeper:

Curse you, Alan Rough, with your late career move to Celtic. And thank you, Cammy Bell for your substitute appearance against Faroe Islands.

Defenders:

Willie Miller is the first name on the team sheet, to coin a cliche. Captain of this side. And probably referee as well. Mr Aberdeen, used to sell a good fish supper, Movember role model.

And a hell of a player to boot.

Blatant steal from Wiki: Alex Ferguson called him the "best penalty box defender in the world."

Joining him is Alex McLeish because they go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong.

Managed Rangers, still manages in England, but crucially for this exercise played for only Aberdeen and Motherwell.

Maurice Malpas. Mo. 55 caps and a 19 year Dundee United career. That included a championship win, a European Cup semi-final, a UEFA Cup final, two league cups. And, eventually, a Scottish Cup win.

Erich Schaedler. One day soon Erich will appear in this blog's Forgotten Scotland Players series. Only the one cap for this member of Hibs' Turnbull's Tornadoes side but he'd give his of all for the cause.

His cap, incidentally, came against West Germany in 1974. Although picked in our most celebrated of World Cup squads in the same year he didn't feature in the tournament.

Midfielders:

Yes, there's a definite Hibernian bias to this team but I don't care. Lawrie Reilly will feature up front so Gordon Smith will play out wide.

He'll ping in the crosses, Reilly will do the rest. It's said, you know, that Lawrie once played in an select team with Stanley Matthews. The English wizard of the wing knocked in a cross and Reilly scored.

He then ran, eyes blazing, to Matthews to berate him. These were the days of the old lace up footballs that doubled as a serious bit of weaponry.

"Gordon Smith crosses the ball with laces facing away from my head," shouted Lawrie.

Gordon Smith was that good.

Gary Mackay. A Jambo to his boots, the most appearances for Hearts (640 if you're counting) and four Scotland caps.

An odd choice? He fits the scope of the challenge (Hearts and Airdrie were his only senior clubs) and he's a topical choice. His goal v Bulgaria for Scotland meant bugger all to us but sent the Republic of Ireland to their first European Championship finals in 1988.

Joining Mackay in the middle I'll plump for Eddie Turnbull. Eddie played eight times for Scotland but actually captained our 1958 World Cup squad at the age of 35.

Obviously he was styled as a forward in the days when the Famous Five were considered a five man forward unit. But he'd sit deeper here, move forward to unleash one of his thunderbolt shots and, frankly, kick anybody that tried to hurt Smith or Arthur Duncan.

Yes, on the other flank, in contrast perhaps to the guile and artistry of Smith, we have the speed and at time unpredictability of Arthur Duncan.

Holds the record for the most league appearances for Hibs and won six caps for Scotland.

And he's a jolly nice man into the bargain.

Strikers:

Lawrie Reilly. Last minute Reilly, the latter day Wembley wizard. Remains Hibs' most successful Scotland international.

Retired prematurely but scored 185 league goals in just over 250 games for Hibs and 22 from 38 Scotland caps.

Willie Bauld will give the forward line an Edinburgh flavour. 183 goals in fewer than 300 league appearances for Hearts. Which was enough for 3 caps, all won in 1950. Scored two goals for his country though.

Team (4-4-2):

Bell

Malpas
Miller
McLeish
Schaedler

Smith
Mackay
Turnbull
Duncan

Reilly
Bauld

Update:

Here's the team chosen by Stewart Weir (@sweirz) who suggested this topic.

Jimmy Cowan (Morton) who according to my sadly-departed friend and colleague Bob Crampsey, was Scotland’s best ever goalkeeper.


Narey (Dundee United)

McLeish (Aberdeen)

Miller (Aberdeen)

Malpas (Dundee United) – a back-four that picks itself


(The) Gordon Smith

Mackay (Hearts) under-used, under-estimated

Turnbull

Reilly


Bauld

Sturrock – you would never have played that many games for Jim McLean if you’d been lacking in any department

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