Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Not just the Scots that are in trouble

By Stuart McKinley

Even if you aren’t old enough to remember it yourself, every keen football follower knows about the famous Celtic team that won the  European Cup in 1967.

The Lisbon Lions were a unique group of players who were all born, not just in the same country, but within 30 miles of the club’s stadium and they are still revered nearly 50 years later.

Almost every successful English club had a strong representation from Scotland as well, Paddy Crerand emulating his compatriots when he won the same prize with Manchester United a year later.

When the European Cup was won by English clubs seven times in eight seasons during the late 1970s and early 1980s, 14 different Scots collected winner’s medals.

There were plenty of others who bagged silverware elsewhere. From 1977 to 1986 every FA Cup-winning team had a Scotsman in it.

It was as if you couldn’t succeed without one – or three if you were Liverpool, who had Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness and Kenny Dalglish in

the spine of their team.

But were have they all gone? The classy Calendonian seems to be a thing of the past in England.

Given that there are now just 20 Scots registered in the 20 Premier League 25-man squads it’s little wonder that a country who qualified for six World Cups out of seven hasn’tgraced the greatest show on earth since 1998.

And if you think the Scots are in trouble, then what about us here in Northern Ireland?

We have eight registered Premier League players and one of those — Liverpool’s Ryan McLaughlin — has neverplayed a first team game.

Belfast Telegraph


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