I’ve pulled together a few of these ‘best of’ XIs for Paddy Power, and I’ve had to leave out some great players, some top lads.
To those reading, and wondering where you are – I’m sorry, I hope you don’t feel offended, but it’s just a bit of fun. I do love you all.
Gordon Strachan’s other dream line-ups:
- Gordon’s ultimate XI of players he managed at Celtic
- Gordon’s dream team of players he lined up with
- Gordon’s all-time team of players he’s managed
On a serious note, I really appreciate everyone – or nearly everyone – that I played with or managed. I could definitely have a made another XI of all the players who missed out from my teams.
How good are the front four in this team? Just give me one of them and I’d still be Scotland manager.
GK: Jim Leighton
A great goalkeeper. I played with him all the time, and I haven’t picked him in any of my other ‘best XI’ teams, so I owed him one.
RB: Danny McGrain
It’s funny, Danny was constantly voted as the world’s best right-back – but played most of his career at left-back.
He was just a machine, it was like playing against Junior for Brazil in 1982. Danny had the same sort of compact body, strength, and ability to run with the ball.
CB: Alan Hansen
Just brilliant. Scotland fans didn’t like that Alan was trying to pass the ball – it’s ridiculous that he only got 26 caps, especially when you look at some of those who have fifty-odd.
He was way ahead of his time, a ball-playing centre-back playing on horrendous pitches, not the lawns you get these days. Then again, back then, you could always just back to the keeper if you got into trouble.
CB: Gordon McQueen
I started working with him again at Middlesbrough, where he scouted for me. Matter of fact, if he was any better I might still be in a job!
As a player, Gordon was seriously fast. People didn’t realise how quick he was, and he was a monster in the air.
When you first become a manager, you think it’s all about passing, but you soon learn how important heading the ball and tackling are.
Gordon was like Virgil Van Dijk, plus he scored the winner against England, which gives him automatic passage into this team.
LB: Andrew Robertson
Robbo is one of the best players in the world now, and just seems to get better every time he plays.
He’s got the right attitude and that’s what’s taken him to where he is. To be in my greatest Scottish side of all time, at just turned 26, is testament to that – he’s incredible.
CM: Billy Bremner
Billy just had this incredible will to win. He influenced the team, scored some really important goals, and drove everything.
He was a bit of an icon for us young guys in those days, especially because he looked like everyone else in Scotland.
CM: Graeme Souness
Unlike Billy, nobody looked like Graeme in Scotland – I’ve no idea where he got that tan from, he’s from Edinburgh!
I know where the curly hair came from, though, his perm. He played at the highest level, won everything, and was a top player.
It’s just a shame that most kids think of him as a pundit. But, even now, he has the same discipline he had as a player, with the way he dresses and presents himself.
RW: Jimmy Johnstone
I’ll always remember Jimmy getting subbed at the Bernabeu and the home crowd standing up to clap him off. When that happens, you know you’re a top player.
He was a genius, but a total personality as well – how many players get rescued by helicopters off the Firth of Clyde, after going fishing at midnight, three days before a game against England?
He was one of the bravest players I’ve ever seen. He played in the days when you really could get hurt and it didn’t affect him one little bit.
LW: Eddie Gray
For any youngsters out there who don’t know Eddie, go on to YouTube and put in ‘Eddie Gray vs Burnley’.
He scored two goals for Leeds that day that might be first and second in goal of the season. Absolutely magnificent. A humble man with great ability and, even when you meet him today, you think “class, I like you”.
CF: Denis Law
Lightning quick, brave, good in the air. Everyone knows about being European Player of the Year, playing for Manchester United, going to Torino.
But, for me, I’ll always remember him as one of the first football idols for my father and I.
CF: Kenny Dalglish
Usually when we scored, I’d take a breather and get ready to restart the game. But I will always remember Kenny’s goal for Scotland against Belgium, it was one of the only times I thought to myself ‘I’d better get in the celebrations here, this is going to be shown for years’.
Kenny wasn’t quick – he wasn’t slow, either – but his mind was quicker than anybody else on the pitch. And he’s still like that now, still sharp and humorous.
He doesn’t talk about winning, but he wins everything he goes in for, including golf, and I’m fed up of it! What a bloke.
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