First posted on Facebook May 18th, 2016
As a collector of big-match programmes I always search through the publication looking for Scottish connections – anything that puts Scotland in a positive light and doesn’t say that the game in this country is shit in spite of what our co-efficient screams. Over the years there has been the all too occasional joy of seeing the name of a Scottish club on the front cover of programmes for European Finals however for this season’s Europa League Final I have to make do with the names Liverpool and Seville. No matter for there are some Scot-tastic photos and stats inside.
Of course the section on Liverpool includes an article on Bill Shankly [possibly the best Manager Scotland never had] who – with the onfield assistance of Peter Cormack – steered the Merseyside club to their first-ever European trophy in 1973 – the UEFA Cup.[Gary McAllister of course helped the Reds win it for a third time in 2001]. However it was the top-twenty list of players with the most appearances in the UEFA Cup/Europa League which caught my eye as it includes no less than three Scottish Internationalists who all strutted their stuff at Dundee United.
David Narey is sixth on the list with 63 appearances [35 caps – 1 spectacular feckin goal against Brazil!]. Eamonn Bannon is 14th equal with 57 appearances [11 caps and one goal against the German Democratic Republic] and then in 16th equal place is Paul Hegarty with 56 appearances [8 caps].
Celtic also rate a mention in an article which looks at ‘some of the more exotically named clubs in European football’ whilst their talisman striker Henrik Larsson still tops the tournament’s leading goalscorer list with 31 goals overall. Meanwhile, an all-time Europa League/UEFA Cup XI includes our old friend Berti Vogts at Right-back and SuperScot John Wark in midfield where he has Dino Baggio and Jose Antonio Reyes for company.
As for the 2016 final, well maybe it is about time that Liverpool starting signing Scottish players again….